Silent Anarchy

June 20, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

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Arvind Yadav

 

By

Ananya S Guha

The other day I read in the newspapers how an Indian lady fought for the rights of street children.

She took them to a restaurant in Delhi’s posh Connaught Place to treat them on the occasion of her birthday. A tussle ensued as the staff were not willing to entertain what they thought were ‘shabbily dressed’ children. The matter reached such a point that it went to the Police. The version of the restaurant owner was that she wanted a ‘free’ treat for the children. After that the lady came back to stage a protest with her entourage of ten to twelve, hapless, I’m sure, children and sat in front of the restaurant till midnight.

This episode underscores three issues. The first is of course the growing phenomenon of street children. In the city of New Delhi one sees them in rags, begging or trying to pester someone to buy newspapers in trinkets. Even in Shillong, where I live in North East India their condition is abysmal, from taking snuff to desperately collecting beer bottles. Secondly the point of ‘shabbily dressed’. This is an instance of sheer insensitivity and class high handedness which deserves punitive measures in a supposed democracy. Thirdly the version of the owner, that the social worker demanded the food free of cost, a statement which she has denied. Even if it is true, it is not a criminal offence, and it is high time that such money spinners think of a little bit of cause and altruism. They should remember that corporate or no corporate  responsibility, they are living in a highly aware and sensitised society, where a large section of the people are fighting for rights of others, in the midst of hatred, mayhem and killings.

If basic love and compassion has no place in a society or country, that society can only be thrown to backwaters of primates. The action of the restaurant owner and his insensitive staff show how some people of these so called metropolitan cities are mired in their cash strap cultures, and have no feeling for the city that they live in.

As per the newspaper reports the Delhi Government has rightly taken a strong note of this episode and a Government release said it will  do all it can to issue strictures on the restaurant owner. However this is doubtful. The rich and tax evaders in India have a way of getting rid of problems they are entangled in. The power of plutocracy is sovereign. Money speaks and pays.

In the midst of this the wily guts of the lady social worker is admirable. This may be one case, but there are hundreds of others in the country playing such isolated but just roles. Slowly this is how an edifice of social justice and equity can be built. This is the light in the country, which is otherwise pitched in darkness, because of excruciating poverty we can look forward too. It is also noteworthy that both state and central judiciaries play pro active roles to address the condition of distressed children, or children in broken homes. In one such judgement a State Bench speaking of children in homes where marital relations are estranged, said that parents must cement relations only for the sake of the children who are the worst sufferers in such contexts.

The episode which I have cited above, based on a newspaper report that I read should arouse the conscience of people who profess ideology, talk of egalitarianism, and mouth platitudes about the state of poverty in the country, even as this silent anarchy of the rich and the upper classes continue unabashedly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ananya S Guha

Ananya S Guha was born and brought up in Shillong, North East India. He has seven collections of poetry and his poems have been published worldwide. They have also been featured in several anthologies. He is also a columnist, critic and editor. He now is a Regional Director at the Indira Gandhi National Open University and holds a doctoral degree on the novels of William Golding.

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