Child labor usually means work that is done by children under the age of 15, which restricts or damages their physical, emotional, intellectual, social, or spiritual growth as children.
There are many reasons for the existence of child labour in our country. Majority of child labour hail from the rural, tribal and slum areas of our country and are forced in to labourage because of poverty and worst economic conditions of their families and by failure to realise the importance of education by their parents. Also child labour is encouraged by some vested interests in order to get cheap labour.
Child Labour is the mother of many ailments such as poverty, illiteracy, inequalities and poor workforce. For the elimination of poverty in our country, education is the primary weapon which can only be promoted by rooting out child labour. We have to realise that child labour and poverty are inevitably bound together and if we continue to use the labour of children as the treatment for the social disease of poverty, we will have both poverty and child labour to the end of time.
On the humanitarian side, it is an utter injustice that the education and future of a child depends on the economic condition of the family he is born in to rather than his own vices and virtues.
Children do not constitute anyone’s property: they are neither the property of their parents nor even of society. They belong only to their own future freedom. It is time for parents to realise that education for children is not only their right, but a passport to a better future – for their families and for the country.
The problems of child labour if listed can fill in terabytes of memory, for everything is a problem in the country with the existence of technology and illiteracy (fruit of child labour) side on side.
Child labour in our country has two faces – One face is the with regard to the children who were labouraged in the fields of rural, tribal and slum areas and the other face is regarding children who were undergoing labourage in the name of education in schools and colleges. These two need to be tackled at an alarming rate for providing assured results for our future generations.
According to the statistics only around 64% [optimistic view] of child population are enrolled in schools in our country. Many of them are being forced into work from a very early age of 8 years to support their families. The result of decades of child labour is clearly visible at present in the form of poor economy that resulted because of poor agricultural economy, backbone of our nation.
Child labour infact creates a vacuum, for the cyclone of destruction to sweep the whole nation. It is not “a problem” but rather “the problem” as it can give rise to many more inequalic disturbances. Any major problem in our country is intertwined with child labour and all steps for tackling those problems can go futile unless this menace is curbed off to the most possible extent.
The emergence of black markets for basic commodities is also a branch of child labour as the illiterate farmers are taken advantage of by the middle men whose pose themselves as the mediators between rural and urban areas.
The illiteracy of farmers is not only a bane for them but also for the urban people who buy basic commodities at the whim of these middle men. The tree of child labour is turning our farmers into poor peasants and then into daily workers as they enter into slavery norms of stringent money lenders who advantage their backwardness to their own greed.
The low agricultural productivity in our country is also a fruit of child labour. The traditional agricultural practices used in our country are extinct in other countries with the development of technology and the methods of high yielding and harvesting.
Despite ours being an agricultural country unfortunately the technical advancement is on the negative side. The basic cause for this trend is the lack of skills for farmers to bring in on the innovation into farming practices and their inability to bring in-smart-work in place of hardwork. For example, majority of farmers in our country plough their fields with the help of oxen which is very much time taking, while the technology arrived where a plough machine can be installed on motor bikes which can plough 10 acres of land in just a couple of hours compared to the week work in the former case at a very affordable cost.
The advent of child labour also prevents the coming generation from actively participating in the politics or other services that can directly constitute the growth of our nation. Because of prevalence of child labour over the past few decades, the number of persons in various competitive exams such as UPSC or IIT-JEE from rural areas is very less. The development of the country can be exponential when the farmers participate in its process directly rather than indirectly.
Moreover, child labour curbs off the confidence and motivational levels of our young children which can cost a fortune for our nation. For country to reach in par with world super powers the morals and attitude of the people must be very high and competent in various fields. The leaders arise only when child grows in an environment of knowledge and morals. The child labour prevents a set of generation to analyse the problems with the modern developments.
The day when fellow citizens of our villages can understand the basic terms such as economy, GDP, inflation, etc. – that day my country, our country is transformed into a super power. This is possible only we can devour the menace of child labour from its roots.
As previously stated, that child labour is a coin with two faces, the above discussed kind of labour forms only one face. The other face of it is also equally dangerous in the interest of our nation. This second form of child labour is artificially created for the fiscal benefits by many organisations and individuals in the name of education. This might take you by surprise, but this fact is undeniable.
If labour is defined as something hard, stressful and mentally upsetting, then today’s education in schools in the name of competition (marks alone) is transformed in to a form of labour for the children. It is infact causing stress that is forcing some students to volunteer out of the schools in the rural areas.
According to a survey conducted in 800 schools (elite schools) across the country, more than 90% of students are found not to be enjoying their education. Most of the children infact developed a kind of nausea towards education, which intern can deliver a thunder blow for our nation, as the education with no basics creates an impotent workforce which our nation cannot afford presently. Infact this kind of labour was absent in our country during the pre-British regime. But the introduction of western culture and western education system and with the advancement of competition in the recent decades has turned the divine education in to a labourage.
Many of the technical institutes teach us how to do things rather than why to do things. As a result of our present education system, we are using our development for technology inspite of using technology for our development.
Another example is that many of our students including those from universities fail to explain that papers blow away under the fan because of bernoulli’s principle inspite of studying that principle from class 8. This kind of stressful education is infact killing the sensibility and analytical ability of many students.
Only when the students are really able to enjoy the education, we can get some scientists and researchers with thoughts whose findings can revolutionalise the world. The education becoming a labourage for most of the students denies the very purpose of it. The education, inspite of being pursued as a gift is becoming the burden for the students. The results are directly visible in the form of suicides by many students.
I strongly assert that the ruthless educational system at present and the competition that it had developed in the form of marks and ranks had infact become a kind of burden or labourage for the children.
Thanks to the Government for taking some steps like introduction of grade system rather than rank system in schools to reduce the stress level of the students. This kind of labourage need to be curbed and education must be delivered in a more interesting and innovative way developing the overall personality of the child rather than his marks alone.
Moreover the education system in rural areas should be differed in such a way that it helps in their daily needs. For example, teaching some basic laws of physics for farmers helps them to bring in innovation in to their daily activities as explained in the earlier example of ploughing with a motor bike.
When the advantages of education are seen in the daily lives of the people, we can expect the encouragement from parents for their children in the rural areas that will automatically curb both forms of labourage for children.
Finally, for our nation to restore the glory, we have an urgent need to raise the level of understanding and thinking of our people that is possible only by imparting quality education rather than mere education and eliminating the child labour by roots from our country and also the world. There is a plethora of laws but nothing can eradicate child labour unless there is awareness among parents and children, which will go a long way in saving the future of millions of working children in India.
Lastly it is to be realised by all that, in serving the best interests of children, we serve the best interests of all humanity and the future generations.