The Question of Child Labour
The book addresses various vital questions related to child labour
Name: Rehabilitation of Child Labour: Problems and Prospects
Author: Dr Bilal Bhat
Publisher: Shipra Publications, New Delhi
Publishing Year: 2011
Cost: Rs. 650
While going through the huge racks of book in this year’s World Book Fair, New Delhi, I stumbled on a book written by a Kashmiri author. At first I took the book in cynical mode and flipped its pages. I got so engrossed in the book that I decided not only to read it but buy it as well. And it proved to be an immensely good read.
The book addresses various vital questions related to child labour. Why children work; who sends them to work, who benefits from their work, what are the alternatives for them and is their labour beneficial for them? Dr Bhat points out in his book that an estimated 12.6 million children under the age of 14 are working in various occupations including hazardous ones.
After going through Dr Bhat’s book I came to know that the practise of child labour is primarily found among the socio-economically weaker sections of society where people are mostly illiterate and ignorant. The rich class exploit their vulnerability while the law enforcing agency looks at the other side. The author reveals that despite employers earning handsome profits from child workers children are paid nuts. And as there is no set criteria to determine the wages of child labourers the employers are free to exploit them, and as such the children fail to satisfy the basic needs at home. The book reflects an extremely cruel social situation which engulfs socially, economically and educationally backward communities.
The author has revealed that the majority of child labourers are in the age group of 11 to 14 years. Of them 65 per cent are male child labourers and 35 per cent female. In Kashmir child labourers are mainly involved in carpet weaving and agricultural works which is the primary occupation of Kashmiri people. To eliminate this social problem of child labour from Kashmir the author has first discussed the causes and then the remedies. The book mentions that the main cause of the problem lies in the legislation itself, poor knowledge of laws, their application and existence remains by far the major problem. Many children are satisfied with their jobs because of lack of viable alternatives, especially education and functional schools. The author reveals an interesting observation that 69.5 per cent child labourers have some kind of knowledge and awareness about children’s rights including right to education, right to childhood and freedom from work. Yet they are forced to work as labourers.
To understand the problem in its right perspective, the author has brought into light the opinion of parents/guardians about child’s education without disturbing work, wage conditions. He has also incorporated the opinion of parents on abolition of child labour and alternative areas of employment. Although majority of child labourers come from illiterate parents but worryingly 26 percent child labourers come from educated families. Many parents said that crippling poverty forces them to send their children, while others said children help them in their family business be that of shawl baffi, embroidery, knitting, carpet weaving, agricultural works, and other domestic works. The book reveals that about 42 per cent parents consider labour necessary for shaping the carrier of a child, while only 28 per cent are against this belief.
The author besides providing a definitive diagnosis of the causes and consequences of child labour has also focussed on the programmes undertaken to address child labour practices. The book reveals that the first and key policy about preventing and eliminating child labour is the achievement of quality universal primary education and elimination of poverty. Successful sustainable prevention of child labour must face up to the connection between economic poverty and education. Awareness about child labour laws and a general approach of society towards curbing this menace can be helpful. The question about child labour elimination is no longer whether or even how to cease the exploitation of children—but how quickly to eradicate it.
Until and unless one comes to moral and political grips with the reality of poverty and with the divide between rich and poor, the author notes that struggle against child labour will fizzle out. One must, writes author, in other words, take holistic approach to child labour and not see it as a discrete problem that can be tackled without reference to the broader socio–economic setting in which it is rooted. The real social change takes place slowly. In one of the cases mentioned in the book the author has written about a girl of 13 years-old engaged in handicrafts for the sake of family tradition and to earn a little for daily family requirements.
This book has an interesting analysis on child labour in the traditional and transitional Kashmiri society. The study has been undertaken among child labourers in the different sectors of the economy in order to establish the phenomenon of child labour in its proper perspective. The objectives of the study have been fulfilled by projecting appropriate variables in the process of data analysis and discussion.
The most remarkable feature of this book is its extensiveness and holistic treatment. Amid a plethora of literature available on working children, this book distinguishes itself by providing a series of case studies which helps in providing a holistic picture of the problem.
* Mohsina Qureshi is graduating in Law from School of Legal Studies, Central University of Kashmir,Srinagar.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 24 Sep 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 24 Sep 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 25 Sep 2012 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM GK MAGAZINE
Srinagar, Sep 24: In a matter of grave concern for health officials in Kashmir Valley, at least 238 patients were diagnosed with cholera in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district with Public Health Authorities More
- Srinagar City
Modern education for women was a mere dream in Kashmir until the advent of Christian missionaries. Mallinson Girls School was established in AD1912. The school played an important role in the educational More
Govt Mulls To Reduce Eligibility, Enhance Retirement Age
Jammu, Sep 24: To overcome the shortage of faculty members in the Health and Medical Education Department, the state Government is contemplating to relax the eligibility criteria and enhance retirement More
- South Asia
Mirpur, Sep 24: An ambitious project to start a bus service, traveling nearly 6,500 km from Mirpur, in the Pakistan-administered Kashmir to Birmingham has been announced. Mirpur, located in the north More