Oh Firoz, poor chap!



Scars on an innocent mind may cause irreparable and irreversible damage for lifetime.  That’s the reason we need to be extra sensitive and sensible with kids. As society and country, are we doing the needful? Problems of child labour and beggars have always been of importance since times immemorial. Unfortunately, they are only growing...

These sound like high-sounding phrases straight out of social research papers or intellectual debates, which hardly yield anything. I swear they are not lifted from anywhere. I’m absolutely not into plagiarism.  I have paraphrased these words and needless to say, they’re clichéd. Even I could feel futility of the sentences while writing them. It doesn’t mean we don’t recognise enormity of the situation but perhaps, we have learnt to live with the fact. Yet some incidents underline the clichéd sentences again and again.
What happened to a 12-year-old boy, a ragpicker named Firoz in Indore, is immensely shocking, to say the least. A constable forced this kid to collect mutilated body of person who had committed suicide on railway tracks. An eyewitness says that he was surprised seeing the child lifting severed limbs and head under the constable’s supervision. And what was the constable’s explanation? No one was ready for the job and he was left with no option!
Obviously, railway police officials had to do a lot of explaining when the incident came to light. Top cops sought apologies, the constable was suspended and a few others shunted. Human Rights Commission also raised objections. None of these measures is going to reverse the damage inflicted on the boy. A daily reported that the kid lost mental balance soon after and started talking incoherently. Physiatrists, treating him, feel the incident, might have done him an irreversible damage. Insensitivity on part of the constable for a few minutes may cost the kid agony for lifetime.
Why this incident alone? Don’t we observe such insensitivity in our day-to-day lives? A few days ago, a crippled child beggar wouldn’t let me go unless I obliged. I moved on but what kept haunting me was his tender age. His wasn’t age to beg nor was Firoz’s to pick rag. They are expected to be in schools learning important lessons. Sadly, a large number of kids aren’t lucky enough to get into the halls of learning.
We have so many laws and policies in place. There is no dearth of thinkers and intellectuals either. However, the reality is disturbing. The problem lies in our attitude. In Firoz’s case, we know the cop mustn’t have asked a child to something others had refused (to do). Police are often accused of being insensitive but this indeed is the limit of insensitivity!
Punishment the erring people got or even sterner action isn’t really the solution. We need to sensitise cops and judiciary, thinkers say. Again a clichéd thought but let’s make sure no Firoz is put through such an ordeal again. Let’s learn to respect life…
- KanChan 

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