The Aberrant Reality of India
How many of us pay attention to the little boy who follows us around at the railway station or at the bus-stop holding a covered-up cane-basket with his small hands? We never do, we run away from him instead, with creepy feeling and repugnance. How can we pay attention to a minor-aged snake-charmer? We are the educated future of India; we can’t indulge the archaic insanity!
The same thing happens when bahurupis or people in masquerades come closer to us in a crowded train compartment to beg for money. We try to not come into their sight. We try to evade them. We can’t pass up our morals or values after all!
We don’t even know a major sum of communities is still subsisting in darkness because they don’t have any identity to prove that they even exist! That’s shameful. They are almost 8-10% of the total population and yet they haven’t got any voter ID or even a ration-card. That means eventually they are invisible to the remainder.
- First crisis that the ‘invisible’ communities of India are into is Identity-crisis. They don’t own a voter card which is the fundamental right in order to become an Indian citizen. They don’t even have ration cards or anything to prove their existence in the country. They don’t have an address, a permanent home to live, to provide their children with a better life.
- Some villages are still into shadows of illiteracy and superstitions. Poverty and lack of education are holding them back to continue their ancestral professions that are now labeled as illegal.
- The females of the Saraniya community of Vadia, a village in North Gujarat, are into ‘traditional’ prostitution. They don’t get married to continue the ‘trade’. But they have children in order to play their basic role as a woman, procreation.
- The nomadic tribes, who used to travel from place to place with family and belongings, to entertain the society or help with their usual skills, were acquainted as ‘born-criminals’ by the British Government in 1871, by issuing the Criminal Tribes Act, 1871. Almost 200 nomadic tribes were under the act. Still they are bearing the criminal insignia with them.
|Mittal Patel- the Real Hero|
Maybe we are laid back, maybe we are busy showing our pity for the tribes; but there is a team working silently for them. Mittal Patel, a journalist from Gujarat, is working on the settlement of the Nomadic and De-notified tribes for the past 7 years .The VSSM team (Vicharta Samuday Samarthan Manch) founded by Mittal Patel has done a lot to bring them back to the mainstream. Let’s have a look on their activities so far-
- In 2008, VSSM has given identity to more than 20,000 people of these two communities by providing them with valid Election card with the help of then Chief Electoral Officer.
- VSSM is running 26 alternate schools where 1040 children are enrolled and 1000 among them are mainstreamed.
- VSSM has provided 30,000 people of the tribes with valid addresses.
- VSSM has also provided them with houses, residential plots, ration cards, bank accounts and various Government Welfare schemes.
- In March 2012, 8 girls from the Vadia village have got married and 12 have got engaged with the mediation of the VSSM team. These girls are now free from prostitution.
The Key to the Lock:
By now, you must be empathizing with them. You can help them live a dignified life with pride. But the question is, how? Maybe we can’t provide them with certain facilities that the Government can, but, we surely can support them as per our capability. I have enlisted some ideas that can help the unorthodox to return to the main stream. The ideas are as follows,
- Education: Education is the most convenient and principal change that can be brought to the submerged lives. It can light up their lives with the flame of literacy. The more we literate the more we shine. And, it is very convenient for us to educate the deprived. We can find them in our houses as domestic helps. It can be started from our homes. We can also enroll their names to a free-school.
- Support Their Living: I know it’s hard to help them with money every day, but if we show some respect to the job which they do to subsist among the imprudent world. We must make other people aware of their works and how they imprinted on our cultural heritage with their job. In this way, we can make a chain of humanity and moralities.
- Charity: Most importantly, charity is the best way to make them survive. After education, the most they lack is money, that leads them to the unethical works (according to us) they do or beg to prove their existence. We should donate a certain percentage of money to the NGOs that are working for them constantly.
- Discard Ignorance: Lastly, we must not be ignorant anymore. If we ignore then, eventually we would ignore humanity. We should acknowledge the fact that we are also somehow responsible for their adversity, be it indefinite or not. If we keep ignoring them, think what would they find for a support. You can overlook the problem, but that doesn't eradicate the problem at all.
We, today, are so much involved into our synthetic lives that we are on the threshold of forgetting about the counterpart community. We behave like they are not even visible, as they don’t even exist. We have forgotten our past, the plinth of our culture and heritage. The people we abhor are an inseparable part of our society. The edifice of our aesthetic society is made upon the minority. We have forgotten that they are the base of this society. We are made of them.
The main problem of India, now, is we are not united. We have so many repulses for our own countrymen. We are educated, but educating the minority is not our concern; we are leading our life, but making their life livable is not our concern. We don’t even realize that this mindset will lead us to the doom in next to no time. We should not think about getting dirty in order to clean up the trench.
I hope, one day India proudly accept each and every people living on it.
I watched the video where Mittal Patel narrates her story at the Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the TEDxGateaway Mumbai in 2012 and I truly found it inspiring how she managed to give identities to those who were anonymously present in our country for years. Watch Mittal Patel narrate her story here.
Thanks for reading this post.
This post is an official entry for the The Idea Caravan Contest at Indiblogger
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