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‘Salaam Bombay’

April 22, 2012

With the supreme court directing our creamy schools to reserve 25% of their seats for the children from BPL families and with strict enforcement of RTE Act, is India set to change for ever? Just read this beautiful piece in my newspaper:http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/article3333036.ece?homepage=true

Another Mira Nair film that i was inspired to watch after ‘Monsoon wedding’ though its too late to write reviews on the pictures now. For that matter, all the movies/books i write about are NOT new or latest.

‘Slumdog Millionaire’ is nothing compared to this sad, tragic one. My heart goes out to the street children of not just Mumbai, but street children around the world. What is wrong with our society? Why don’t we have a heart to adopt them and give them a home?

One thing that always touches me about Malaysia is, how the malay muslims so easily take on others’ children into their homes. In a family of 10 kids i was told, the wife could be the 3rd, the husband could the 4th, and 2 children could be from each spouse’s previous marriages – and only 1-2 would be the couple’s own creation! When I lived there i hated such a family scenario – but only in last few years i realize what a blessing it is for kids to be taken into home by stepfather/stepmother and treated/raised as one in the family.

Why is the hindu society so rigid? I guess that’s because, divorces are happening only now in India (amongst hindus) – and our men still are not conditioned to look at other men’s kids as their own. No hindu man can marry another man’s wife leave alone accept a kid from another man like his own. Our system is like this. Local customs and culture are like this. Which is why whether its bollywood heroine like Parveen Babi or tamil heroine like Silk Smitha, women in glam world end up either as thrash or are forced to commit suicide.

But i must call myself a hypocrite first before i can pass judgement on others. Do i have it in me to respect a third rate film actress or accept a slum child as my own?

I think this is the basic reason for so many, many thousands of street children roaming in our streets today. I am one of the billion plus Indians who is to blame.

We have to take whatever is good from others. While we are fast to copy irrelevant things, there are healthy attitudes and changes that we never breed or encourage. Its a shame on Indian men even in this 21st century to expect to marry only virgins. And adoption is EXTREMELY, EXTREMELY RARE in hindu society.

From my bank days I remember my friend Esther’s church friends and relatives adopt a second child – never going for the second biological one. It used to amaze me really. If my friend would be a housewife today, she would have gone for adoption of a second child too. While all the times we complain of conversion via adoption, how many in us have a heart big enough to take an abandoned/orphaned child into our homes (INCLUDING ME THAT IS).

There is no doubt we are a very, very materialistic society and a selfish society. Even from Afghanistan and Iraq we have something to learn: the ability to love others’ children as our own and accept them into our home and hearth. I wonder why none of our scriptures spoken on this greatest human trait. Human being is basically an animal. And animals live in groups. Why don’t us Indians have the heart to adopt so many, many thousands of orphaned kids in this country?

Education is the birthright of every Indian child as per even a newly introduced statute. And child labour is a crime.

But in Tamil Nadu, restaurants, malls, shops all have owners who think its taboo to employ child labour from south but not from Nepal or North India. Chennai is stifling from the 1000s and 1000s of child labour from UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Nepal. Nowadays even at the rare times i eat out, I get put off when an cherubic face from north or Nepal gets me a plate of parathas or idlis. Once i ordered an icecream and when a 10 year old nepali kid brought it to me, i left it without eating. While coming out i saw the prominent signboard in the restaurant stating ‘this establishment does not employ child labour.’ I was told, the law applies to only Indian kids – not Nepali kids.

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We are educating 2 kids – have taken over their complete education. After watching this picture I wanna take in more kids. I am for specific helping mainly. I will look for 2 more kids i can educate in an english matric school.

May be i can’t set right everything in this country – but i will definitely do my small bit.

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