Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Lets make them smile....

Well, things could have been really very different had we not gone for the self-initiated photo-walk last month. The agenda was pretty much to capture the essence of North Calcutta, the first real venture into street-photography…the intent was primarily to test our own as well the new-bought-macro-lens’ endowment. We kick-started our ‘operation’ with a sense of elation, but believe me, midway through the walk, things started looking very very different through the lens. We stopped, we stooped and we decided not to shoot further. Not before we managed to capture some harrowing portraits...the images can perhaps be termed as “disturbing” in true sense of the term, but they do reveal the naked face truth, sadly so. We have seen the "highs"..it's time to highlight the "lows".

Some snippets from the photo-walk: The very young and chirpy flower vendor at the Howrah Station
Some snippets from the photo-walk: They would still manage a smile..and that wrecked our hearts!
Some snippets from the photo-walk: Those "Fancy" tales of childhood..the sense of wondrous joy!
The point is, we have deliberated upon this issue for the last 50 years or so…but nothing has been termed as conclusive as of now. As per the Times of India report, “India is failing its rural poor with 230 million people being undernourished — the highest for any country in the world. Malnutrition accounts for nearly 50% of child deaths in India as every third adult (aged 15-49 years) is reported to be thin (BMI less than 18.5)” but the point is, who cares? Let’s refer to the Child Labour Act 1986 that clearly states that no child shall be employed or permitted to work in any of the following occupations including Transport of passengers, goods or mails by railway, automobile workshops and garages, foundries etc. and no child shall be permitted or required to work between 7 p.m. and 8 a.m. or work overtime…” and the specified hours, my friend correspond to morning school timings– Well really, do we…or the so called “employers” really care? The point is, we prefer to be oblivious, rather imbecilic towards complying with all the statutory compliances….and forget the policies, at least think about these poor little kids for God’s sake!!

Some snippets from the photo-walk: His childhood is as filthy as the back-drop of the image...
Some snippets from the photo-walk: Do we term this as their "Salad Days"? Yes certainly we do...
Some snippets from the photo-walk: Do you see passion in his eyes? That's the passion to "grow"...
Yes, the corporates have been taking up recurring CSR activities, visiting the slums or reputed NGO’s every fortnight, trying to extend their support towards this tormenting issue…they have been involving their key resources in terms of identifying the basic short-comings in the field of child-nutrition and education and addressing them to some extent; but on a realistic scale, considering the “prodigious deadlock”, their efforts fall short. Since we, as an organisation have been involved in cumulative up-gradation and skill development of the Micro, Medium and Small Scale Enterprises, it’s a part of our responsibility to cater to this crisis, but having said that we need worthy contributions from all the major corporates from across the country or abroad. Perhaps we could leverage the social media to spread awareness and accumulate ‘affluence’ in a wider scale…”quality content” in any form, can attract attention and I believe the digital marketers can come to the fore-front in this “battle for the future”. Procuring digitally interactive class-room’s for the rural hubs with Government intervention could also be a key success factor. The funds (as and when needed) are pretty much available with the Central or the State Governments, we just need to channelize them in the right direction; in-fact there are existing Government schemes that are directed towards the betterment of people lying below the poverty line in terms of their social 'admission'..the only aspect that is missing in this direction is the "sensitization quotient". The avenues are countless and their conceptualization have been expeditious, but the implementation? India still ranks 94th in the Global Hunger Index of 119 countries. The facet has to change fast...our vision is to help them “grow” in terms of health & erudition. Yes, it is indeed our cumulative intent..eradicating the last signs of "classroom hunger" from the country. Period.

Some snippets from the photo-walk: The sight that we would love to see in every corner of the country..
Disclaimer: I am going to #BlogToFeedAChild with Akshaya Patra and BlogAdda. Requesting my readers to write a blog post & contribute to this cause. For every blog post you write, the good people at BlogAdda will sponsor meals for an Akshaya Patra beneficiary for an entire year, as a part of the Bloggers Social Responsibility. Lets make them smile :)
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