She looks up at the skies in hope – a hope of liberation from the shackles of labour. But soon, her master’s screams send her crashing back to reality. She is only ten years old, yet forced to work as a servant. Her family needs the money to survive. In her heart, she wonders what she did wrong to fall into this punishment. She looks up at the skies again, but all she can see are dark clouds, echoing the gloom in her life.
Such is the story of over 126 lakh children in India today. In addition, roughly 140 lakh children in the country have never seen the inside of a school. We are a land of contradictions – India dreams of becoming a superpower, yet a third of the world’s poor still reside here. India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, yet home to the most number of malnourished children. Indians are part of the most educated circles in the world, yet the country is plagued with illiteracy.
Education is the cornerstone of development. The problem with the status of education in India is the growing disparity between the “have’s” and the “have-not’s”. The policy of providing free elementary education to every child has been proven to be a joke. Even after more than six decades of independence, the number of children still illiterate is alarmingly high. One main reason, if you ask the families that do not send their children to school, is that they simply cannot afford the luxury of having a mouth to feed that does not earn. Poverty and the lack of education go hand in hand.
I am almost nineteen, and I will be voting for the first time in the 2014 elections. For years, I have been a non-committed viewer to this Great Indian Political Circus. I have seen the unhappy union of ruling party and opposition party inside the walls of the Parliament – the rantings of a dysfunctional democracy. I have seen the way our elected representatives throw everything from chairs to humanity in a quest for power. I have seen it all and have waited for the time when I would have the right to vote too – unsure, but hopeful of better days.
Let us be the harbingers of those promised better days. This year, let us use our right to vote responsibly, keeping in mind the single most important aspect of our developing democracy – the education of the Indian child. For it is the children of today who will dictate affairs in the India of tomorrow. Whatever be your former political allegiance, think for a moment whether your vote will pave the way for a deprived child to see the light of education.
As responsible Indians, it is our duty to vote for a better India. And what better way to ensure that than helping the future achieve their dreams and goals? This time, let us vote for education. This time, let us vote for children.
|Use your right to enlighten the future|
This post is a part of the #Vote4Children Blog-a-thon on Youth Ki Awaaz. Find out more at: http://www.youthkiawaaz.com/vote4children