Lend a Hand: The Future of India In Tatters

Posted on September 11, 2010 in Society

By Rishika Jalali:

“No one has yet fully realized the wealth of sympathy, kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure.” by Emma Goldman, author.

When we look at people around us in a miserable condition, we at least for a minute visualize ourselves in that very same position and thank God that we have not been cursed by this murky side of life.

Just the other day I was heading home from some work in the auto, when suddenly at a red light, I see these tiny hands, maybe half the size of my own, selling these colorful push pencils.

He was between 5 — 6 years, with shabby hair, muddy pants and an old worn out pair of shoes which had his little toes exposed. His eyes had this misery which explained everything about him. Children are like open books with their thoughts so innocent and naïve, that you can easily comprehend them.

While waiting for the commotion to advance, he kept looking at me as if he wanted an answer. And that one answer was related with this entire day of his life. Whether I would buy that pencil and give him the money which would provide him the privilege of buying his share of food for the day or like the rest, I would treat him as an untouchable and start dusting my jeans because his tiny hands just touched them, as if they were any less soiled.

By the time I could take the money out and buy the pencil, the traffic signal changed and all the cars started honking behind me, waiting to zoom away, as if their tails were on fire. I looked back at the child and felt a terrible guilt and sadness as to how I could not provide him that one part of his meal, which he could have bought with that money.

It is ridiculous as to how the hands which should be writing their future with that pencil are trying to just make a day’s living by selling them. The Constitution has provided free education to all children, but it’s terrible as to how you see these kids selling magazines or books on the road rather than attending schools and being able to read the same books.

It’s an agony to see one of these kids walking on the road in a tattered condition, which could be the next scientist or scholar and make the country proud. We sit and think to ourselves that this country will never change and nothing can be done. But out of these people who sit with luxury and comfort how many of them have actually made an effort to even change the face of this country for the better.

Things are always easier said than done, but possibility of things is never below zero percent. The change should come from within you. Even if one person raises a voice, out of a group of thousands, at least ten will get motivated and make an effort to bring about a change. To bring about a change, one has to be the change, only then would people start taking notice and probably follow your steps for a superior future.

Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fiverupees/474406705/sizes/m/in/photostream/ under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en

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Chandeep Arora

Dear Rishika

Nice write up! But You know what… We got to take steps… Saying that the change should come within us won’t solve the problem… I see people begging in local trains everyday and i think what would make them happy ? The answer is they themselves.. They lack motivation … We need to work at the grass root level and make them aware of their rights as well as make them realize that the best helping hand they will ever receive is at the end of their own arm…. Reaching out to them is the only solution rather than pointing the government for every problem…. What do you think?


just for information… the money does not go to these beggars. they go to that begging racket of which they are forcefully part of. By giving them money you don’t help them… you make their racket grow bigger..


    Very rightly said. Its a viscous circle.


@Chandeep.. I totally agree with what you said, unless and until you take a step, changes won’t occur. But if we don’t encourage or make the move, then how will they get motivated. For that we need to work from level 0, and that is ourselves.I am not blaming the government, if I did, there would be endless list of things, rather just asking people to realize the cause and lend a hand towards it.

@Roseash … yes I am pretty aware of that, and I totally believe in discouraging people from giving money to children on the streets. The point here was that just looking at the condition of the child, at that moment I did feel guilty. Sometimes you just get carried away by what you see, rather than looking at the harsh reality behind it. But yes, these sort of things should never be encouraged.


You seem to forget about the other side of these kids, who slap, pinch, badmouth, whatever, the people who don’t take this stuff from them. Or about those kids at PVR Saket, the other day…
It is a racket, i’m not sure if any of us has the guts to face the people who run these rackets..

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