On this day, June 12, 2016, the World Day Against Child Labour, I wish to draw attention of all my dear readers to Big B’s following tweet whereby he urged his fans and fraternity to pitch in to make “this world a better place for children” by not employing them.
“Each of us has the power to make this world a better place for children. #dont_employ_little_ones”. (Your tweet T 2235 - 23 April 2016)
His message today is all the more meaningful and significant because this year’s U.N. theme for the day is the same as so passionately played up by him in above tweet :
“ 2016 Theme: End child labour in supply chains - It's everyone's business!”
Most of us here may be aware about Shri Kailash Satyarthi, but to mark the occasion I find it most appropriate to make a mention about him as a way to salute him for his vigorous efforts and campaign to eliminate child labor from the world, especially his own country India:
Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi gave up his job as an electrical engineer to dedicate himself to protecting and advancing child rights for over three decades now, freeing 80,000 child labourers and giving them new hope in life.
It is largely due to his zeal that 60-year-old Satyarthi rose to become a global voice for the children’s cause. Satyarthi has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize many times in the past for his his relentless crusade for defending child rights. Satyarthi is the first India-born person to have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and the seventh Indian Nobel laureate.
I also wish to make a special mention of the most serious and sincere participation in your campaign against child labor of the film celebrities, especially the producers who made anti child labor the theme of their movies. We can never forget the scene from Baghban when a boy polishing shoes catches your eye and you decide to pay for his education, including higher education abroad.
Thus a medium like cinema always works wonders when it comes to raising an issue like this. Bollywood has tried hard enough as it stood-up to the responsibility for this. Informed filmmakers such as Prakash Arora, Amole Gupte, Nitesh Tiwari took the mantle of presenting us with films that deal with child labour in a subtle yet hard-hitting manner.
The first Bollywood film to deal with the grave issue of child labour was the 1954 film Boot Polish. This Raj Kapoor production, directed by Prakash Arora dealt with the story of two orphans Belu (Baby Naaz) and Bhola (Ratan Kumar) who are forced into begging on streets by their aunt. Further in the story, a bootlegger named John Chacha (David Abraham) teaches them self-respect and to work for a living instead of begging. This was one of the most honest films made in Hindi cinema and could still give you the chills with its story.
In recent times, efficiently bridging the gap of a docu-drama and commercial movies, films like Stanley Ka Dabba and Chillar Party made sure that they gave you a thought-provoking entertainer. Be it the little Fatka from Chillar Party who is a car-cleaner or the innocent Stanley, both characters were powerful enough to convey the hardships of child labour and how conveniently we turn a blind eye to this issue.
Also films like Nanhe Jaisalmer and I Am Kalam were a mirror to the society for how we are killing the aspirations of these underage workers. It is commendable that these films made the effort to reach out to the audiences with meaningful content without thinking about their commercial value. Bollywood is a huge medium and even one film can do a lot of difference.