An East Delhi Citizen's Blog

general riff about politics, education, media, society, cricket..

Whose side are you on?

Out on a morning walk today and I saw something which disturbed me.

A lady was coming back from the temple (today is Ram Navami) and she was carrying back a plate of “prasad”; the usual “poori-chhole” and “halwa”. Food, that would not be sufficient for probably even one person. Her small 3 year old daughter was tagging along.

She was being harrassed by small street urchins; there were at least 20 of them all fighting to get their hands on the measly ration. She was being pushed, pulled by her clothes and when everything else failed, the mob interposed itself between the lady and her daughter. She would have got trampled. Couple of us by-standers tried to intervene but by the time the mob had succeeded in snatching the “prasad” from her.

There is hunger on our streets. I guess it is not really a revelation. Face to face with it, it just left me saddened. We are the fortunate ones, blessed are our children.

I share the lady’s disgust at the sense of violation that she must have felt. But, somehow, I can’t bring myself to condemn those children who set about her either. Damn!

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2 thoughts on “Whose side are you on?

  1. This is thought provoking and like you I cannot decide who is the right party here. Despite having one the of the largest arable lands we still cannot cater to our population. No secret that India harbors major percentage of malnourished children. Even more than sub saharan africa!! Where is India shining for the street children. Lots of times I hear people talk about how children should be educated so that they are empowered to lead their lives out of poverty, but how do you convince a child who is hungry to pick up books ?? But who cares here. Let politicians go back to lauding Slumdog Millionaire and hail it as an achievement, instead of questioning why do slums and child beggars exist.

    • anindyac on said:

      Yes, I am as much guilty of intellectualizing the discussion on poverty and hunger as anyone else I guess. Coming face to face with 20 hungry kids (where did they exist, I wonder?) virtually on my doorsteps, was a kick in my posteriors that was long overdue.
      Our country has many examples of desperately poor children rising to the pinnacles of societal acceptance. Dr. Mashelkar of CSIR, Dr Jatav of RBI; they are all inspirations. But, the barriers, as you point out remain very high. We remain fed on a diet of cricket and identity politics based on caste and religion. It is cheaper for the politicians to promise “samman” than “roti, kapdaa and makaan”.
      Thanks for visiting.

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