WHO SOLD MY HOMELAND! WHO PAID THE PRICE!by HUMRA QURAISHI November 4 2023, 12:00 am Estimated Reading Time: 4 mins, 29 secs
Humra Quraishi addresses the trauma and abuse that children face in a hate-filled and warring world as Children’s Day on the 14th November is fast approaching.
As we get close to Children’s Day (14th November), political speeches are probably being drafted in the corridors of power to tell us how much the government has done for the future generations of the country - towards education, malnutrition and what else not. But facts and ground reality are shocking and will leave you terribly pained.
A huge percentage of Indian children are subjected to abuse and trauma. The hunger index speaks for itself and informs clearly that children in India are severely malnourished. There can be however many billboards boasting of having provided clean drinking water to millions etc., but only muddy water trickles in the taps where people live. Large stretches of lands are parched and there’s no accountability. When local populations demand food and drinkable water, they are given a Hindu-Muslim lollipop! Communal tensions are deliberately created by the political mafia to distract and divert attention from basic issues.
If you think child marriages are a thing of the past, I advise you to read the latest data, which reveals that nothing has changed. There is no research for that matter to follow up on the future of the children manipulated and bundled off, or lured into traps - there’s no end to poverty therefore illiteracy. Child trafficking is a reality known to all, so many films are made, discussions are had, but children are still bought and sold in the markets like cattle.
Last year we saw a video gone viral on social media of an eight year old boy sitting by the road and holding the body of his 2-year-old baby brother whilst his father Poojaram Jatav went around looking for a vehicle to carry his dead child home in the Ambah tehsil of Madhya Pradesh’s Morena. The media went after this story for a day or two and one got to know that the child who had died was severely anaemic and his father tried desperately to get him to the district hospital in Morena for medical supervision. Tragically, he was declared dead during the treatment. When Poojaram Jatav asked for an ambulance to take his son’s body home, the hospital refused. This poverty stricken family couldn’t afford to hire a private ambulance. It’s then that Jatav went searching for a vehicle, leaving the dead child with his older brother who sat by the roadside for hours.
The mother of the children wasn’t around. Jatav was said to be looking after the children (four of them) single handedly. This is the deep darkness enveloping scores of people in our country. What happens to the survival of thousands of such families and children who cannot afford basic food and medical care? Who is responsible for their hopelessness? And, who is accountable for this state of affairs?
I have been focusing consistently on children in the conflict zones. Ask the people of Manipur and Kashmir, what is happening to their children. Ask them if they are going to school, how frightened they are for their futures, what are the mental health issues they are facing!
It is impossible to find words to describe the trauma faced by people of Palestine when one sees videos of hundreds of children being killed there. Most world leaders (some can also be accused of war crimes!) are parents and grandparents but they are heartless when it comes to the children of common people. If this is not ethnic cleansing, then what is? The wails of the injured and broken souls are so loud, yet no one person in a powerful position can hear them. We have come to such a place in this world that if, ironically, decision makers are not desensitised, they will cease to be leaders of this extremely inhuman system running the day to day lives of multitudes. Imagine that the United Nations has no say in the matter.
Is this what we call the developed world? Is this the world that has the gall to talk of peace when it simultaneously indulges in blatant hypocrisy? Is this world fit for human beings anymore, a place where even new born children are no longer spared? As fear grows and Palestinians are chased out of their homeland, a call for ceasefire is absolutely urgent. But who is listening? Who cares? Those drunk on power are too inebriated now!
I will leave you with two verses of the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish:
‘The war will end/The leaders will shake hands/The old woman will keep waiting for her martyred/son/The girl will wait for her beloved husband/And those children will wait for their hero father/I don’t know who sold our homeland/But I saw who paid the price.’
‘He is quiet and so am I./He is quiet and so am I./He sips tea with lemon, while I drink coffee./That’s the difference between us./I think: Maybe he’s a killer…/or maybe a passer-by who thinks/I am a killer./He’s afraid…and so am I.’