Aradhana, my daughter, in the very first of her teens, died of starvation, euphemistically called fasting, for her parent's greed, mistaken as piety.
How is this any of my business? How is Aradhana, my daughter?
Pray, why not? Children are our joint responsibility. Would you, for example, turn a blind eye if your alcoholic neighbor were bashing up his children every day?
We have allowed this notion of "my family" being akin to ‘my property’ prevail for far too long.
In developed societies, the state intervenes when the parents are found to be misusing their guardianship. Their sensitivity towards the little children who cannot defend themselves is way different from ours. Reckon how Brangelina broke up as Angelina Jolie objected to Brad Pitt’s treatment of their children. Dare we object to the daily sacrifice of children in our madarsas, ashrams, derasars, churches?
Diksha, or renunciation, is a hollowed concept where young children – sometimes as low as 8 – are encouraged to renounce their parents, homes, cities and all the worldly pursuits. Girls’ heads are shaved clean so that they do not look attractive anymore. They are thereafter supposed to not belong, not remain attached to anyone, anywhere. Don’t you think this should be just the opposite?
There are other forms of murders, too. Such as when parents destroy their children’s childhood for fancied percentage and, increasingly now, also for winning the reality shows – all to satisfy their own egos, and to score brownie points amongst the relatives.
Shall we remain mute spectators to this barbarism even now? Or shall we fulfill our obligation as parents, guardians, citizens, and members of a civil society that we together share?