Responsibilities on weak shoulders

“I see her leaving the house every morning. She wakes up even before the sun has spread its crimson color in the sky, after completing all the household chores she goes to work. She works there from morning till late in the evening and after coming back she cooks and completes the other errands. After everyone eats, only then does she go to sleep. She wakes up before anyone else in the house and sleeps after everybody has slept, I doubt if she sleeps everyday. She is not very healthy and is prone to sickness, but still manages to go to work everyday. Her master is too shrewd and treats her like an animal, he scolds her when she doesn’t work properly and deducts money from her petty salary. I want to help her but I am unable to do that. I am younger than her and she wants me to study hard and become a successful person. As my father is ill, she is the only source of income. Let it be medicine, vegetables, or any other monetary requirement, it’s all dependent on her monthly wage. The money which she gets for so much of hard work is too little to suffice everyday’s meal properly. She is not too old. She will turn 15 this year. She had a great desire to go to school and get higher education. But all those dreams were shattered when my father fell ill. Whenever I tell her not to go to work, she says only one thing “She ruffles my hair”, and then with tears sparkling in her eyes, she leaves. She thinks I am too young to comprehend but I understand everything the pain, the suffering, the loss”
These are the feelings of a brother whose sister is the only earning hand in the house. This is how a poor family survives. They struggle everyday, each day is a fight against fortune, a race against odds, an effigy of desires. Childhood is considered to be a carefree time but for some it’s just an age.
Just to keep fire burning in their home, poor parents are bound to let their young children go for hard and heartless toil. If” hard work is the only key to success” then why does success and wealth eludes some? Some philosophers argue it saying “may be they are not lucky enough like other children”, “maybe destiny had planned their future this way”. If everything has to come down to destiny then what we are looking at is a vicious cycle of “ ill destined”, “ill timed”, “caught on the wrong side of the fence “ or in other words just a few people with “bad luck”. If such is the mindset of “21st century” India, then we are much poorer then we actually thought not just in terms of wealth, arms or the much hyped GDP but in the intellectual sense as well.
            I see these days “LEAD INDIA” campaigns with the slogan “BE THE CHANGE”. If everyone of us takes responsibility of educating even one child (if we can afford that), the difference created will be huge. I have seen many people doing that, recently I happened to read an article about a tea vendor who earns a meager Rs.8000 in 20 days, but still manages to help the needy with all financial aid. You just need to have a heart and passion for helping. But we the so called “high class” generally don’t prefer pondering over such issues, we have this habit of putting the onus on our already “celebrated” government to solve such issues. Unfortunately our government being too busy with their own political games, lack time to waste over such futile issues. Why can’t we bring our hands forward to help the needy and eradicate poverty right from the grass root level? We can atleast support education for a few children.
           According to the statistics, there were around 150 million poor people in 1950 but today there are more than 400 billion poor people. For how long would we keep waiting for some miracle to happen? Instead of believing the Government to make the “CHANGE”, can’t we ourselves be the “CHANGE”? Think, how would you feel if your kith is in their place, wont you come forward to help him in all possible ways? We claim to come from a culture that considers each one of us as brothers and sisters but in reality until and unless something doesn’t affect us we turn a blind eye to it.
Forget about who has done what, because it’s a high time to realize our responsibilities as an Indian, to care about those unfortunates who are neither our family members nor friends but are humans, who are not lucky like us, who struggle everyday for their survival, whose only bank balance is a stack of lost hope and a pile of shattered dreams, for whom two square meals a day is still a luxury, for whom everyday is a struggle for survival.   Sometimes helping others gives you more pleasure than anything else, try this. If you could just cushion some of their pains which life has given them, you’ll be blessed. Let us not let the future of any child perish in perpetual poverty. Whenever I ruminate about how to curb such social issues or what is the root cause of the problem, I land up only on one solution i.e. “approach”. Just bring a change in your approach of dealing with things, think a bit selflessly, things will change on its own and obviously a better implementation of strict laws is required. We need to stop observing such issues and start contemplating about their solutions, let it not be like all other social issues which are bound to be swept under the carpet.

Chetna Shahi

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