So yesterday I went to the market to get some Ice… The markets in India, as we all know employ a large number of helpers, sometimes upto three in one shop only. The first thing which I saw when I got there was a little boy, probably twelve years of age (probably younger, I’m very bad with identifying age) standing near the counter lifting and arranging packets of chips. I have, as many have, heard about the new law by the Indian goverment increasing the minimum age for a person to work to 15, below which it is considered as Child Labour. It was evident at first glance that this boy was much younger. So I asked him two questions–
- Do you have Ice Cubes?
- What is your age?
To the First question, I got a prompt affirmitive, but for the second one, the little one wavered and then said he was 15 years of age. Well Lied, I thought. Then I thought that I must do what I can about this situation. So i asked the price of the Ice Cubes and was redirected by the boy to the Shopkeeper who had just returned from inside the shop. I accosted the Shopkeeper and without looking even once in my eyes, he said that it was none of my business. He seemed right at that moment and I bought the ice and walked away.
But the thought that I did not do anything about the boy kept hurting me the whole day and I will probably be ashamed of myself everytime I will think about it.
So today, I sat down to think what I could possibly do about the Situation. I came up with very few answers as follows–
- Do Nothing, which, trust me, is as bad an idea as punching your father-in-law in the face.
- Punch the shopkeeper and then run for it, because if you stick around, the people of the market association will thrash you to glory.
- Call the Police and report to them, in which case either the shopkeeper will be fined and then he’ll again employ a young child or he won’t have to worry because the head of the market association has already bribed the police.
- This one seems to me the best solution to me and I will follow it every time i see Child Labour around me– Ask the price of a lot of goods, ask the shopkeeper to pack them and then walk off without buying them after commenting casually to the shopkeeper that you don’t support Child labour. This will frustrate him and even if two to three people do this to him, trust me, he get an above age helper.
I don’t suggest that you stick to my plan, although I’m sticking to it already, its your choice.
On the other hand, you could also think about what if that kid was the only one to support his family or that he was aiding his family in finance needed because of the large number of his siblings. If you wish to take this route and support Child Labour, just think about this for a minute– Don’t your Children go to School? So isn’t the right place for a Child a School?