Saturday, May 10, 2014

22nd September 2013/ AIIMS metro station #Vote4Children

It was lazy evening in September. I had boarded the metro from DU North campus to AIIMS. I was tired and my legs were breaking into pieces. I was hurrying up to be at home. The music had filled my ears and I wasn't bothered about the humdrum of events around me. I slowly paced up the elevator and was taking the dirty streets lining the Vardhaman Mahavir college. As I was treading down, I saw a crowd of people. I was expecting an accident there and hurried up to check. 
What I saw after that left me scared witless. A man in his middle age, was slapping a young boy who may have been not more than 11 or 12. The boy I believe was the employee at this man's tea stall. He was dressed in a torn shirt and pants and  very shabby slippers.
What amused me the most was that everyone was watching the show with no one offering a hand of help to the boy. The blows got nastier with the passage of time. And the police people deployed at the other end of the road, were also only by-standers. Sadly for quite sometime, even I was murmuring under my breath, a quiet prayer for the young boy. I was alone and had no one to support, and even if I would have jumped into the scene, I was sure that no one would have braced themselves up to me. All the boy did was cry with folded hands.



I kept standing there shamelessly, and hoping against hope for a miracle. After a few minutes, I saw another middle aged man come running towards the child, who I think was a knick-knack seller. Perhaps, he was the messiah and indeed, he was the one.
He tried to stop the brutal blows falling on the child, who by now had been pinned to the road and was being cowed by bashing. As I went closer to them and like many of the spineless by-standers tried to make sense, I realized that the child had taken twenty rupees from the stall's money shack. And the owner, took it up on himself to punish the child. The other middle aged man  meanwhile took the kid away and they vanished in the thick crowd. Perhaps, he settled his dues of a meagre 20 rupees and that he thought was the least bit he could do.




      Picture Credit: http://shobhitagarwal.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/child_labour.jpg




I had jotted down this incident in my diary. That is what helped me write this post. 
There are 12.6 million child laborers working in the age group of five to 14 years, as per a 2001 census. At this age, I was playing hopscotch and cycling around my neighborhood.
May we vote for these poor children, in these elections, who need a tough leader to enact the Right to Education act and the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) act for them and a planner of a strong strategy for their rehabilitation. 



This post is a part of the #Vote4Children Blog-a-thon on Youth Ki Awaaz. Find out more at: http://www.youthkiawaaz.com/vote4children

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