Children, Angels of GOD,
Children, Hopes of Parents,
Children, Expectations invested in by the Nation,
Children, living beings full of innocence and openness towards life!
A civilized nation. A nation having the world’s richest cultural heritage. But where do we
stand on the front of nurturing India’s future, children? Would you like to know the reality? Let’s go to some place in Pune where people abound; near traffic lights, outside multiplexes, eateries, banquet halls or religious places. Wait there for about ten minutes, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise if a child, face full of emotion, insecurity and fear, with a dirty, outstretched hand reaches out to you, or tugs at your clothes. You will ignore him/her for a while, but eventually, you *will* put a coin in that hand just to escape from the situation you were trapped in, if not anything else. Let’s look at society in general. Do we ever think of what the result of this thoughtless act of ours would be? Will the child be able to call itself a responsible and independent human, ever in the future? Sadly, the answer is a big NO. Rather than solving the problem, we are encouraging many other negatives like false acting, emotional blackmail, addictions, and God alone knows what. Incidences like these will handicap these children in that they will only be good enough for begging and nothing else. And they will have kids, and the cycle will continue. Vicious.
Behind all such things are unseen forces driving the boat. Unfortunately, such rackets are fueled by that very coin which we give as alms. So aren’t we responsible for spoiling the future of these children and in turn, INDIA’s future too? The software hub of the world, the epitome of cultural refinement - is this what we are going to showcase to the world when we are hosting international events like the Common Wealth Youth Games(CYG)? This needs to stop somewhere. But who will bell the cat?
“Excuse me, but I cannot take this up”,” I have got my promises to fulfill”,” I have my priorities”,” My job and assignments are more important than this”, “I’ve got to go a long way in life”, “Isn’t it easier to just pay up and go away?”, “Why should I? There are other people out there, let them do it, I’m not going to waste my time for this.”Easy, isn’t it? To shirk our responsibilities, run away from them. We must realize that if we can’t do anything for their betterment, then we have absolutely no right to make their lives worse. So why just kids who beg? Why not target all beggars? People who’ve spent their entire life begging, won’t accept an alternative. However, with kids, we have hope. They can be led to a tomorrow with opportunity, with education, self-respect – to Independence.
So, Wake Up, INDIA. WAKE UP!!!
We are the INDIANS who can make a better INDIA, rather than a “Beggar INDIA”.
Where every child will have his basic needs (food, clothing and shelter) secured.
Where every child will go to school and will have his educational needs satisfied.
Where every child is God’s cherubic angel,
Where every child will be the pride of his/her parents – of the nation too.
Simply put, to make it happen, we just need to say NO to child begging. We need to stop giving alms to such children. Let him fall, let her cry. Let them struggle and find out for themselves, the value of that coin which we give them. There are government run initiatives for underprivileged kids. There are NGOs that are providing education and opportunities to homeless kids, street kids, and the like. Support them – give them your time, resources, dedication - your commitment. Education is their only savior. Only by educating them, can we make them truly independent. It’s the survival of the fittest. Let’s not cripple them with our coins.
A city-wide movement called the “Anti Child Begging Campaign” has already been launched, to support organizations working in this sphere. SAMIDHA and DREAM INDIA have put together their ‘Samidhas’ of efforts to make it a ‘Dream India’.
Spread the word around. The future of India is calling. Are you ready to do your bit?
-An open initiative in association with SAMIDHA and DREAM INDIA.
Alone I can fight but together we will beat!
(You can send us your comments to: ACBC2008@googlegroups.com)
By (Dattu Ekhande)