Plight of bonded children
The bondage of children is not an accident. It is a product or by-product of human choice and action, writes Swami Agnivesh.
The plight of children in a society is an authentic index to its character and culture. Our world is unkind to children and unmindful of their pains and degradation. In the global village, about 250 million children live in conditions of servitude. Many more live neglected, even brutalised. In India alone 65 million children below the age of 14 live and work in conditions of bondage. But the ordeal of children is not confined to under-developed nations.
They suffer in affluent societies as well. In affluence, not less than in poverty, children are victimised. In the two-third of the world, children suffer material deprivation. In affluent societies they suffer emotional deprivation and live in a state of homelessness in their own mansions. The assumption that the suffering of children is a non-western phenomenon betrays a materialistic bias to the effect that only material deprivation matters as though human beings can live by bread alone.
We are all acquainted with the appalling reality of the injustice and cruelty that our world inflicts on children in their millions. And we are moved, genuinely and sincerely moved, by the deep pathos of it. The intention to eradicate this contemporary abomination is also in evidence.