By Lalit Garg
Universal Children’s Day is celebrated on 20 November, all over the world. This day was established in the year 1954. This day is also called “International Children’s Rights Day”. This day is celebrated to promote awareness of children’s rights, international child sensitization and welfare, education and safety of children. The main objective of this day is to provide fundamental rights to children. Education, security, medicine are mainly in it. Despite such events in the advanced life of the children worldwide, childhood remains neglected, tortured and hellish even today. The main reasons which are coming to see the current situation of the children are limited and government schemes are wobbling only on papers. There is apathy of intellectual class and public representatives, economic constraints of parents, insensitive society and poverty, lack of education and awareness.
People are made aware of the rights, welfare, total improvement, care and education of children on Universal Children’s Day. Children were seen as the future of the country at all places in the world. Their childhood-like future is being subsumed into the world of scarcity, neglect, intoxication and crime. Childhood would be so scary and frightening; no one would have imagined it. After all, why is childhood becoming infuriating? Why is childhood being so neglected? How have not only parents, but society and government become so careless towards childhood? These questions are shaking us in celebrating Universal Children’s Day.
Governments expect widespread efforts to change laws and policies and take care of children’s health. Proper nutrition is also necessary for children to survive and develop. Also, it is necessary to protect children from violence and exploitation. This has relevance to the day in view of the need to enable children to make their voices heard and participate in their societies. When we pass through a street, market and highway and in a shop, factory, restaurant or dhaba, a 4-5 to 12-14 year old child is filled in a tyre, someone blowing air in the tube, some children are seen cleaning dishes or serving food and we remain ruthless. Being suffering from adverse conditions and poverty, he is forced to do this hellish work. Collect vials, iron, plastic, paper etc. from the garbage heap and sell them at junk shops. With this money, he earns his and family’s livelihood. But despite events like Universal Children’s Day, how long will we allow childhood to fall prey to such kind of ravages, torture and neglect.
Today’s child will become the creator of tomorrow’s society. But how can we imagine a strong nation on weak foundations? What kind of contradiction is there in our country that our society, government and politicians do not tired of considering children as the future of the country, but is this planned conspiracy to take away about 25 to 30 crore children of this age through child labour, their childhood and right to study from them do not think so? How ironic that when children of this age should be in school, an entire generation is being denied education, sports and normal child-friendly behaviour in the name of family business and we are being patted on our backs. In the name of making children self-reliant since childhood, in reality, we are pushing them into the darkness by making money and making machines.
In the name of family work and economic distress, now the necessities of childhood can be openly worked with children, Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi has expressed strong opposition to these situations. Some children work with their helplessness, while some children are forced to work. If we consider, we will find that the dream of any parent is not to make their children work. Circumstances and situations make them work with their children. But on this basis, is it appropriate to snatch away his childhood from him and put the age of reading and writing in the furnace of work? Such children tend to do more risky work than their age and understanding. At the same time, some children work in a place which is unsafe and dangerous for them such as matchbox and fireworks factories where these children are forced to work. Not only this, about 1.2 lakh children are trafficked and sent to other cities to work. Not only this, in our selfishness and economic temptation, we either beg these children or engage them in prostitution.
The worst situation in the country is that of bonded labourers who are still facing the problems of family. The borrowing of a few rupees and the life long slavery come in the destiny of children. Due to gender differences, less educated and even in cities, girls start getting employed at an early age or women working in homes start taking their daughters along for help. Children working at an early age are physically, mentally, emotionally vulnerable. They also have a profound effect on their health. Not only this, sometimes their physical development starts prematurely due to which they have to face many diseases. These children are neither given family protection nor social security. With child labour, the future of children goes into darkness, the country is not untouched by this because the children who work are far away from education and when these children do not take education, then what will be the responsibility of the country?
In this way, a healthy child reaches the dark and narrow lane of encephalopathy and starts counting in the category of criminals. This is a commentary on modern family and social lifestyles in the present context, in which childhood neglect is depicted as a curse. The truth is that the number of child criminals in the country is increasing. In order for the child not to become a criminal, it is necessary to re-melt the ice-free communication and sensitivity between parents and children. Again, an atmosphere full of affection, intimacy and trust should be created among them. The best values are able to give new identity to the personality of the children. Therefore, the education system should also be like this. The government should rethink the laws related to children and make plans for the proper development of children. So that the fate and future of the new generation of the masters of this deteriorating childhood and wandering nation can be bright. Only by doing this will we be able to gain the importance of celebrating Universal Children’s Day.
(Lalit Garg is a Journalist, columnist, writer and member of Rajbhasa samiti, Ministry of Home Affairs. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)