Childhood is perhaps the most blessed stage in a human life. It is that phase of life where, children are not really aware of any form of worldly responsibilities, they are free from all the tensions and they can learn a whole lot of new things. No wonder, people keep having this wistful desire of going back to their childhood and relive all those beautiful memories. But there is other side to this phase and in that, many children are forced to work in inhumane conditions. This phase is also known by “child labor” where a child is full of tensions and burdens and he has to perform the tough job of being primary earning member of the family. Such children lose their innocence to satisfy the needs and wants of their family. The problem of child labor is huge and is faced by many countries in the world.
Child labor is not a recent phenomenon. Throughout human history, children have been made to work under hazardous and unhealthy conditions. In other words, child exploitation has remained an integral part of our culture and despite the advances made by us in last few centuries; we haven’t been able to eradicate this menace. Children are made to work in factories, mining, agriculture, on streets and as domestic helps. Child labor is an attack on basic rights of the children. Leave alone lack of educational opportunities to them, most of these children are malnourished and treated like animals. Child labor practices causes damage to a child’s physical and mental health apart from depriving him of his basic rights to education, development, and freedom. Unfortunately, the number of underage children working in unfavorable working conditions has kept on increasing.
India has one of the largest populations of child laborers. These children work in unsafe environments where there is a constant danger of fatal accidents. Children employed as laborers spend most of their waking hours working. They are condemned to a life of poverty, illiteracy, and prolonged misery with no end in sight. They are required to perform grueling and physically demanding tasks and in return receive only meager wages. Poor working conditions cause severe health problems to such children. A child labor not just suffers physical and mental torture but also becomes mentally and emotionally mature too fast which is never a good sign.
As children are sensitive to influences of toxics, chemicals, noise, pollution, heat and accidents, as a result of which many children develop lifelong health complications in worst cases, even lose their lives. A large number of child laborers are employed in mining, manufacturing, transportation and construction sectors where chances of fatal injuries are quite high. Because of the environmental influence, underage children suffer from permanent psychological scars. They do not possess confidence or self esteem. It is hard to imagine, how we as a country are going to prosper when a significant population of the nation suffers from such huge problems. It is not just duty of the government to take appropriate measures to rectify the situation but it is also the responsibility of the Indian citizens to contribute their bit in getting rid of barbaric practice of child labor.