So Harsh Mayar, the child living behind those beautiful buildings in a low income temporary housing with those plastic roof tops, we lovingly call slums (of Dakhsinipuri) has won the National Award for Acting in the Children’s category. A fan of Amitabh and Amir and Salman and Akshay….Thanks to luck, chance and an open minded director made it to the movie, a visit to Amsterdam, and is now back studying hard in 6th grade…but in order to become “the 16-year-old Prudhvitej Immadi of Hyderabad” and bag the top rank in IITs…someone needs to give him (and other kids like him) an opportunity, a chance that will last for a life time; away from living in unsanitary, un-protected realities of slum-living – we call childhood and which remains harsh for the children growing up in poor families. So 50,000 Rupees- the amount he received divided up between four people – means slumming it is- award or no award!
Never mind the directive principles of the Indian Constitution and their premise of “well being, health, and education” for children that should see a state proactively engaged in ensuring social justice and minimizing social exclusion particularly for its children, the government mechanism has limited capabilities to see beyond and beside adult groupisms …children have a class which is called need and its fulfillment should be a social and individual obligation. Not in the exciting and insightful way the middle clas does it- by keeping children as “servants” to take care of their own children- but a tad less consumerist .
Renuka Chowdhary was in the recent past busy proposing random replacements for healthy food by suggesting nutrition bars, never mind the culture of dal bhat…now there is proactive advocating against abuse and trafficking and child labor. the underlying cause is absence of economic support that will last into their independent adulthood and its absence means they will be exploited by whoever is able to…including the women next door asking the Mehri to send her 10 year old for doing dishes. That is the caalture sir jee! any planning done without any real assessment of the basic weaknesses of the system of juvenile care and under the aegis of some superficial development ideology means lots more documents and lots more children hanging by the side of the road – hungry, naked, and in danger of not making it to a healthy happy adult life.
A country that builds dreams around Bollywood needs a few more superheros, the kind that actually make their way into real lives of these little persons …and make their dreams of being Shahrukh and Amir set on the right path so they may one day be Abdul Kalam Azad -the scientists, the thinkers, the leaders that make a difference because some one made a difference in theirs!But for that, we would need a little less energy on being Ra and Krish and Dabangg and Ghajni…and a little more on being the idiots who think and think that they can make a difference by using their money, their power and their appeal in the community! Now which director knows an actor to fill that superhero bill! and by the way there is an organization called Pratham and so many more …in case your dates are free!