Child Labourers and Beggars

September 28, 2007 at 10:00 am | Posted in Memories, Society | 2 Comments

Today I was catching up with Timepass and this post of her reminded of an incident. Few years back I was in New Delhi and I was sitting in a Blue Line Bus at ISBT.The bus was waiting for a few more passengers before it starts.

Sometime later, I saw a small boy , not more than 10 years of age , dragged himself to the bus.His legs were handicapped and he was dragging himself on his thighs. He was begging and asking for some money for food. I am ususally against beggars , except for the people who are too old or too handicapped. I gave this boy 1 rupee, probably I wanted to give him more but I just restrained.

The bus started moving and the conductor yelled at the boy to get out of the bus.But the boy paid least attention and kept begging. The conductor got furious and he just lifted the boy by his arms and dropped him out of the slowly moving bus. For a second I was furious and fuming at the conductor though I did not say anything. I thought no one can be more inhuman to throw a handicap child out of the bus.

But that was a momentary thought. What I saw the next moment left me numb. I saw the boy , stood up and abused the conductor and ran away. I felt, I am a fool on earth to pity someone and give my hard earned money. Yes, that was only one rupee , but then I gave it with a feeling of helping a little handicap boy and I realized that I was cheated. I wondered why that boy could not find a better job. Ofcourse he was talented for he fooled 50 people in the bus and in a city like Delhi , then why did he choose to beg. And that too , not the easy way. Dragging yourself on thighs on the roads is definitely not easy.

Makes me think something else too. We are all against child labour. Correct ?Then what do we want from the orphans , who have no one to take care of them. Oh yes, we want the society to adopt them and give them a better life. But will that ever happen ? And even if that happens, do we know the deadline ? How do these kids survive till then ?With a population like us , we have more orphans every day than adoptions. Do we expect these kids to sit hungry and wait for someone to adopt them , be it the parents or organizations. Or do we expect them to beg for their food , which again is against the law.

I genuinely feel that we should not stop these kids from doing the work they are capable of.Ofcourse there should be certain kinds of jobs which should be banned for them.We dont stop kids to act in TV ads and movies. Those kids who earn for their well-to-do parents. But we ban the labourers who wish to earn their bread.

I think its better to earn then to beg, even for a child. This will make them confident and self dependent. Your thoughts are welcome ?

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2 Comments »

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  1. Nice post. I totally agree its way better to earn money than to beg. But in so many cases, we see that children are kidnapped, their eyes are gouged out/limbs cut off/other horrific acts are committed to make them suitable for begging. We need to prevent this first.

  2. I agree with you broadly. I think voluntary child labor is not a bad thing for a country like India where social infrastructure for poor and/or destitute children is almost non-existent. At the least, an earning child increases the ability of his/her parent to feed him/her. Otherwise, the child might just have gone hungry. I also like your point about children working as models for selling products in commercials – what they do is not thought of as child labor, but some poor child who has to earn simply because the family cannot afford him two meals a day doesn’t have the option of working.

    The solution to child labor lies in eradication of poverty, and not in just banning it outright.

    Regards,
    Reema.


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