We are all holding our heads in shame over that little boy who left this world with a crushed skull. Scores of other juvenile faces that made sad departures await him in a different playfield where he fled to. We had in a way sworn in front of similarly maimed bodies in the past that that was the last of them, and there would no repeats of such acts. Every innocent smile blinks at the thought that it doesn't have a space in the world of adults. When can a people, who stooped so low as to lose all claims to be called humans, make atonements such acts?
Probably for want of any religious-political influences in the case, police may arrest the individuals responsible for the death of the seven-year old boy from Thodupuzha on Saturday. Probably, this dastardly crime may be punished by the country's judiciary with the maximum sentence laid down in law. Some in the social media have overzealously asked for punishment even without waiting for trial. They are all an escape from, or a vain attempt to cover up, our role in preventing an atmosphere conducive to such criminal excesses. Law and justice should be applied in their order. But the depth of this crime and the impact it has created, will not disappear with the removal of those responsible for the liquidation of the child from the face of the earth. On the contrary, the mind-set that anything can be done against children has to be erased in toto. This case made big headlines only because the wound was big enough to be visible externally or in x-ray examination. There may be hundreds of children around us, or even in our own households, who dig their heads below pillows in tears and praying for the light of day while bearing in their minds the wounds that medical equipment canot read or erase.
News that emerged last week from the state of Kerala itself, in which 12 people accused of kidnapping a child of migrant labourers, and of shooting and spreading videos of children's nude pictures via social media, illustrate the vulnerable situation in which our children live. This is not a subject that can be solved by the government, courts, childline or child rights commission, but one that is binding on individual.
Cruelty to children is to be put an end to by a responsible, mature approach to life of those who claim to be adults. Even without voting rights, or representation in legislative houses, they are fully human, individuals with full rights to grow by learning, playing and thinking with all fundamental rights. And no one, be it parents, guardians, teachers or any others in such capacities, has any right or powers to commit atrocity against them. They lag behind adults only in the length of life spent and in the strength of body and mind.
We are a people who make challenges for reading of books, planting of trees and for posting of pictures of ten years ago in Facebook. But the challenge to be taken up by any one yearning for a coming generation with confidence and for decent citizens, is a challenge to ensure that children's rights are well protected. This will become possible not by observing certain special days or by lectures, but by building a world suitable for every human to be purified and for children to grow meaningfully. Let there not be an opportunity again to bemoan a child's death in this manner and to curse our fate.