But the lonely village boy in a big bad city seldom finds the ‘life’ he comes for. He ends up working long hours for meagre wages. His poverty and need make him vulnerable to exploitation. Some children also work without any proper wages. This is against the law. Worse, you will also find children below the age of 14 engaged in work that is, to put it politely, dangerous.
According to our constitution, making children work without wages and making children aged below 14 work in mines, factories and other dangerous places is illegal. The truth, however, is that in every nook and corner of Indian cities, one can find boys and girls as young as six doing all kinds of jobs for any small remuneration. Being physically weak, they have to bear a lot of verbal and physical abuse within and without their workplace. At time things are worse and some die in circumstances as these.
No social security is active or proactive enough to check this. They are reactive on some rare occasions. But usually that does not solve the problem. You rescue fourteen boys between ages of 7 and 14 working in a tobacco factory and send them to a rehabilitation centre. Within two weeks, they prefer the freedom of the pavement life to the nauseating claustrophobia in a rehabilitating centre.
Can we imagine the way they shall perceive the world? What if they decided to pay back to civilisation what ‘civilisation’ has given to them? Would you label these boys as criminals then? It is high time we recognised the gravity of the danger that stares society in the face if these kids prefer to labour in the world of crime for an extra rupee or two!