May 27, 2015

#ChildLabor is so uncool! (In advertisements only)

Picourtesy : Twitter

Just a single thud on the table and immediately after that, I saw a little dark kid fleeing into the kitchen. In absolute wonder, I kept looking for those little dark hands and big bright eyes. “Abhi pichhle mahine hi rakkha hai kaam pe”, my aunty explained. Ok, so that little kid is the new “servant” of the house.

After providing us with glasses of water it was time for Raghu to serve us lunch. Yes, apart from the servant’s tag, that little kid with dark skin (and probably a dark future) has a name as well. Surprising! Never knew that a 12 year old, thin like skeleton boy can cook so well!
We enjoyed the meal while Raghu enjoyed washing aunty-ji’s sari. C’mon! He’s a servant. It’s his duty to wash and cook for his master.

Aunty-ji is actually very proud of the fact that she “pays him for all these.” Pays what? Peanuts? Now, whatever money Raghu and many more like him earn is actually of no use to them. That money will either be used to quench the thirst of some drunkard father or to feed the never-ending family. What is left for Raghu himself? Food? Clothes? Education?

This is not right. Right? So we, as the conscientious citizens, must protest against this. But how? May be through Facebook. Or Twitter. Or Instagram. Hey! We can create hashtags like #StopChildLabor or #SaveTheChildren. We can also like, comment, share and tweet each and every post protesting child labor.

A few weeks back, when I saw a bunch of compassionately caring activists protesting against the “racist” ad campaign of Kalyan Jewelers, my faith in humanity (and in Internet of course) was restored. Though, when initially I spotted the hashtag #KalyanJewelers on Twitter I thought it’s some kind of an ad campaign. But no… It was actually a protest. Wise indeed! (psst… Is it true that bad publicity is also publicity?)

Mrs. Beguiling Bachchan disassociated herself from the advertisement. Kalyan Jewelers gravely regretted their “creative” feat and withdrew the ad instantly. But Raghu still cooks and washes at my aunt’s place. Not only one Raghu, but millions of dark, brown, grey, dirty Raghus and Pinkys work at some household, restaurant or factory across our mahan Bharat. They even get trafficked! I’m sure, something is wrong with the Internet. After all, the Facebook and Twitter protest is meant to work.

You know why the protest isn’t still working? Because most of us are too busy criticizing discriminatory VIRTUAL ads that promote child labor over the cup of a masala chai served by some REAL LIFE Raghu.  Unfortunately, this is still the reality in innumerable corners of India. Sometimes I wonder how active is Kailash Satyarthi on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram?

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