Saturday, March 5, 2011

Birth in a slum.

Birth in a Slum.
Gloom descends and darkness envelopes the slum area in a city which otherwise is illuminated by huge lights and big glow signs. The pungent smell emanating from this area covered with thatched dwellings could kill a rat leave aside we the fancy beings. Shrill penetrating cries of a female break the silence of the darkness, which seem to emerge out of polythene covered small hut surrounded by mosquitoes and pests. Small kerosene lamp the sole source of illumination has made this hut discoverable in the eerie darkness of  night and light thus generated is peeping out of the torn pieces of polythene giving it a distinctly scary look. Human excretions, broken bottles of country liquor are signaling everyone venturing out in these forbidden and forgotten areas to tread carefully in this merciless place of deprivation and hunger. Cries are becoming shriller and by now a crowd of inquisitive living beings, young and old covered scantly by the dirtiest of the rags have gathered to watch this event of another unfortunate soul taking birth on this dirtiest place of earth. A closer scrutiny unveils even more shocking state of affairs with an old lady carrying out the delivery of the child by virtually pulling the child out of the mothers womb completely oblivious of painful cries of help coming from the gravely suffering mother. Finally, the child is pulled out mercilessly from  protective womb to the heartless world of slums where he is destined to suffer for the rest of his life. Father of the child in a berated state is shouting and abusing his wife. He disowns the newborn child . Life in a slum is just a collection of miseries. Fight for survival begins from the birth of a child and continues till the death. Every birth in slums is an addition to the numerous deprived, undernourished and uncared children exposed to the worst situations in life.
The life of a child in a slum begins with depravity and abuse. Slums can be termed as living hell on earth .A single visit to a slum can change your perspective of life and living beings. The contrast between city dwellings and slums is so stark and harsh that it becomes difficult to accept it.
Coming back to the birth of a child, I notice that the newborn is just the same as other infants with same innocence. The child is born innocent but only to be taught latter on the dirtiest of the etiquettes of slum dwellers.
I am forced to think about so many of us who are leading lavish lifestyles in the air-conditioned bungalows. I do not hold it wrong but still the sense of guilt is nudging me to contemplate more on this issue of justification of wealth and poverty. How can we justify our multi cuisine meals whereas at that very moment there is child dying of hunger?What is the justification of our air-conditioned comforts when the children of slums are dying due to heat stress? How can we justify our very existence in this world when we have failed miserably to help and protect our fellow human beings?What remains the justification of the millions of rupees being donated to religious places when so many lives in slums are fighting for mere survival? For these multiple questions about the justification of our assets and the liabilities there are no satisfactory answers but only the biased opinions based on our individual situations.
Good cities like Mumbai with sizable earnings and flourishing trade and thousands of affluent wealthy families have the wrong distinction of large slum area. Even the smallest of donations given jointly by these rich families could change the face of slums in the city. Why cannot these people fix some percentage of their earnings for the betterment of this deprived part of humanity? Why is it so?
My one visit to slum area made me to think so intensely about the troubles being faced by these fellow beings and I request every one of you to visit and see for yourself the sufferings of these poor people .Lets join hands to help these people and strive to bring them in the mainstream of humanity.
With Sense of Shame.

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