Are we fencing or felling? I wondered with burgeoning agitation as I put down the paper in disgust! To say I was agitated would be putting it mildly. As I kept oscillating between helplessness and unfairness and anger and despair, I decided to express it, in the hope that it would awaken something in others as it has in me.
The news of children being abused by perverts keep cropping up in the newspapers. If it is not by perverts it is by some frustrated teacher who ends up showing his/her anger on the children. Corporal punishment is banned but it continues and will continue because no one really enforces the implementation of bans. The colour pictures of the wounds inflicted, in newspaper, are for most part to sensationalize or feed the morbid fascination people have for others’ sufferings. The ensuing apathy and the blame-game played by our politicians for such incidents are appalling! Then there was news of newly-vaccinated kids dying! Few days back it was the heartrending story of the life of parents who had lost their child the previous year, due to the carelessness of a callous moron who had left a gaping hole on the inside of a school van! And let us not forget the multitude of children who are victims of the bore wells left open! I also woke up once to the news of a child being bludgeoned to death with a rolling pin by her demon of a father because she could not understand something with regard her school work! I don’t even want to go into the regular news that keeps cropping up about children being victims of rape.
Many questions arise in my mind. 1. Why do we have children if we cannot protect them? 2. What are we doing to ensure protection? 3. Will rules be put in place only after few innocent lives are lost? 4. Do we have a database of paedophiles and sex offenders? 5. Why are we turning a blind eye to such news? Is the law sensitive to children who have been abused or do they get the same treatment rape survivors are bestowed in our country? I don’t know which is worse! Living in such a cold society or becoming ostriches flipping the pages of the newspaper after reading something like this in the safe confines of ones home, shaking our heads in disgust and moving on to the Kim Kardashians or Lopezs of the world!
We ought to call ourselves a morally depraved society; our collective consciousness has become indifferent to such goings-on because it happens every other day or it is in deep slumber secure in the feeling that it only happens to somebody else and in some distant place that is so far from our perfect world. Please wake up! A sick mind is not class- conscious; an indifferent mind does not care and a devious mind will find ways to take advantage somehow.
Is it a saturation point that has led to us becoming numb or are we deluding ourselves thinking that such things don’t happen to the so-called educated and elite? If being educated has come to mean being uncaring, unmoved, unresponsive, unfeeling and unfettered in the guise of being in control or if we will wake up to such inhumanities only if it happens to us, then we are no longer fit to be a humane part of humanity. We have failed our own!
We manage companies; huge multi-million dollar corporate set-ups, but yet we can’t manage something as basic as protecting our children and ensuring their innocent childhood. If our education and wealth are only to serve us and our children alone, while the children of God (the homeless, voiceless) continue to either die or languish in the midst of dirt, squalor, hunger, misery and abuse, I wonder what then is the purpose of education and earning? How can we go to sleep on our safe beds while kids who have nowhere to sleep but on the platforms get taken advantage of by the so-called moneyed pimps or run over by speeding monsters with their huge imported machines, whose cost could possibly feed an entire village! Does that qualify as being elite?
This is supposedly the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa; their souls I am sure would be cringing looking down at us for ensuring our freedom to see this day of failing to protect our future generation.
We need to ask ourselves some hard questions by first getting in touch with ourselves or else the only legacy we are likely to leave for our tomorrow will be our indifference. No society that allows heinous crimes against children can be called a civilised society; neither can it develop in the true sense of the word. The soul-searching has to start now. The society at large has to think and reflect on what can be done and let us all collectively take a stand to protect our children. The only way is forward, but let us learn from our past and make sure our path ahead is not strewn with unfortunate stories like this. No child ought to become a statistic!
The precedent path that the future will follow needs to be set. Let tough laws be put in place, which will not just instil fear in the minds of the perpetrators who victimise the innocent, but also act as a deterrent. The Childline, the helpline that assists children in distress needs to become a national wave. We, the society have a duty to not turn a blind eye, let every child be deemed one’s own. After all it can happen to anybody. Let us ensure rightfully deserved childhood for all children. Let each one of us look inside us, see what can be done to further this cause and take that responsibility of protecting our future generation. Let us be the fences that protect.
Our children did not ask to be born; they needn’t be our own, just one of our own!