Published on January 26th, 20130
Has Rahul Gandhi really grown up?
Rahul Gandhi will have taken a step up in politics if he changes the future of children pulled into crime.
by Humra Quraishi
Tell me, does it make a difference to you if Rahul Gandhi gets a higher rung in the Congress party, or if Nitin Gadkari gets ousted from the top slot in the BJP? You could make them kings or call them emperors of India, but the ground reality will not change. No, this is not cynicism, but it is the reality of our daily life. We Indians are currently surviving by force of sheer willpower, destined to go through the daily grind of our lives till our allotted time is up.
December’s gang rape made some heads roll, but women are still being raped and brutalised, and so are young children, both boys and girls. In Delhi itself, you can see beggars and hapless children with them; the children may not be their own in all probability. The children are often battered – just two days ago I witnessed a child being beaten with a stick by two elderly beggars because he wasn’t begging the way he was taught to!
Last spring, I saw a really pathetic sight…outside the Chandni Chowk metro station, several middle-aged and aged beggars sat with little children in their laps. The children were weak, almost lifeless, and were probably bought or abducted.
What is the administration doing about this? Surely the area’s cops know of the gangs operating in the area of their jurisdiction, of the several rackets flourishing right under their noses? And when these same children grow up and take to a life of crime, we catch them, they who are the foot soldiers for actual criminals, and we hang them and pat ourselves on the back. Or else, like Britain’s Prince Harry, we sit back and proclaim with some pride that we killed several terrorists!
What is the future of these street children? They are treated worse than stray dogs, and yet we do nothing, smug and secure in our own sheltered lives. Can Rahul Gandhi or his aides walk around the New Delhi or Old Delhi railway stations, or the metro stations and bus depots, and see the hundreds of unfortunate children there? If and only if Rahul Gandhi, or any of today’s top civil servants or politicians take up these as priority issues would I consider that he or she has truly grown up as a leader.
Humra Quraishi is a senior political journalist. She is the author of Kashmir: The Untold Story and co-author of Simply Khushwant.
(Picture courtesy pardaphash.com)