TODAY -

Ponder them to live like human beings

Rabin Prasad Kalita *

 Three little cute ones
Three little cute ones



Lately, my wife and I were at Subrato Park, New Delhi; the place which we left almost two decades from now. We fell in love once again looking at its surroundings soon we entered into its restricted camp and got afresh our memory back. While we were walking through the lane, suddenly on the way I discovered Mr. Kakaty, who happened to be one of my office colleagues during my tenure of posting at Subrato Park. Our bosom interaction ended with an invitation come order then and there. We too could not refuse him brusquely and agreed upon to visit his home forthwith.

After the lunch, at about 3 oíclock, we came to the AFWWA (Air Force Wives Welfare Association) Thrift Shops complex to purchase some arts and crafts for home decors. Subsequently having finished our shopping, we decided to sit on the lawn bench arranged inside the complex. It was a sunny summer day, so we wished to have some ice-cream cones to mitigate the heat for a while sitting with other compatriots.

We were busy licking and relishing cones with a lot of talks in between us, comparing the eminence of the camp then and now. All of a sudden, when I turned my head and eyes towards right, I saw three little cute kids (aged in between three to five) also licked their lips looking at my ice-cream.

Out of threes, only one wore a pair of slipper and the rest two were on barefoot despite the fact that the surface was too hot to walk on without footwear. Meanwhile, soon I saw them; they were chanting to and fro thinking if I could have owed for them too. I felt sorry for them and couldnít enjoy my cone anymore. So, I handed over the remaining portion of my ice-cream to my wife for a minute and fetched three more cones for each of them too.

I made them to sit beside us and continued enjoying our ice-cream together with a beautiful conversation. I enquired, where they hail from. It was learned that they were from a nearby slum and their parentsí work as casual laborers at construction sites inside the Air Force Camp. They donít go to the school but roams all over all the day. They looked so happy at the end, which raised my contentment to an inexpressible height.

Simultaneously, it pained me too and got baffled for a while, thinking about their future prospects. Soon they grow up; it would be very difficult to know the direction of their life to start with. Due to the lack of proper education and upbringings of these children, there is a chance of getting exploited for sacrilegious or infamous activities by some of the perpetrators around.

The children who have just learned how to walk are abandoned carefree and they grow up just like that. They are socially excluded along with essential services as if they are not human beings. These unfortunate children pass through a terrifying childhood. Many of them become preys of crime and exploitation by the urban clever mafias soon they grow up.

As a result, numerous criminals are born out of this lot. Itís easy to trap those poor helpless children for malicious activities. They grow up unhindered and uncultured so; they are prone to the addiction and many other unlawful activities. The amounts of hardship they endure do not get noticed or obscured by the people on power, which is pathetic.

Urban population is growing rapidly, which is about forty percent of the total heads in India now. This fast inflow of urbanization has delayed the pace of development too. Accordingly the number of urban poor is also increasing in a massive way, thinking that, something they could be able to do herein the city for their survival.

Mostly the poor people voyage to the cities in search of food to survive first, due to the extreme poverty and hunger. Clothe and shelter comes later.They keep staying by making temporary makeshift out of rags, generally in a place where the city wastage are thrown, on the street footways, by the side of Railway lines, cropping up alongside the drains or in an outskirt of the city.

Nowadays, constructions sites are also becoming common places for them to arrange their stay by making small huts from where they go and earn their livelihoods. Later on, they use to stay permanently under the canopy of some local leaders, the motive behind those leaders are to secure their vote bank in future. Gradually that place becomes filthy and overcrowded without having minimum civic amenities. It seems children are the most susceptible segment of urban poor population.

Poor children suffer a lot of challenges with basic rights like healthcare, sanitation, clean water; education, electricity etc. are still a daydream for them. In addition to that, they always carry a threat of eviction too wherever they stay. Itís appalling that these illegal dwellers defecate openly and the human excreta get washed away during the rainy season which pollutes land and water bodies. Thus, the children are prone to many epidemic diseases like chikungunya, dengue, malaria etc.

We the educated lot calls it as slum, a hatred word for many. Their existence is not accredited by the government machineries too. A handful of NGOs or some sensitive personals are not sufficient to upgrade their living standard and wellbeing. It is painful that their birth and death are also not getting registered, while there is separate census for various animals in jungles. Lest, the government would take a serious note on this burning issue! Not to forget, that todayís children are the responsible citizen of tomorrow.


* Rabin Prasad Kalita wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is a resident of Guwahati-781017and can be reached at rabin1966(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on January 15, 2019.



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