Friday, August 12, 2011

Are we taking our children seriously

To be honest, there is a new trend in lifestyle. The issues we talk about most is what we enjoy violating. Like, everyone has something to contribute on the subject of traffic management, but always look at others to obey. The recent, in vogue, is the issue of child rights. Given a chance, each one of us would like to give our piece of mind on protecting child rights, but turn our back to actual situations. The latest to add to the list on child right issue is 'Child Soldiers'. Knowingly or unknowingly, deliberately or unintentionally, willingly or unwillingly, we have started using children as shields to many of our nefarious activities. Their innocence and ignorance is being used by us, adults, to our benefit. I have been deliberately using the word 'us' so as to project the issue in all context, from all perspective. I am presuming myself to be in all roles; as a common man, as a law enforcer and also as a law violator. To be honest, I have worn all those shoes, at one point or other.

'Child Soldiers' does not construe child taking up fire arms and going on front to fight their foes. It is not just children's being direct combatants. It includes all those jobs which assists in combat situation. They are used as mercenaries, messengers, spies, intelligence gatherers, logistic carriers, supply providers etc etc. They are safest mode, tools and instruments, as still we have not come out of traditional mindset of perceiving children as innocent. But, are we realizing that by engaging them in all above said ways, we are soon (dis)-orienting the other parties to change their stand and start looking children, as well, with suspicion. In kashmir, the law enforcement agencies have started doubting children's birthright of innocence and ignorance. Even in red-corridor areas and North-Eastern States, law enforcers are gradually changing their glasses to have a different picture of children. Similarly, the other party, the anti-government combatants, have shifted their view on children after State machinery started involving children as Special Police Officers (SPOs). I have tried to draw a picture of situation prevailing in our country so that we relate to it easily. Identical situation has evolved in all parts of world, be it developed, developing or under-developed countries. African countries, like Congo, Nigeria; Afghanistan in Asia, Bosnia and Kosovo in Europe and others have been facing this problem for long now. Recent outbursts and protests in all revolutionary countries fighting for change witnessed similar upsurge in children's overt involvement in adults game. The looting pictures in UK has depicted that Western countries is no exception.
This trend has its own perils. Children will no more be chidren; We wont anymore treat them as children; and we are booking ourselves into a dangerous future.

Bygone are the days when the parents would ask children to quit room when contentious issues were discussed within family. They did not want their children to be party in any of adult politics, and now we dont mind their indulgence in issues leading to bloodshed. I think this miserable trend is an evolution in humankind, very similar to shifting of puberty age to pre-teen years.

It is high time we mend our ways or else we will jeopardize our future.