TODAY -

Nip in the Bud

Rameschandra Ningthoujam *

File photo taken by the author on 24th November 2013 inside that unknown/unnamed sweetshop
File photo taken by the author on 24th November 2013 inside that unknown/unnamed sweetshop



It was fine day of 24th November 2013 where the Imphal city is filled with fun and entertainments. I went out to take a glimpse of the ever hype Sangai festival with two of my long time not seen friends where we were looking for a place to sit and talk and finally we found an overcrowded but apparently famous sweetshop just across the road to 'a unique and a historical polo ground' – the Mapal Kangjeibung, Imphal, Manipur, the oldest and living polo grounds of the world.

The very sweetshop we entered was also happened to be just below the main office of the only and famous Manipur's private news information service – the Information Service Television Network (ISTV). The apparently famous sweetshop was without any billboard that should indicates its name, its registration numbers, etc. neither in front of the shop nor on the tissue paper (there wasn't any tissue paper) that most of the (sweet)shop or restaurant usually have. May be that sweetshop is damn famous that does not need further introduction. But I am not sure whether these types of unnamed shops are allowed to run by the Imphal municipality or the so-called 'related authorities'. The customer (I guess) or me in particular would be keen and would love to know the name of the shop I/we shopped or eat since it would help us/me where I/we eat, what I/we eat, etc.

Anyway, we just asked (some would say ordered) three Chai (tea). The chai was good enough but I came out with a distaste mood, because I saw many underage kids employed in that very hotel (see the file picture below). I am very much sure that those kids (or this very kid in the picture) are being employed are around ten or just beginning of their teen age.

I don't understand and was often wondering during that whole Sangai fest day trip that why on earth do all this are happening, thinking, 'where does the so-called 'Sarva (or Sarvanash some would say) Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)', 'where does Right to Education Act (RTE) or the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2010', 'where does the Child Rights activist gone' and 'what show we Manipuris are putting up to those foreign tourist, who came to witness this very festival???? I am sure they (foreigner) would surely disbelieve their eyes or some of them might even refused to take chai from that very shop if they happen to see by chance. But, this is Manipur, who cares!!

Well, those visiting foreigner would be leaving our so-called "Sana Leibak" or the cliché – the Switzerland of the East, soon after the Sangai fest is over. But for sure they will be carrying the impression as well as the image of Manipur including the picturesque landscape, its unique flora and fauna particularly the Siroy Lily, the Loktak and the Sangai. For sure, they will also be carrying the image of this boy, aghast and averse, force to delete those beautiful images captured in their minds.

In fact, these kids are supposed to go to school but not to get trashing from his boss because he did not clean those shitty tables properly. 'Hello, that's not his job' I just murmured. I thought I should at least talk to the boss/manager, but my conscience told me that it would be a worthless effort to convince that big fat dark and money minded brainless skull, because he sees only money and would be disinterest and obviously would be annoyed with my suggestions. 'Who cares' could possibly be his perfect answer.

I am pretty sure that this kid would also like to hang out with their friends same as the kids of this very boss of this shop, or go to school same as every other kid does. But they are force to rot under these kinds of institution, deprived from any rights.

May God Blesses these kids! May god gives good lesson to those bosses who employ underage kids. May god gives the power of vision to our government and child rights activist to see all these sad part. And lastly, may ISTV and other news channel cover this miserable part too. Yaifare Yaifarase!!


* Rameschandra Ningthoujam wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is a PhD Candidate, International and Intercultural Studies, Universidad de Deusto, Bilbao, Spain and can be contacted at rameshningthoujam(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on November 26, 2013.



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