Y.S. RANA ,CHANDIGARH—While region shivers under bitting cold with dip in temperature much below the comfort level, these small kids wrap in torn clothes and bare-foot are out to hold their ‘show’ for a few coins. Many of us come across such sight in Chandigarh daily.
While sauntering across the road near Sector 17 bus terminal, spotted three small children (between 5-7 years) at the entrance of sub-way holding the show. Chhotu beats ‘dhol’ and two sisters are on their skills. Some give them one or two rupee coin some look at and go. Nothing disturbs them even the visitors who watch them. All this now has become a part of their day work.
As per latest report, there are 0.07 per cent children of country’s total children population of 40 per cent in Chandigarh. The Chandigarh Administration claims to provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age six to 14 under the Right to Education (RTE) yet the sight of kids who deprieve of even elementary and compulsory education in Chandigarh is not rare. While their time is to toss back their dishevelled hair, bends over their copies to scribble a few alphabets, they hold ‘show’ unmindful of baggaries of weather for a few coins.
In principle, we owe the child the best he has to give. The child is to be protected against all forms of exploitations, cruelty but there are hundreds of children in Chandigarh whose plight is like that of these children. The report compiled by the National Building Organization (NBO) of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation states that city has the highest proportion of slum children with 20 per cent in the country.
Pushkin once wrote: “And modern man’s true soul divulging; A creature arid, cold and vain; Careless of other joy and pain.” These words are as true today as these were in his time. In a world wheree people have become insensitive to the agonies of poor kids, the world have turned into a constant chilly winter reminiscent of Selfish Giant’s garden for them.
The situation of this underworld is becoming so overwhelmingly, unjust and wrong in the city beautiful that something simply has to be done. It is pointless sitting around and talking about the problem and feeling helpless because some day somebody somewhere has to make a beginning and tackle it. Let us hope that 64th Republic Day creates something more so that these kids can understand the meaning of ‘Republic.’