Bangalore, Aug 15:Sounds of mirth and joy reverberated from every corner of the Bosco Mane in Chamarajpet on Thursday. Around 400 children had assembled to participate in the Independence Day celebrations and, the excitement was visible on each face.
Having just exhibited his dancing skills, a proud Karthik C, 13, was literally over the moon. With the tri-colour painted on his cheeks, the lad was bursting with energy. But, one question about his past and, a grave seriousness takes over.
It has been two years since Karthik who is presently in Class VI was brought to the Centre from the Majestic railway station. Although he occasionally goes home during holidays, he, however, does not like to stay there very long. “My parents discourage me to come back here and they want me to take care of my younger ones,” said Karthik. Before his life at the Centre Karthik’s was staying with his family of four in the remote corners of Whitefield till he one day decided to run away. “I was fed up of the daily beatings of my drunkard father,” he said.
The right of children to study and their freedom to just ‘remain children’ is being constantly infringed upon on a daily basis by ignorant parents and other members of their own family more than anyone else.
“A good percentage of children don’t return when they go home. Weeks become months as parents keep delaying their return. Enquiries show that their parents would prefer them work than study and, therefore prevent them from returning to the centre,” said Fr George P S , executive director, Bosco Mane.
A big fan of the famous Kannada singer, Gurukiran, Prema D, 17, also wants to become a singer just like her idol. In fact, just the day before, she hosted an entire half-an-hour show on the radio channel, 95.4 FM. “I have also sung in a number of school competitions and other functions,” said Prema. Life, however, has been one big struggle for Prema before the present stability. She was literally in tears when she recounted events from her past life.
After her mother died when she was a five-year-old, she was taken to her grandparents house and they made her to do the household chores rather than study. Having a drunkard father only aggravated the situation. “I was made to do all the household chores and was very depressed.”
A number of children in her locality were studying in higher classes than her and this fact further spiralled her depression. She was brought to the Centre by her maternal aunt a year ago and now studies in Class IX. “There was a time when I did not even have the confidence to look at people and talk to them. However, now, not only can I address to a large audience but also can sing in front of them without any fear.”
According to Nagasimha G Rao, director, Child Right’s Trust, the usual tendency of parents is to silence children stating that they are too small to have an opinion. On the contrary, children should be allowed to speak and it is the duty of parents to listen and respect their opinions. Not only parents even governments should listen to what they have to say,” said Rao.
In fact, Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Right of Children talks about a child’s right to participate and have a say on any matter and, this is a very crucial aspect for a child’s overall development, he explained.