Our Child’s Labour

New Delhi: July 5th, 2013 at 06:15

Students get out of their comfort zone along with “Vetaals” kinda bags on their backs.

. . . . A school girl with her school bag drooping down heavily, hesitatingly looked at me seated in the bus. I offered to keep her bag and soon 25 kgs landed on my lap! It made me wonder about the burdens we make our children shoulder, even while we overtly pamper them.

. . . . Heavy school bags are the most visible burden we place on our children. This problem was the same in our school days, we would carry each and every book, notebooks, other stuff in a 25 kg bag packs, and people would say how these kids are carrying this loads. And, in 30 years nothing changed.

. . . . Long gone are the days when teaching was oral. Also gone is the era when books and printing were a luxury. Even while digital medium is offering lots of choices to share knowledge, we have piled up books and notes for children to lug everyday.

. . . . For example, my daughter’s CBSE maths book weighs 850 grams.There are three books each for language, plus other subject books. Besides notebooks, there is lab book for not just science, but also languages. Throw in rough note, dictionary, atlas etc. And stationery mind you, is not a pen clipped to the shirt pocket, but a gamut of geome- try box, pencil, mechanical pencil, ink pen, gel pen, colour pencils, eraser, sharpener and a box of 12 colour paints in heavy glass bottles.

. . . . Somewhere in our pedagogy, we have failed to take stock of what we are doing and why. If we love books so much, why aren’t we opening more libraries? The 3 R’s of education is being crushed under the W of weight lifting. A student behind a 850 gm book is just not visible to the teacher and the system.

. . . . However, school bag lifting is only a tip of the iceberg, when we consider all the loads we have quietly transferred to them. The pollution, water problem, corruption, poor governance, debt are all on their young shoulders too. We may pamper them with gifts (in plastic wrappings that do not bio-degrade) and feed them tasty food (of the j..k kind) and be pleased that we have given them a happy childhood.

. . . . And the saddest yet is the pesticide episode where unsuspecting school children died – not from any mistake they made, but what WE served them. It is not one person who had a hand in this, but collectively, we have let down our children by letting pests take over the country and pesticides and chemicals take over our soil, water and air.

. . . . The girl asks for the bag, as her bus-stop approaches. I am unable to lift it, so she helps herself to the load and innocently thanks me.

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About Shabab Khan

A Journalist, Philanthropist; Author of 'The Magician', 'Go!', 'Brutal'. Being a passionate writer, I am into Journalism and writing columns, news stories, articles for top media house. Twitter: @khantastix khansworld@rediffmail.com
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