One of the biggest menace of the 21st century

Akansha

Motilal Nehru, a very prominent law practitioner in Allahabad, was beyond his courtroom composure when the news of the birth of a son reached him on 14th November, 1889. The baby boy was christened Jawahar soon after.

Jawaharlal Nehru is very fondly pictured as a tall man in the descent of his age, wearing a white signature cap and an ‘achkan’. He is also remembered for his love for roses, which he adorned in his achkan, and children, whom, he thought, would adorn the future of the nation in the coming times. As a matter of fact, he often compared the two and said that both should be nurtured very delicately so that they grow into brilliant individual beings. The children too, were very fond of him and referred to him as Chacha Nehru.

His belief in the nations ‘rosebuds’ is remembered every year on his birthday and dedicated to all the children all across the country. After all, nothing can be a greater tribute to a man than the service done to the subject of his affection.

Children’s day is to celebrate “childhood” and here the question arises, are we doing so ? Childhood is considered to be the most innocent phase of human life. It is the stage of life when the human foundations are laid for a successful life as adult, whereas a no of children, instead of spending their life in a carefree and fun-loving manner while playing and learning, are scarred and tormented.

Sold by parents. Beaten, starved, laboring for several hours. These are just a few things to mention that come from child labor. Innocent children are employed by industries and individuals who put them to backbreaking work under grueling circumstances. They are made to work for several hours in dangerous factory units and sometimes made to carry load even heavier than their own weight. Then there are individual households that hire children as domestic help and beat and physically torture them when they make a mistake. The children are at times are made to starve. Such is the story of millions of children not only across the country but across the world, painful yet true.

The two primary reasons for the ever-growing social malice of child labor are poverty and lack of education. This malady is rampant across the length and breadth of India. Child labour is one of the major problem in India. It is one of the great challenges that the country is facing in recent times. The prevalence of it is evident by the rate of child work participation, which are higher in India than any other developing countries.

It is poverty that forces a child to earn money to support his family. Though it is prevalent in the whole of the country, the problem is acute in socio- economically weaker States like UP, Jharkhand, Orissa, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and North-Eastern States. Besides poverty, lack of education, forces poor parents to engage their children as a child labour.

To provide nutrition, education and health care to these underprivileged children, as a developing country, is one of the biggest challenge for India.

Child labour is a great socio-economic muddle. Child labour is, in fact, is the only subsistence for poverty stricken families. Children vitally work to maintain the economic status of menage, either in the form of bread and butter earner, or help in household establishment, or in household chores. In all the activities the basic objective is to provide the family monetary support. In some cases, it has been found that a child’s income accounted for between 34 and 37 per cent of the total household income. A child labor’s income is important for the sustenance of a down- and-out family.

No doubt it is due to the economic condition of the family that the progenitor are compelled to send their children to work because for most poverty stricken families in India, alternative sources of income are proximately to non-existent. There are no social welfare entity as those in the West, nor is there any easy access to credit facilities to the underprivileged families.

Poverty has an conspicuous close relation with child labour. The populace of underprivileged people in India is very immense. It is the child labour who is the provender of money, sometimes crucial for the survival of the family.

Literacy is one of the major determinants of child labour. India’s state of education pauce effectiveness in yielding basic literacy to the citizenry. It has been observed that overall condition of the education system can be powerful influence to check the spread of child labour.

Though eradicating the menace seems like a difficult and nearly inconceivable task, immense endeavor have to be made in this direction. The first step would be to become aquatinted of the causes of child labor. The leading inference behind that is that children are employed because they are easier to exploit. On the other hand, people sell their children as commodities to exploitive employers to have additional sources of income.

To have an effective check on the escalation of child labour, India needs to enhance its state of education. High illiteracy and dropout rates are cogitative of the inadequacy of the educational system. Poverty plays a pivotal role in the ineffectiveness of the educational system. Dropout rates are taking a toll because some parents feel that formal education is not constructive, and children learn from skills through labour at a young age. Hence, they are compelled to work to support their families. Accessibility to education is another facet of this problem. In some expanse, education is not affordable, or is found to be deficient. With no other alternatives, children drain out their time in working.

To bring the social malady of child labor under control, the government has opened a special cell to help children in gullible circumstances. These cells encompass social inspectors, as well as other administrative personnel, employed specifically to deal with child labor issues.

In addition, every sole person should also take responsibility of reporting about anyone employing a child below the age of fourteen years. However, considering the magnitude and extent of the problem, concerted efforts from all sections of the society is needed to make a dent. Measures need to be taken not only to stop this crime against children, but also to slowly, steadily and surely provide every child a well-deserved healthy and normal childhood.

Writer is student; painting as well as calligraphy are her hobbies

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