I switch on the TV and hear a familiar song playing on Doordarshan after ages. "Nanhe munne bachhe teri muthhi mein kya hain?" croons the singer , "muthhi mein hain taqdeer hamari" chirp back an elated chorus of children. They're happy and secure. So happy that you cannot help but smile at their naive beliefs. You can't help but inwardly cringe as you think how quickly they will be disillusioned. Obviously they do not know big bad wolves really do exist.And Fairy Godmothers really don't. Obviously they can't even begin to imagine how many villainous brutes are craving to rob them of their childhood and make them work for their pleasure.Obviously they do not realise that in the world of grown ups they really have no peace.
Take for example,this little girl,
Take for example,this little girl,
13 year-old Mira of Nepal was offered a job as a domestic worker in Mumbai, India. Instead she arrived at a brothel on Mumbai's Falkland Road, where tens of thousands of young women are displayed in row after row of zoo-like animal cages. Her father had been duped into giving her to a trafficker. When she refused to have sex, she was dragged into a torture chamber in a dark alley used for 'breaking-in' new girls. She was locked in a narrow, windowless room without food or water. On the fourth day, one of the madam's goondas (thug) wrestled her to the floor and banged her head against the concrete until she passed out. When she awoke, she was naked; a "rattan" cane smeared with pureed red chilli peppers shoved into her vagina. Later she was raped by the goonda. Afterwards, she complied with their demands. The madam told Mira that she had been sold to the brothel for 50,000 rupees (aboutUS$ 1,700), that she had to work until she paid off her debt. Mira was sold to a client who became her pimp. (Robert I. Freidman, "India’s Shame: Sexual Slavery and Political Corruption Are Leading to An AIDS Catastrophe," The Nation, 8 April 1996)
Mira is one of the 1.2 million child prostitutes working in India. She’s a part of that invisible section of the society who we refuse to acknowledge and in doing so, refuse to help. At a time when the “usual” little girls grow out of cuddling their dolls and start getting interested in make up and boys, children like Mira are already nursing a baby of their own,wearing cheap lipstick and seducing their clients. By the time their more fortunate counterparts are passing out of high school, they are nearly dying with AIDS or other deadly sexually transmitted diseases. To many this might seem an exaggerated account of non existent lives,but to Mira and her friends this is a daily nightmare.
Needless to say the young victims of such outrageous exploitation never really are freed from their blighted past. The tortures inflicted upon their tender bodies and minds plague them for the rest of their lives if they are fortunate enough to be emancipated. There are a lot of NGOs across the country such as Sanlaap in Kolkata, which work towards rehabilitating child victims. Their work however remains futile till the time society refuses to accept them as one of their own. Their admittance and acclimatisation is a slow and painful process. Understandably the more they are shunned and stigmatised, the more they recoil into their traumatic shell. It falls upon the celebrated middle class morality therefore to drive the point home. We need to protest against the practise and stop marginalising the victims. So the next time they are asked “Bholi bhali matvali aankhon mein kya hain?” they can honestly believe “Ankhon mein jhume ummeedon ki diwali.”
Gory facts and figures:- http://www.uri.edu/artsci/wms/hughes/india.htm