By Pavan Kaushik
This story is of a village in Uttar Pradesh which is known for making bricks. The bricks are made from mud and several people from the nearby villages come and work in extreme conditions.
It was raining heavily and Yogi and Dharmu who work in a brick making small unit in Uttar Pradesh in Gajraula was coming back home from his daily work. Yogesh and Dharmu were quite drenched in the rains. As their house was still quite far, they decided to put-stay below a nearby tree. They saw a big tree, where many people were already hiding from the rains.
Amongst many people standing was a small boy of 8-9 years with a turban on his head which was bleeding with the colour of mud and his hands were also full of mud. His knees were swollen and his elbows also bleeding.
Yogesh asked this small boy about his condition and whether he has taken some medicine or is he going to the doctor. The child sounded a little stubborn , “I am alright and these are small wounds and i will be alright”. Dharmu was not convinced and he felt the child is in pain and is sounding brave. He started checking the wounds of the child and realized that the child must be working in a brick making factory and while lifting bricks he has got himself injured.
“How come a 8-9 year old child work like this. And how come the owner of the brick making factory employ these child labours”, Dharmu asked Yogesh, who had no certain answers. Dharmu asked the child where he was working and the child in innocence disclosed the name of the factory. It was not far away from the place Dharmu and Yogesh were working.
The rain stopped and both of them went ahead for their homes. Dharmu happened to know a social worker in his village who used to work for the welfare of children. He approached him in the night and next day, the government officials went and conducted a surprise check at the premises of this factory. Not one, the owner had engaged at least 10-12 children in work. To same a small petty amount, the owner had taken the law for a ride. The owner arrested and the children were set free. The factory was sealed.
Dharmu was quite happy and so was his friend Yogesh. While going back, Dharmu recognized the child, he was smiling and jumping. Dharmu asked his name and he said “Main Azad Hoon”. “My father now cannot force me to work. Ill go to school from next week”, he was shouting with his friends. The child name was ‘Azad’, but he rightly said, “Main Azad Hoon”.
When Vedanta Khushi campaign was launched, very little we knew how much impact it would bring in community. KHUSHI believes, sensitivity in people towards critical issues is increasing and people of all walks of society are taking steps forward for the prevention and also cure., –Pavan Kaushik, Head Corporate Communication, Vendnta Group.