Child labour a practice that has been devouring the childhood from children from many generations. Children are forced to work or work willingly to overcome the woe of poverty. In kashmir mostly children work because of poverty. They belong to poor families who are themselves helpless in bringing up their children in a way they deserve. So they lend a hand to their families in earning the bread and butter.
Numerous debates are being held across the globe on permissibility of level and type of work which children should be allowed to toil; even the constitution is crammed with some laws which govern the regulations of child labour, but in a pragmatic world there seems to be no implementation of these laws which could provide reprieve to those tender hands who work tirelessly to make ends meet. In a society like ours which pays no credence to the menace of child-labour, scores of juveniles have fallen prey to drug addiction and this trend is on rising vertex in many countries.
“…..and they say the best way to stop child labour is to show it.”
Junaid Buhroo, an adolescent who works as a salesman at a readymade cloth shop. He is an orphan with a small family to feed and support and can’t find anything better to do than to work tirelessly leaving aside the childhood frolic and amusement. His father died when he was studying in 7th class and then with the support of his uncle he managed to continue his studies till 10th but couldn’t continue further. He works for Rs. 3,000 a month and feels burdened with the responsibilities in such a tender age. He loves to play cricket but now he has no time to play.
Ishfaq Gojri sprinkles water on cucumbers while calling the customers to buy them. He earns nearly Rs 5,000 a month. He quit his studies after 5th class to provide sustenance to his family. His brother Danish Gojri, who became the victim of the ever prevailing conflict in kashmir when his father was hit in the head by shrapnel in a bomb blast. He sells hosiery items and earns around Rs. 7,000 a month. Danish is a very hard working boy. He works tirelessly round the year. Winters bring with it a hike in sale and difficulties too, as the rain, snow and cold make it harder for them to move around to sell goods. At times he goes to Jodhpur in Rajasthan, to do some catering job at a hotel where he earns more.
Aijaz khan, hailing from Noushara is a salesman at a mobile phone shop and sells cds dvds and various other accessories. Due to some reasons he lost interest in studies and quit his studies after 8th standard and is now supplementing the income of his family. He has five sisters one among them has been married. His mother is a housewife and father is a labourer who works very hard to earn a living. He earns Rs 3,000 a month and is being paid separately for the daily fare. He likes to play cricket but, nowadays he is not able to play with his friends because he has to cover a distance of around 30 km every day to work which makes it a busy day for him.
Muzamil Naik from Uri is very much loved by the customers because of his innocence who often give him some extra money as tip. Like his brother, Moomin Naik, he also carries tea and snacks to many shopkeepers in the market. Working in market at such a delicate age has exposed them to a very dangerous environment, which is shaping their thinking and personality in an unsound manner.
Rameez Daga, a young teenage boy from Kralteng Sopore has chosen to be a bus conductor at this tender age. His father is a fruit-seller. Awry educational setup has been one of the biggest reasons many young lives have gone astray. Rameez studied till 8th class in a government school in Sopore. But due to baleful environment at school his mind got distracted and couldn’t continue his studies. He earns Rs. 1,500 a month for his job. Job of a conductor is not an easy one. These young boys are seen hanging on bus doors calling passengers and most of the time they are scolded at by uncouth passengers.
Faisal manzoor, an adolescent vegetable seller, who on account of certain reasons couldn’t continue his studies belongs to a poor family. His father does a job of watch repairing in Uri and earns very less. Faisal sells vegetables in a market in Baramulla with his neighbour, an old man, who teaches him the tactics of the business.
Child labour has been affecting the psychology and personality of these children pathetically. The desires and thinking of these children have become limited to useless goals. It is high time to realise and understand whose responsibility is to help and uplift these children. Is it the government and the constitution, the parents of these children, the employers or all of us together as a society?