Apna Chotu (old post)

The menace of ‘Child labour’ is rampant in India and all of us are guilty of availing their services ? directly or indirectly. The little ‘chotu’ (boy child) at the tea stall is there in every street and every state. ‘Chotu makes his appearance when you reach a road side dhaba or a hotel for that matter.

The little guy is around when your ‘dhob’ is ironing or washing the clothes. Chotu also accompanies his mother to the households where she works- sometimes it is ‘choti’ (girl child) here. Chotus and chotis are there when you go to the vegetable market, sitting pretty with their father/mother and trying to understand the trade. Then walk into a rich house and this poor little chotu is baby sitting a child who might be almost his age or may be little less.

Where else can we find this species ? petrol pump? Shops ? Canteens? ???? Should we completely ban child labour? But who are we to ban?? As in, stop availing their services, they would stop! Would they? They will starve and may start begging?. Vocational studies Will parents co-operate? Endless debate?..

There is this place in Kolkata?Lal Bazar. Here many children are at work. They work in marble inscription shops.Though these children have never attended school or college, never had any formal education, they are well acquainted with a lot of languages—fluently read, write and speak! These children get educated in the most unique manner. They have to learn the alphabet in order to inscribe on the name plates and other such boards. Today, many out there speak many languages ? Bengali, Bihari, Punjabi, Oriya, and English?..depending on the language allotted to them!

Well, this seems to be a fair enough deal to be to start an end to the child labour issue. Phase it out but in a vocational manner that suits both ?parents and helps the child. But how many such industries can we identify? I sincerely wish, some 50 years hence, we talk about this extinct species called CHOTU.

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