Recently, I was in bus, on way to office. A group of little kids studying in a nearby government school got in to the bus. Their uniforms showed evidences of playing out in the mud. The eldest one looked around 8 years old and the youngest one who was with a running nose looked around 5.
They perched on to all empty seats and were chattering away. Elder ones were trying to keep the younger ones under control. Some little girls sitting next to me started looking curiously at me, my bag and the book I was holding in hand. I glanced at them and smiled as they turned away shyly.
At the next stop, a mother and two teen girls got in. The girls had their shopping bags and started taking stock of their shopped items. As they held a whole bunch of earrings and other fancy items in hand I saw the little ones’ eyes shining and mouths opening in awe. They couldn’t seem to stop gazing at those colourful earrings, chains and pendants. None of them had any fancy earring or a bangle. They kept looking at them till the bus reached the stop they had to get down.
Those little girls reminded me of myself at that age. I would look forward to Onam to get new sets of bangles, ribbons, beaded chains, earrings, bindi, etc. I would keep them all in boxes and take them out everyday and admire for long. There will be very few girls who would be beyond the lure of such things till a particular age.
These kids had their bags torn, shoes looked old and dirty, some didn’t even have slippers… All they had to compete with the rich kids were the dreams and hopes in their eyes.
I wished such a scenario unfolded in front of all those who oppose Right to Education Act. All kids have the right to dream big. Government is bound to fulfil their dreams and society too. How can one feed own child, leaving the child next door to starve and die?
Education is the only weapon to fight poverty. For girls, it is the source of confidence and strength. Hope our decision-makers realize it.