Child Labour: Are We Living A Peaceful or a Piece-ful World?

By Pallavi Murthy:

When I was a small girl I always had a doubt about the shape of the Earth. My mother then used to compare the shape of Earth to that of the shape of an egg. Since then I started comparing the Earth to an egg. I think this conception of mine will help us understand the present state of Earth. When you look at an egg from outside it looks smooth, calm and quite. But inside it goes on a struggle for existence. The same is with the world we live in. It looks calm and peaceful from outside but deep inside it is the struggle for existence (what they call the survival of the fittest). Everyone is trying to survive, not live!!! In order to survive we have forgotten our own moral values.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life; we’ve added years to life, not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We’ve conquered outer space, but not inner space; we’ve done larger things, but not better things. We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul; we’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice.”

The Cracked Egg

This egg that we are living in is pressurized by the threats of hatred, violence, terrorism, corruption, child labor and child abuse, etc. The forces of these threats have compelled the egg to crack. If we do not take appropriate measures to foster love and peace then this cracked egg will one day surely break into several pieces.

Let me discuss these threats in brief.

Child Labor/Child Abuse

Children are the gift of God. They are innocent and calm. Children are the future of the country. Then why this disparity between a child born with silver spoons and a child deprived of basic amenities. Yes, I am talking about child labor that has spread its menacing tentacles in almost every direction today.

The term child labour refers to employment of child. Today we see children of the age group 8-14yrs working in the most unhygienic and pathetic condition. This is the age when the child should be at school and not work in horrible conditions like that of cracker/incense stick manufacturing factories, quarries etc. Every morning you can find at least one child washing dirty tea cups at a bus stop or a child distributing newspaper and milk packets to the residents especially in a colony area. Some children work as tourist guides and most of the times tend to misguide the tourists. Also most of the children are found begging on the streets or selling fake articles on the streets. In a city like Mumbai, on every second lane you’ll find a child polishing shoes of the so called ‘gentlemen’.
Why should a child face all this? Just because he is born to a family below the poverty line!!! Everyday children who belong to very poor families are exploited.

Child Labor is one of the major problems in India. There are adverse effects of child Labor.

  1. Child is deprived of a proper childhood
  2. The child gets tortured both mentally and physically.
  3. Also, one major effect of child labor is that the child gets matured mentally too early.
  4. Thanks to child labor, children get entangled in the vicious circle of corruption.
  5. They expertise in pick pocketing, learn to give and take bribes and fool people.
  6. Child labor creates and perpetuates poverty.

We know that children are the future of the country. Child labor teaches a child to be dishonest, corrupted, noxious, deleterious etc. If the children of a country were to grow up with such qualities then what would the future of such a country be? We talk about developing our country. We wish to be called a developed country. How can our country develop when social evils like child labor exist in our country? If India really needs to progress we need to first eliminate such social evils. Just blindly aping the west will not develop the future of the country. Efforts need to be taken to eliminate child labor. It’s obviously not an easy task but it’s not impossible either. Let us all work together to achieve this difficult task.

Poverty

Poverty is the lack of basic amenities needed by a human being to survive in this world. These include proper clothing, shelter, food, water and a clean environment. In India, poverty is widespread. India is estimated to have a third of the world’s poor. One of the main causes of poverty is increase in the cost of living. Also due to unemployment many of the families live below the poverty line. Most of these people spend their lives on the streets while on the other hand the rich sleep on cushioned beds.

On cold bitter wintry nights,

When under the blankets we sleep,

There on the streets are they,

Who spend sleepless nights.

No beds, nor pillows,

No blankets, No bed sheets,

There on the streets they sit,

Where the rich but uncivilized spit.

For fads and fantasies we spend,

But not a penny to them we lend,

For a helping hand they ask,

And instead we put on a disgusted mask.

For Pizzas and burgers we cry,

But of hunger those people die,

There on the streets alone they lie,

Oh those poor people, what a sigh!!!

The effects of poverty are hunger, illiteracy, diseases and in turn death of the people. All of us together need to fight against poverty. Poverty reduction involves economic liberalization, Investments in human capital, in the form of health; education and infrastructure is needed for economic growth. Other ways include aiding in the simplest form, empowering women and setting up good institutions that provide security to property and businesses. Poverty can as such not be completely eliminated but can surely be reduced if we make an attempt to minimize it.

Other threats that pressurize the cracked egg include hatred, decline of community, unemployment, illiteracy, corruption, terrorism etc. In a way all these menaces are inter-linked. If we want to save the cracked egg, we need to take the right measures as soon as possible before it gets too late and the egg breaks.

“Prevention is better than cure”

If we take the appropriate steps now, we can surely save the egg from breaking. So how does the journey to creating a peaceful world begin? Well, the answer to this is very simple. The first step has to be taken by me myself as an individual.

“Be the change you want to see in the world”.

Image courtesy: http://edutail.com/buzz/child-labour-a-social-crime-let-save-the-child/460

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