Alarm bells

Alarm bells, Awards and more

Every year, people are selected for individual excellence, companies and institutions for team work excellence. How would it feel to stop all awards for a while and reset the parameters of selection on who has spent time to improve living, education and health conditions of our children?

We cannot and have not risen as a nation, and said “Come, my child, our country is a safe place for you, be born here” – why? Because we don’t know, don’t care or can’t say. We are selectively anaesthetized to the situation of children in India and the world.

Why statistics, even our gut feeling should indicate that future is not safe for children in our country if the present situation continues – neglect, irresponsibility, apathy and lack of interest in quality work. Conscience calls are not heard anymore! We are losing out on our last chance with youth of today, just before corruption and falsehood hit them – just when they have the ‘asthra’ of power to change it.

In my experience with children in utter states of exploitation, deprivation, and in conflict with law, they have shown greater values than adults – that of forbearance and forgiveness towards those who made them err in their lives.

We stand to gain from celebrating childhood – why don’t we?

When awards are considered, can we ask ourselves, which is the danger mark for a child that was improved by this team or individual? For one year, we can declare as a “Year of no awards”, as we have nothing to be proud of as a nation – to present to our children.

Infant mortality, immunisation, maternal health, survival of the girl child, corporal punishments, teenage suicides, child marriages and teenage pregnancies resulting, besides quality early childhood care and education, superior elementary education are all a far cry, our indices are worst in the world even worse that a few Sub Saharan countries!!  – but it is nobody’s baby to ensure it all. Departments, individuals, Corporate, NGOs, civil society must raise one voice as the single priority agenda for the next 3 years, dissolving all differences, and coming together for the torchbearer of the nation’s future.

Privatisation seems to be an alarm bell, but Public private partnerships which could be a solution is turning out to be more of “You bring grain, I bring chaffe, we can mix it, blow it and eat it together”. Corporate involvement needs to call for accountability and impact assessment, which is not happening. This is their responsibility for children and not a favour to the society

With levels of philanthropy yet to see a climb from tokenism – we need people who will arrive at citizenship – feeling of equality beyond responsibility and mentoring. Creating a conducive environment lies in the hands of adults, to build a nation that holds promise for children. Till then castaway- juries for awards and prize monies.


Vidya Shankar

10th Dec 2010