Government initiatives to address the problem of child labour in India may have garnered support on social media platforms but the reality presents a stark contrast to Twitter activism.
A 2015 report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) put the number of child workers in India ages 5 to 17 at 5.7 million, out of 168 million globally. Many of them work in poor conditions completely at the mercy of employers who care two hoots about child health and welfare.
Illegal fireworks factories contribute a large part to this menace that often plunges the future of children forced to work in them into the dark. There are ample media reports that highlight how such factories function right under the nose of authorities employing minors without any safety or precautions, many a time resulting in children losing their lives and limbs to freak accidents.
Nobel Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi has claimed that more than 1 lakh children are employed in fireworks factories, not just in Tamil Nadu, but across Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Chattisgarh, Jaipur and Assam.
'Adrishya' the latest video from ‘Funky-Flunky' touches upon this stigma that Indian society fails to acknowledge. Civil society has been up in arms against these violations, but our last-minute filling up of fire cracker stocks for Diwali rarely take such atrocities into account.
The video tries to touch upon the fact that the festival of lights is not necessarily a happy festival for everyone.
The video presents a picture of little children employed in the hazardous firecrackers industry for whom the festival simply translates into more forced work.
The story starts off with a man issuing instructions – more like stating his work policy – to someone on the work that is required of him to be done in the fire cracker factory. The setup is located in what appears to be a dingy alley signifying the darkness in which such factories function.
The story tells how people employed in the largely cottage industry to fill gun powder into fireworks and sparklers and are directly in contact with the chemical ingredients with no gloves or protective equipment.
Towards the end of the video, our heart aches, when we see that the face on the other side of the table is that of a little girl standing in front of him nodding her head.
Do have a look at this 53-second video and do spare a thought for the children working in dangerous conditions who often face accidents, sometimes so serious it leaves them crippled.
The only way to save these children is to say no to crackers! When the demand dies, supply will die too.