How many more..

How many more children will have to be abused, mutilated and killed, how many more mothers will have to live with questions than can never be answered before we become responsible as a civil society and say enough!

We are supposed to have a law and order mechanism but what we forget is that these work only for those who have money, power or at least a vote. The parents of the dead children of Nithari did not have any of these. Migrants from other states, they came in search of work with a hope that maybe they will be able to give their children a better life. Instead they sent them straight to a horrific death.

Imagine the plight of a parent whose child has disappeared. Imagine his sense of utter defeat as he knocks at the portals of a police station and is sent away over and over again with contempt. Imagine his despair when he is told that the children of the likes of him do not exist for the so called system. Imagine the days and nights spent in waiting for a miracle that never comes. And finally imagine that closure comes with a set of clothes, a heap of bones and the realisation of the horror that one cannot begin to imagine.

Then try to envisage what that parent feels when in the dead of night and numbed with excruciating pain he realises that just a stones’ throw away another child also disappeared and within moments everyone was on their toes: policemen, politicians, admin bigwigs et al and within days the child was back home.

Welcome again to the great divide of India, one that is even more poignant in a land where democracy is supposed to protect each and every one. Have we forgotten the preamble of our constitution where we promised to secure to all citizens among other things justice, social, economic and political.

When did invisible barriers appear along the way and segregated people and marginalised some. When did our constitution get hijacked by hidden agendas and why did we just sit and watch it happen. Was it because the likes of us knew that we would remain on the right side of the fence.

Once again one’s head hangs in shame. The past months has been filled with such moments: the orphanage in ghaziabad, the little fingers for a handful of spinach, and now countless children mutilated and killed, their organs traded so that someone with money could live making some rich on the way.

2006 was the year of people power but before that power also falls prey to the great divide it, we need to act if we are to redeem the right to be worthy of ourselves. Or let me put it another way, one that maybe is better understood in our pathetic times, it is time to act now if we are to protect and secure our own future, as the day is not far when the cumulative pain and anger of those we have shunned away will rise and I know that on that day all the gods in heaven will be on their side.

a matter of the kidney..

Go buy a kidney for your son, it costs one hundred thousand rupees” were the words said almost casually to a desperate mother by a doctor of a leading government hospital. The son is our own Nanhe battling renal failure.I guess for the doctor it was a quick an easy way of getting rid of a annoying woman.

But this post is not about Nanhe. Many of us have been trying to shun the images of the little children of noida, massacred over the years our own Mr Hyde. As the story unfolds so does the horror makes us wonder what makes a so called human being lure children and kill them mercilessly. Why were only skulls found. What happened to the bodies. is this the work of a paedophile.

This morning a news item seemed to suggest that we may in the presence of a organ sale racket and that the children were used to that end. And as the enormity seeps in, it makes sense, terrible sense..

Wonder how many desperate parents and families are told each day to ‘go buy a kidney‘ by doctors? We all know what desperation leads and are aware of market forces as these permeate any situation where a buck can be earned.

So poor children easily seduced by a treat or a handful of pennies seem easy targets. And another handful will take care of the law and order machinery. Poor parents are easily shunned off and the macabre game is on.

So do you tell nanhe’s mom that the kidney that may save the life of her son has taken the life of another’s mom’s child? Or does one convince doctors to assess the implications of their words before they utter them?

I wonder

Invisible and impregnable barriers

Many newspapers and news channels chose to sum up 2006 in India as an year where people power finally emerged. True they have many reasons to do so: Jessica and Priyadarshini got justice, the Right to Information Act was salvaged from potential hijackers and the son of MNC boss returned home safely after being kidnapped.

The media too played a pro-active role in getting justice to many individuals be it a slum kid dreaming to represent India, a poor old couple begging for survival, little girls in an orphanage being abused by their caretaker, a little challenged kid abandoned by his family..

So can we dare to say that all is well on planet India?

Maybe not. There are many Jessicas waiting for justice, many old couples in need of help and as we all saw in silent horror many children kidnapped and killed as parents knock uselessly at the doors of police stations. The difference is hat they are from the wrong side of the invisible barriers that divide us and do not have what is required: money, contacts, access and even the not so often mentioned miracle tool – good command of English.

Some manage to break the barriers if for some reason or the other they get picked up by he media and if in the heat of the moment some tangible action comes their way, well and good, otherwise they sink into oblivion after their brief moment of glory.

This is not meant to be a cynical post but a simple call to all the invisible voices who came o the fore to help get justice when they felt it was in danger. Time has come to ensure people’s power reaches out to all those who have been hurt, abused or let down and to bring about long term changes to ensure that they get justice.

The Noida children could have been saved had the police registered the FIRs and set out to look for them with the same diligence as in the case of high profile children. Civil society should go beyond addressing specific cases and seek out long term solutions.

They have the power, what is needed is the will to exercise it. Only then can the invisble barrers be broken.