Sunday, March 4, 2012

Tender Hands Washing Clothes !

It was one of my usual morning walks in a local park at Chennai, 'Aana Aavanna ' number from Vaagai Sooda Va movie ringing in my ears from my mobile phone.
A group of men who appeared to be in their fifties were engaged in a game of tennis . In appreciation of their health consciousness and interest in outdoor sports I smiled to myself . When I got a closer view the smile slowly faded . There was a child probably eleven or twelve standing near the nets and acting as their ball picker . His clothes was proof enough that he was there not because he was family or friend but he was someone they had employed . He could have been their servant's child who lent a hand only in the morning for this activity hence made some money for his family. That was no deterrent to his education or self development. But if it were the case like so many households in India that employ children as live-in domestic helpers then it's an absolute shame !

We were in Erode during my Secondary and Higher Secondary Education. There were so many families in my neighborhood that employed kids as domestic helpers or in common terms 'servants'.

They give some money as a sort of annual deposit to the child's impoverished family and bring him (or her) home to do their household chores.

Some of these were the so-called Educated lot -Professors,Engineers,Doctors,Businessmen,Lawyers and what not.

' They are in a better off state than what they were at their homes' was the justification given by some of them.

The fact is when the servant is a child, it costs lesser, and they are more obedient and dont talk back and can be pushed around as you like.

Whenever we talk of child labour we always talk about factories and industries that employ children to do menial labour.

What about these children mopping floors and washing clothes in so many households in India?

Don't they have a right to education?

When you have your own kids attending expensive schools how can you have another little one of the same age polishing your shoes and clearing your garbage?

One need not go out of your way to do social service or donate to orphanages.

Cant we be socially responsible by not indulging or encouraging such practices?

These kids employed as servants are in a highly vulnerable position and how they get treated is a matter of chance or their luck.

Their parents are usually simple minded people who just look at the immediate fulfillment of their monetary needs. If someone spoke to them about not shattering their child's future and sending them to school for their education maybe they would give it a second thought.

Cant the so-called educated lot do this instead of exploiting their struggle to make ends meet?

I do not know what the Indian Penal Code says about all this.

To me its a heinous crime that should strictly be addressed by the laws of the nation.

Cant we just see all children as innocent blossoming buds with a right to education and a right to be nourished and enriched?

Selfishness is widely prevalent in everything these days. When it comes to children atleast cant it be done away with?


  1. It breaks my heart when I se the little ones doing all the labour but I love to see when these little ones go to school and do work too..

    Glad to have found you at Indiblogger. your newest follower and aregular visitot now

    1. Hi Kajal

      There is nothing like a comment of appreciation that too first thing in the morning.

      Thanks a ton :) and i follow your blog too and i am still figuring out what Woodstock is all about as I am pretty ignorant about it :)

  2. It is such a shame to let these kids do mopping and washing dishes. We don't have a proper law that prohibits children from working. Or should I say the government itself is not willing to add a clause that would stop child labour. It puts 'me' in total angst when educated people are also treating kids this way.

  3. a thoughtful post on a sensitive issue
    we all know about this situation, we all know it is not a good thing and yet we all 'accept' it as some sort of the 'necessary evil' thing
    it's sad to see the children as servants. they all desire better

  4. They definitely do! Thanks for the comments :)