Child rights – A journey of Quality excellent and Quality uncertain.

I was recently in Indore, India, for personal reasons and visited a renowned temple there. This temple is the oldest in Indore, and there is another temple of Lord Shiva at the same premise.

To my bitter surprise, I found a little boy sitting inside the sanctum and reading Rudrashtakam. I was curious to know if he could read the Sanskrit hymns in the book, so I relentlessly asked him if he knew Sanskrit and if he was reading it. The boy was shocked, and his facial expressions proved my doubts correct.

However, there was no sign of the lack of elementary education, and he continued acting. It was a pathetic condition of a young boy.

 Another day, while visiting another temple, I saw a group of little kids on the stairs with a basket of sandalwood, vermilion, turmeric paste, and some metal stamp sticks. One can see these kids on the footpaths and the adjoining corridor of the temple, and they apply the religious seals on the foreheads of the devotees for some money. To my utter surprise, I saw a petite girl of about four or five years who was too cute to be ignored but didn’t go to school. The whole day, she waited to apply vermilion tilak on the forehead of the devotees and earn some money.

Views of small children doing such an act on the footpath of the temple made me emotional. I also tried to ask about their parents, but my husband stopped me as he was afraid of such a sensitive matter, and he was also anxious that some of the locals there would scold me.

I was so appalled that I still felt the same emotions for those kids who were too little to know their value and worth.

My experience with the tiny tots is so general yet wild.

  • On the busy crossings of the roads, When the red light comes on in traffic, many small children can be seen running toward the vehicles. They usually have some items to sell there. They don’t even fear speeding wheels or something like that. One can see a few little kids on the roads asking for alms, and yep, they don’t go to schools.
  • In another religious place, I saw a boy helping the devotees, a cute-looking boy with a charming and innocent smile. He happily posed for me, and yes, he doesn’t go to any school.
  • Here is a teenage house help in my vicinity to look after the tiny kids of her employer. She and her sister work at house help, and they have yet to attend school, though they have smartphones in their hands.
  • While strolling in the public park, one can see young boys smoking and chewing tobacco. The language that they speak is explicitly abusive to hear.
  • Many young populations belonging to the middle-class or upper-middle-class categories are doing their stint by lying to their parents, teachers, and peers in the name of adventure. It is also a concern for their safety.
  • In modern society, the dangers of innocent children have increased manifold.
  • It doesn’t matter whether the children are poor or rich. They need a proper and safe environment in society.
  • In the pretext of helping the kids, trying to take sexual advantage of the kids is punishable by law. However, the rise in sexual offenses against children is raising doubts about the law.
  • Many children are working in roadside dhabas, agriculture fields, or as nannies in houses, picking rags, begging beside roads and religious places, doing menial jobs in different cottage industries, brickclins, fisheries, plantations packaging companies, working as helpers and sweepers or as roadside vendor. It happens despite the RTE Act 2009.
  • Another grim picture is the involvement of poor kids in drug poaching activities by the drug mafia.

Everyone knows that children are the future of any country. They have immense potential, many have intense talent, and they are the buds that need proper care, guidance, protection, support, education, nutrition, and a positive environment to bloom, blossom, and embark on their journey in the world.

Child exploitation is a gross and ground reality even when there are stricter laws to protect them.

As per data for 2022, about 25.31% of the Indian population fell into the 0-14 year category, and the under-18 population is about 31%.

In terms of child labor, India is faring very poor. As per the data in 2020 in India, there will be more than 8.3 million child laborers aged 5-14 years in 2020.

There is not a single day when you don’t see child laborers in poverty-stricken countries. Young girls and boys are victims of human trafficking. By forceful and unlawful engagement of children in homes, industries, agriculture farms, and eateries and denying them a formal education, we failed as a society. 

Children are outright vulnerable, and they  need round-the-clock support for their well-being.

They have immense potential, subtle imagination power, adjustability, flexibility, and a positive vision. We must protect them for the future of all humanity. 

We wouldn’t want to see our future generation going through an abusive environment, facing uncalled discrimination, physical, mental, and emotional atrocities, lack of proper education, forced beggary, malnourished and hungry, and a dreaded sense of fear in their eyes.

I don’t know what will happen to the boy I met in Indore in the future. I feel bad for him. The innocent try of pretending to read the Sanskrit book is still fresh in my mind.

I feel bad for the little girl standing on the temple’s stairs in the Omkareshwar to put tilak on the forehead of devotees. I still remember her petite smile.

I feel bad for the little kids who face atrocities because of severe poverty.

The plights of little kids are real, but it is more disturbing that despite huge budgets allotted for their betterment, they are all in vain. 

Millions of Children in underdeveloped countries continue to live a wretched life. 

In a civil society, everyone has a right to a dignified life, and this is crucial for budding kids to have the world of their dreams. In Toto it’s their right to learn to expand their wings without any fear.

Much has been written about children, and there are many policies, yet they are the most suffering entity in the human world.

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