On August 15th, every body puffed out their chest to sing National Anthem, remembering the heroes of yesteryears whose sacrifice gave us freedom from British rule to lead a life of dignity.
Some watched the celebration on TV and some formed groups and went to celebrate at far off resorts, further away from the city, there were even many cycling groups, who peddled from different nodes of Mumbai and converged at Prabhadevi. School children were asked to come to school on Sunday morning for flag hoisting. They too had a small celebration with stories and lots of goodies.
Everybody had fun in their own way.
But, somewhere else on the streets of Mumbai, an eight year old child sat hunched, leaning against the iron railing outside a railway station, dressed in traditional clothes, spreading her wares in front of her on the ground, she requested every passerby to buy her stuff. She was selling friendship bands. On a sheet spread before her were hundreds of plastic buttons with alphabets, each at Rupees two.
She didn’t know to read and write but she knew that one could patch together a word by simply stringing them together. A four year old, (must be her brother), unmindful of the greenish snort that leaked down his nostrils and the broken buttons on his shirt, exposing his bare chest, playfully jumped over the railing, performing different aerobics.
There was one more child, a ten-year-old girl, who stood quietly behind them.
India was celebrating its 64th Independence Day, but these children and many more like them, have not been able to cross over the threshold of poverty, nor are they fortunate enough to go to school. They sat on the streets learning alphabets by sight reading from those tiny printed buttons, learnt mathematics by calculating their earnings in numbers at the end of the day, learning the value of those numbers by meeting their basic needs, they honed their manual skills by crafting a macramé with cords and beads to make some friendship bands.
Addressing to the Nation on this I-Day, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said
"Today, India stands among the fastest growing economies of the world. As the world's largest democracy, we have become an example for many other countries to emulate. Our citizens have the right to make their voice heard. Our country is viewed with respect all over the world. Our views command attention in international fora.
We are building a new India in which every citizen would have a stake, an India which would be prosperous and in which all citizens would be able to live a life of honour and dignity in an environment of peace and goodwill. An India in which all problems could be solved through democratic means. An India in which the basic rights of every citizen would be protected."
Read more: Text of PM's address to the nation on I-Day -
The world listen to his speech with rapt attention, believing every word.......
Unfortunetely, these children are not aware that education could change their world. They are not aware that there are programmes especially targeted to the welfare of the socially and economically backward sections of our society. They did not hear nor would understand even if they heard the speech that said "It is our endeavour that every child, irrespective of whether he is rich or poor and which section of the society he belongs to, should be given an education that enables him to realize his potential and makes him a responsible citizen of our country."
They are not aware because they are simply invisible.
If only somebody cared enough to guide them to a proper channel. If only they found some real friends whom she could happily tie their beautiful friendship bands.
If only they would learn the meaning of freedom some day and they too could march ahead together on the path of progress and prosperity and proudly chant 'Jai Hind!!'.
Other bloggers who wrote on this day too.....
for Mera Bharat Mahan at Blogadda
all aiming for the mug from Pringoo and wish I could get one..want to have coffee if they are kind...:))