I spotted a young boy serving tea in a small road side stall. It was raining and yet the child hurried to deliver the hot cups holding them carefully. It was a disturbing scene. People sitting comfortably in their cars and luxury buses getting more comfort from a little boy’s rainy serves. The sneezing boys dressed up in rags , his hair wet stood outside the window of a vehicle waiting for the glass to roll down told me in volumes the plight of helpless children working under monetary compulsions.
An interview of a child labour, I will never forget, went like this…. “Why do you work ? Are you forced to work ? Shall we call the police to help you out?.. “the reply was one.. “I work to feed my parents.” “Is this not your age to study ?..” “Where will I go to study and who will provid me food if I stop earning !”
Many countries have prohibition orders for child labour. Robert Kiyosiki, the well know Best seller, who writes books on financial updates from different perspective, once noted that he ran a purse making business and got it manufactured in China. Once he happened to visit China to see how the production takes place. He was aghast to see the pathetic conditions of child labours working day in and out to provide him a cheaper labour,which made his product available at a competitve price. Pained by the pathetic plight of the poor Chinese…Robert stopped getting his products manufactured in China, his own way of contributing to protest against child labour. In fact Robert left his business and focused on real estates and conducting workshops on Finance. Today he is among the highest earners in those two fields.
Rizq is in the hands of Allah, but it is the test for us to see how we choose to aquire that Rizq. Whether we exploit young kids who work for their old parents or orphan children who cannot be looked after by their4 grand parents and not wanted by paternal uncles and aunts.
I visited a friend of mine and was amused to see his little child of four years, sitting with his tuition teacher. I was there for around twenty minutes and observed how the teacher taught.. in those twenty minutes the teacher scolded him three times and threatened him once….
There was an interesting debate in the Indian media on child labour and which class of children should be exempted from being included in the banned list. A couple of them struck my attention. A young school student complained about heavy books and syllabus and insisted that heavy competitive studies and and hyper expectations of grades should also be included in child labour. Another reader remarked that child actors in reality shows who are made to look and act like elders and who toil day and night practising dancing steps to win the events and parroting dialogues to give a natural look to their actions on screen should not be exempted rather they too should be included in child labour.
That reminds me of a quotation from Ali bin Abi Talib r.a. : play with your child till he is 7 years old, teach him after he that, and till he is 21 accompany him then leave him independant inshallah he will be matured…
Author : Nisaar Nadiadwala,speaks and writes on socio-educational topics from Islamic perspective. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org