Over the last decade, countries across the world have been changing their existing economic models in favor of one driven by the free market, incorporating processes of liberalization, privatization and globalization. So has India changed track to progress ahead with the help of a capitalist economy. Definitely, I agree .. the effect of globalization in India has led to better or more awareness among the Indian consumers or even illiterate masses. There is more media intervention in public affairs now, resulting in well-due exposure of the hidden truth. But, there is a lot to be done to uplift the conditions of Indian children, particularly those who are poor and deprived, when compared to the contemporary children (of same ages) living in the developed world. In the year 1989, when I returned from the United states of America after my short stay over there to pursue an academic interest, I traveled most extensively on my job/ sales assignment within the three prominent states – of Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat – and I could experience first-hand the ‘real’ plight of poor children in the interior parts of India. I could make a stunning contrast of what was prevalent in the US and in India during those times. (Needless to say, India has progressed much ahead now compared to what she had in the year 1989.)
There were many moments when I would feel saddened and get emotionally choked up, when I looked at the hungry children begging for alms (mostly for their daily food) at the ‘transit’ Indian railway stations. I could do nothing other than only buy them food (or sometimes only snacks) and ensure they ate all of it in front of my eyes. I was afraid all the time .. that an uncle Fagin (like in the ‘Oliver Twist’ story book) would mercilessly exploit these orphan children and take away their earnings from them. So, I would not give them any money ever … for I knew .. giving money would not benefit these children, who were primarily illegitimate and so were orphan. Poor children in India are not treated well at all, they are not even well protected in our country – there is ample child trafficking, excessive child labor and there are not many child rights’ lawyers to safeguard these orphaned children.
Ground realities – I would like to share with you –
– With more than one-third of its population below 18 years, India has the largest young population in the world.
– Only 35% of births are registered, and there are no data on infant mortality .. particularly in the villages.
– One out of 16 children die before they attain the age of 1, and one out of 11 die before they are 5 years old.
– 35% of the developing world’s low-birth-weight babies are born in India.
– 40% of child malnutrition in the developing world is in India.
– The declining number of girls in the 0-6 age-group is cause for alarm. For every 1,000 boys there are only 927 females – even less in some places.
– Out of every 100 children, 19 continue to be out of school.
– Of every 100 children who enrol in schools, 70 drop out by the time they reach the secondary level.
– Of every 100 children who drop out of school, 66 are girls.
– 65% of girls in India are married by the age of 18 and become mothers soon after.
– India is home to the highest number of child laborers in the world.
– India has the world’s largest number of sexually abused children, with a child below 16 raped every 155th minute, a child below 10 every 13th hour, and at least one in every 10 children sexually abused at any point in time.
(Data Source/ Excerpt from : Status of Children in India !)
Possibly, this blog post will make you aware or it will coax you to find out about – the plight of poor children in India. And most likely, after you read this, you may buy a ‘lunch’ for an orphan child when you encounter one next time. For no fault of theirs, these poor children are unfortunate, helpless and exploited. Please do not hate these children due to the condition they are in. Instead, ‘We should try and help them in whatever little way we can.’ This is the basic purpose or motive behind writing this post.