Where there is hope, there is belief

Niharika was late for school today. Unlike other days, she dozed off moments after her alarm went off. Her mother finally woke her up from her dreams and asked her to get ready as soon as possible. It was quarter to 7 and her school bus would be here any minute. She walked up to the dining table where her father was reading the day's newspaper. She stood for a while looking at her father, whose eyes were glued on the front page of a leading daily. Realising that he would never look up, unless she made a move, she coughed a little to distract her father's attention. "Yes, my darling. You aren't ready yet? Isn't your school bus about to arrive?," said Sanjay Rao, Niharika's father. "Daddy, I was thinking if you could drop me to school today? Please?" said Niharika making a puppy face.
"Well, that would require some bribe."
"No Daddy. Taking bribe is an offence. Mam told us."
"Oh yes sweetheart, it is. But a sweet little kiss from daddy's little angel isn't really a bribe after all."
Niharika smiled, ran towards her father and gave him a peck on his cheeks.
"Now you get ready and I shall drop you to school. But you have to make it fast. We shouldn't be reaching late."
"Ok Daddy."
By 7.30, Niharika was down at her apartment's parking lot with her father, to head off to school.
Niharika had everything that a young child like her would want. She studied in one of the most popular and elite schools of Delhi. She had loving and caring parents who themselves were well educated and whose monthly income ranged from 1-2Lakhs. They lived in a three bedroom apartment in Greater Kailash. Money was not a concern for Niharika. Neither was food, books, toys or anything. Her parents gave her all that she desired. Her wish was their command.

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Somewhere in the dark corners of Kusumpur Pahari was Fardeen's small pucca house, where he lived with his parents, grandmother and a younger sibling. A student of class vi, Fardeen was extremely intelligent when it came to studies. He scored an A plus grade in his class V final examination. All his teachers were quite impressed with the way he managed to excel in his exams despite being from an economically lower background. Fardeen's mother works at a Kothi in Vasant Vihar, one of the posh areas of Delhi. She earns a monthly income of Rs3000. Meanwhile, the other source of income at his home is his grandmother, who is around 50 year old. His father is neither an alcoholic nor a wife beater; He simply doesn't like to work.
Fardeen has several aspirations. More than him, it is his mother, who wishes to educate both her children and give them a suitable living. "I don't want my children to work in houses or be labourers. I want them to study. I want them to excel in life, achieve their dreams, what I couldn't do," said Afsari, Fardeen's mother. This was the thought in Afsari's mind all through the days that she toiled at her work.

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The above two fictional representations are somewhat familiar stories that we would come across everywhere in India. Have you ever thought how could these gaps be bridged? How can Niharika and Fardeen study in the same environment or live in a similar locality? Its too big a cause or thought to think about. But if you look at it from your own perspective, you'll come across many such Niharikas and Fardeens. We talk about abolishing child labour but we will find in our own homes/nearest family relationships, small children being employed to work. Reason being they are fast at their work, easy to handle and can be paid less. A look at the traffic signals, you'll find small children holding infants and begging for alms. You call them and tell them that you'd make them study, they will rush away from you. It's not their fault. It's the fear that has been instilled in them by the people who brought them to beg.

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** Imagine **

A country where every child gets the opportunity to read and write.

A country where the primary education system and sarva shiksha abhiyaan stand true to their aims.

A country where when a girl goes to study in a school, she wouldn't be asked to drop out for she is a girl.

A country where children like Niharika and Fardeen can study together in the same school and environment.

A country where a child will not just be taught subjects of understanding but also left to imagine a world of his own where he can put to use what he was taught in class.

A country where more than your academic scores, what would matter is, your understanding and love for the subject that you study.

A country where every child will have free access to books.

A country where the tiniest of the village will have a school and teachers, who would be paid well and motivated well to go that far and teach those children.

A country where the future generation will not detest being a teacher but would want to become one and teach their next generation.

A country where children will be taught the true meaning of secularism, socialism, culture, history, geography, not how they see in books but through their peers' oral rendition/ understanding of their own class/culture.

A country where children will not be differentiated in schools basis their caste and creed, religion and identity.

A country where the mid-day meals would comprise of a healthy meal that would drive more and more of students to come to school and study.

A country where there will be no reservation of seats in schools for economically backward students rather each and every child would be given free access to school, books, food and activities.

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This list may go on and on and on. Where there is will, there is hope; Where there is hope, there is belief. I simply hope and believe that whatever I imagine here, will one day come true. Who will set the example? I do not know. But I will surely try my best to set up an example. How? Time will tell.
Till then, you do your bit and I will do mine.

Thank You BlogAdda

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