Children As Leverage

“Remember that one of those eight Maoists released in exchange for the abducted Malkangiri collector Vineel Krishna was A. Padma, wife of top Maoist Akkiraju Haragopal alias Ramakrishna. And she managed Aman Vedika, an orphanage run by activist and then NAC member Harsh Mander”

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Beggars realised long back that sending out children for collection made a lot of sense. The emotions that a begging child can bring out can move even the toughest of souls. The immoral afternoon tabloids and pirated book-sellers also found better use for them to sell their trash. But while the child-beggars exist across the country there are bigger beggars who do the begging in style and live a lavish life. But let’s start with some excerpts from an old article; around 24 years old. Let’s start with our original Jholawalas:

“Jholawalas exist in groups and the look on their face is earnest. A genuine jholawala must have a cause. Silent Valley, Narmada Dam, pavement dwellers—or he can’t exist. As thousands perished during Bhopal’s lethal gas leak, many jholawalas took birth. ‘They are the ones who make a difference,” said one observer. “I take my hat off to them.” Several jholawalas, in fact, first rose during the Naxalite movement in the late ‘60s. They were marked by their passion and violent activism. They got beaten up, left colleges and went underground. When they resurfaced, they could no longer adjust to society. The originals are still floating around and have given rise to hundreds of imitators, nouveau-jholawalas, who are turned on by the romance of it all but are, thankfully, spared the heat and hardship… Generally, jholawalas are big drinkers—rum and water if they’re paying for it, and anything else if someone else is… They have little of western pop: they genuinely believe that Madonna is Christ’s mom… Like other human beings, jholawalas too are vulnerable to love. The lovers probably met at a relief camp during riots or in a protest march led by Swami Agnivesh. Jholawalas in love take long walks among ruins, have a civil wedding (or simply live together) and then go for a honeymoon to more distant ruins like Mandu, near Indore”.

That was from an article in India Today about Jholawalas written in 1989 (Do read the whole article here). The article describes how the Jholawala travelled on cycles or buses and sometimes parked his car and got on to buses when people were watching. All that changed since the economy was opened up in 1991. Our Jholawalas don’t travel on cycles or buses and some of them don’t even drive their own vehicles, they travel in SUVs and Pajeros. Think of many of them: Medha Patkar, Arundhati Roy, Aruna Roy, Shabnam Hashmi, Teesta Setalvad, Harsh Mandar … Oh the list is too long. What’s common to all these commie jholas? They are all darlings of the media. They all own or are part of wealthy NGOs.

Shekhar Gupta of Indian Express reminds us of a startling fact: “Remember that one of those eight Maoists released in exchange for the abducted Malkangiri collector Vineel Krishna was A. Padma, wife of top Maoist Akkiraju Haragopal alias Ramakrishna. And she managed Aman Vedika, an orphanage run by activist and then NAC member Harsh Mander”. So, is it any surprise that some of these naxal sympathisers also concoct legislations for you from the NAC? And what does Harsh Mander do for a living? Oh you guessed it; he works for communal harmony, education of children and poverty alleviation. If only there were more Harsh Manders! Is it also any surprise why the Congress won’t seriously act against Maoists?

How does it start? Well, start off with some protests, scream at prominent spots like Jantar Mantar or Azad Maidan and voila, it turns on the tap of money that then flows like a river. And yes, almost all of them are Maoist and Naxal sympathisers. Some are also sympathisers of anti-nationals, terrorists and separatists. They create subtle terms to fool people like “moderate separatists”. Most of them also get the Magsaysay award. Take a look at the pic from the India Today article I just quoted:

Ford Foundation? Hmmm! Does that remind you of someone? Ford Foundation now offers more than scholarships. They fund a lot of NGOs and dictate the agenda and the kind of protests they are willing to support. There are many other fund managers and fund-raising brokers too. A majority of these NGOs are scamsters who exist only to make money and act as hawala channels. But the ones most milking humanity and money are the ones who are or claim to be doing work for a better life for children. Take a look at this pic:

This is an image from the Sakya School in Gaya, Bihar run by an NGO called “Sakya Sujata Children’s Welfare Trust”. I am reminded of all the Miss Indias, Miss Worlds and Miss Universes who when asked a question about their dream tell us how they would like to see all children healthy, educated, free of illness blah blah. The NGOs sort of extend those Miss Indias’ dreams by doing the work on the ground. The website of Sakya would give you a great picture of what this little NGO is doing. Let’s read what the owner told someone else (The title of the article itself is shocking “Dummy NGOs exploit charity movement in India”):

Some NGOs in India stand accused of earning a living by pretending to be a charity. A number of schools set up to help the poorest of the poor are allegedly turning out to be fakes.The building and classrooms in a school in Bodh Gaya, eastern India, may look functional, but classes are rarely held here. That is because it exists only to attract foreign tourists to donate money to the school trustees.

“If you think we’re running a business here, you’re quite right. This is how I feed myself,” admits Chandan Kumar Verma, a trustee of Sakya Sujata Children Welfare Trust. “By the way, there are other NGOs here who take money and don’t even have any facilities”… “Sounds like a pity. I’m sure there’s good work being done here, and it’s bad if good work is being ruined because other people start cheating. Then people will be more careful where they give money to, and finally end up being bad for the people,” Thor, a tourist, told RT.

Nice, eh? He’s happy to be running the business and feed himself. The RT article was written in 2011 so maybe things have changed a bit but one doesn’t know. It’s not just small groups or individuals whose heart overflows with love for children. You have mega “sugar” daddies like CocaCola who join up with the ever-loss-making NDTV to promote toilets and stuff in schools. The saints that NDTV and Coke are they then rope in celebrities like Sachin Tendulkar and Aishwarya Rai for the “nautanki” on TV. Seriously, if Coke ever had the good of children at heart they would have shut down their business. Sugared drinks are the most useless pastime for kids. The consumption of these drinks, mostly in heavy doses, lead to obesity and improper food habits. Coke wants to catch them young as they say. Build a few bathrooms, donate a few desks or furniture, plaster your logo all over these and keep your brand in the child’s head from an early age and earn their lifelong loyalty to the product. That’s the general idea.

NDTV which has often held extremely negative programmes against these sugar-drinks (pesticides and all) don’t mind if Coke brings them a few bucks. After all, it’s all for children, no? What should concern everyone is why NDTV and Coke are seeking donations from the public? Coke is a giant MNC and can easily afford to do all this without public money. This is what I have called “stylish begging” in the name of children. From Bollywood to our media to politicians, everyone wants to do something for children – With your money! And there is more to it than just your money as we shall see in the next part.
To be continued..


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