Today As I gaze outside my window on a fine Saturday morning I see a small child being taken care of by the maid server. The child seldom seems to go inside and it appears as though he is waiting for his parents to return. I believe both of them work leaving the kid under the care of the maid servant. And My mind wonders yet again; Is this the story of India ???
Well I don’t think that the story of India is that of the mother who has to leave the kid in the hands of someone else against all her wishes and instincts for the betterment of her family. Nor is it the story of the father, who slogs day and night to give his family a better life. Nor is it the story of the kid who is perennially waiting for a glimpse of his parents outside the window. A wait that will go on for another five years before he is accepts the fact they will be home only for dinner. The Story of India is the story of the pre teen maid servant who has to take care of the kid. Do all the household chores. Give up on education and commit herself to a life wherein she might never get a chance to become a doctor or an engineer or a nurse. India’s story is the story of the little girl who has to work for some unknown reason, whose childhood is full of challenges and difficulties which I have still not faced in my life. It is the story of a Childhood lost in the quest of survival or possibly for the betterment of her siblings or even worse a greedy father who wants money for alcohol. Whatever it may be the real culprits in this case are the parents who employed her.
Nothing can justify employing a small girl for work other than the fact they are too selfish to shell some extra money and employ a mid aged woman who can truly take care of the kid. This act of employing a pre teen girl is as bad for the kid as it is for the little girl. The India government provides for free education for kids. For girls it is free up to college. They also provide midday meals to students who attend government schools. A meal which is balanced well enough for the mental and physical development of the child. There are organizations like CRY whose entire focus is on betterment of the poor by educating the young. Bharati has launched a new campaign to educate the girl child.
I have always felt that a country’s development depends on the number of educated people and not the percentage of literates. A literate is the one who can just read a news paper while an educated man will be able to act on what he reads. See beyond the obvious and distinguish the right from wrong. The parents of the child probably feel that they are doing a great service to the family of the girl by employing her and giving her money and food. They probably feel no remorse for the destruction of the girls childhood. These uneducated people who have employed the girl should be treated as criminals and nothing less. Their crime is comparable to that of murder and other grave offences.
My belief that India will be a prosperous country with equal opportunities for all diminishes when I see such atrocities. However I hope one day I will also proudly call myself an educated individual and do something to stop this rather then just close my curtains and look the other way killing all hopes for a better life for the girl.