Y.S. RANA,CHANDIGARH-May 1—City is blind, says Ms Michael, who was recently in Chandigarh, when saw the pathetic conditions of poor children. One finds welcome boards hoarded all across Chandigarh boast of “The City Beautiful.” It is this very spot that everyone looks at him but cannot see him. Many have stopped and bent over, stretch out their hands not to help him but to keep their bodies in shape. In a world where people have become insensitive to the agonies of poor children, the world has turned into a constant chilly winter reminiscent of Selfish Giant’s garden for them
But what really hurts is a small child of 4-year- old in rags, walks through the streets of prominent residences of cooperative house building societies in Sectors 48 and 49 in search of rags and left out liquor bottles to eke out living. Such children are known by the name of ‘rags pickers.’
He says,” I am forced to this to supplement family’s income.” Occasionally, he took a few drops of liquor left in bottles to taste it. The Right to Education (RTE) is like a rag for him to sell it out for a few coins. There are many kids unmindful of their future swarm into the city early in the morning. They cannot look beyond the garbage dump.
So many influential people enjoying the facilities of the well built roads, pruned gardens, lush green tree, driving swanky cars, socializing, all turn blind when encounter with such children. But the cows walking around are noticed. Some members of the nearby societies even hunt for them to offer them food. The stray dogs resting in well-maintained parks are no more strays because these are waiting for an old lady would be calling out for them and give them fresh loaves of bread. So sweet, she does this every morning. They bark at her and only she can understand their language. They departed with a promise to meet again at the same place same time. “Are these kids worst than that of cows and dogs,” questioned Michael
The media has been raising anti smoking campaigns, stop child labor, free food facilities for all government Schools, homes for street children, safety of children, human rights, children’s rights. But poor children from the slums of city pass through daily horrors and cruelty not only of the society but at their homes as well.
Recently, a report compiled by the National Buildings Organization (NBO) of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation states that more than 20 per cent of Chandigarh’s children live in slums. City has also the highest proportion of slum child population. A whopping 20.9 per cent proportion of the 0-6 age group population stays in city’s slums, the report says.
All schools and societies are making mega plans to celebrate Children’s Day every year in November, kids dancing to Sheela ki Jawani, Munni Badnam Hui and Dhinka Chika even in School programs by spending thousands of rupees. A new ‘under world’ is coming up in Chandigarh. Situation of this new underworld is so whelming, unjust and wrong that something has to be done. It is pointless sitting around and talking about the problem and feeling helpless because somebody somewhere has to make a beginning.
“And all that one can do is just hope, ask and pray that Superman, Spider Man, Chota Bheem and Shaktimaan would come and rescue this little boy from the snares of the enemy and from all adversities.” she said.