A childhood with no choice – Krutika GaurAugust 26, 2017 1 By Krutika Gaur
HOW MY LOVE FOR CHILD RIGHTS WAS BORN! :”)
How would one describe the old Delhi railway station? People running around, newspapers being spread on the platform and people sitting on them while waiting for their train. If you’ve ever traveled via the Indian Railway, you would know how late every train is.
I was there as well, in that crowd waiting for the train. I wasn’t travelling anywhere, I was waiting. Waiting for the kids who were coming all the way from their home, kids who had no idea where they were going, and were so clueless that you could tell them just by seeing them as to how scared they were. Yes! I was waiting there for the children who were being trafficked from far off places and were being brought to delhi to work in factories, or as domestic help, in shops and all other sorts of child labour.
As far as I remember, I was a bit nervous that day, as it was my first raid and though we were given all the instructions, I was nervous and feared that one mistake can affect the whole team! Participating in raids is no easy task you see! So we sat there waiting for the train to arrive. The moment we saw that the train we are waiting for will be arriving in 5 minutes, everyone got up and became alert. We divided ourself in a team of two to get started with the task of rescuing the kids who were being trafficked. The train arrived and people start getting down and again the platform which was so calm and peaceful, became crowed with people blabbering all around. Someone was shouting their fathers name asking them to walk slow while the other is pulling her mother’s clothes asking her to buy a packet of chips. But no, I wasn’t there to observe all this. I was there for a purpose! I started looking around trying to find what my eyes were looking for, trying to look as far as I could.
Suddenly, I found a man with a group of boys. It was a group of 8 boys, the youngest one must be around 7-8 years and the eldest around 20 years, the rest were in between this age group. I went there, and thought of talking to the youngest kid, as he was standing at the end, so without letting the man notice me and trying to look like a random stranger who’s asking for the way, I approached that kid. His eyes were red maybe due to crying throughout the way, but he looked clueless and was scared of all the things that were happening around him. You could see that fear on his face. I asked him where he was going, he didn’t respond. I put my hand on his shoulder, and asked him again the same question, “I don’t know” is what he said, next I asked him who was he travelling with, he just pointed at that man who was still busy in collecting all the bags at one place. Who is he, was my next question to him, he said “Mamaji”. Now, you must think that this kid isn’t trafficked since he was traveling with his relative, but in villages, there’s no concept of “uncle” or “aunty”, even the neighbours are addressed as chachaji, mamaji and so on.
Immediately i called the Sir (Bachpan Bachao Andolan Activist) with whom I was there, he came and asked all the boys there the same questions I had asked that kid, everyone called that man “mamaji” and that man’s expression changed from normal to tensed. We took all those boys to the railway police station to write their details.
That day we got around 15 children, some of who were actually waiting for their relatives on the station so we let them go once their relative came and showed the ID proof. We rescued around 8 boys that day, took them to the shelter home for further process.
My days at Bachpan Bachao Andolan are filled with such incidents, it gave me a chance to have a closer look at this world where crimes against children are being done. I went on around 15 raids, some were specifically in factories/ placement agencies, rescuing the child labourers there, while some were to rescue the children who were being trafficked.
Listening to the stories of all the children who were rescued long back, some pursuing law, some engineering, while someone wishes to be a teacher, gave me goosebumps!
Those days at BBA changed me as a person forever, it was like I came out of a cocoon of my whole happy world, seeing the reality. I came out as a much bolder person.
It changed me so much so that now whenever I see a kid begging on roads or market, I can’t stop myself from going and talking to them, making sure that yes they are with their parents and not part of some racket. I do call the BBA activists when I find some kid who I think is trafficked. My love for child rights was born during my days at BBA and with every passing day, it just grows and motivates me to contribute something, be it a really small thing, to make this a better place to live for those kids who have lost their ways. Atleast I will be able to bring some change in that one kid’s life, if not the world. It gives me satisfaction and makes me happy!
Contact me here.