As the world today is celebrating ‘No Child Labour Day’ , the sound of the shrill call from a elite friend of the past resonanced in my ears loudly again- “Rama- Ekkada chachavey”….meaning Rama, where the hell have you died….
The just 10+ year old child ran to her ‘Madam’ side in a less than a minute and this fabulous rich civilized woman creature gave her a kick in her pit saying that she should stay in her sight all the time. The little girl was embarrassed for I was there watching this happen …and as I tried stopping this so called friend. The Madam gave the instructions to Rama to start pressing her legs as she stretched them on the coffee table from the sofa. I felt like pushing her sofa upside down.. The poor little girl started to obey her silently for everything she was instructed to!.
This is just one of the millions Rama’s who silently endure the pain of a heavy childhood, not see a penny of their earning which get sent to their parents in the villages, fed on the leftovers and let to sleep on the floor even in chill winter nights. These children help in domestic chores of cleaning, cooking and washing. Few help the elders run errands for them. Few are destined to be baby sitting all the times as mothers keep busy with kitty party’s and clubs and sometime genuine work schedules.
Children working as child sex workers silently, not knowing of pregnancy and child birth, and subsequent consequences are another side of this sad story. Children trafficked to other countries as domestic help and baby sitters, forbid of their rightful education and growing up years of childhood to enjoy, the poverty of the parents push them to the chores beyond their age.
Millions of children work in remote villages in farms, silently inside the rooms of the factories, do demeaning chores hidden inside the industries and sadly in the red light areas of the country doing jobs beyond their age and understanding.
Construction laborers’, hotel waiters and cleaners, domestic helpers, courier boys, news paper boys, car cleaners, workers in quarries and as wood cutters, cobblers, painters and potters. These children do not know what is it like having a four square meal, a good night comfortable sleep, education and alphabets, money and savings and no dreams of a sustainable future. They get for the day, they eat and sleep what ever is possible and carry on with their lives. By the time, they realize what they lost, they can never get back - the precious childhood and hopes of education
Thanks to the night schools and no child left behind campaigns, the children today are getting the required awareness and attention. However, there is yet a larger segment of the society that is not careful of this menace between us. Thoughtlessly employing children at any form of work is made illegal in most part of the world, but the law remained in the books far away from action.
Time to say NO to Child Labour and put a strong end to this in our country. Every child need to be set free to dream and dare to move in their lives with confidence and choice than be pushed to labour and burdened childhood.