I belong to a small village area and working in a metropolitan city. While traveling to and faro to my parental home during weekends, I have to come across the few metro stations. On the station which falls on the end, I usually saw many baggers- young boys and girls; a few women (abled and disabled both). The bagging seems to be such a routine work for all the passer-by that the level of pleading hardly makes any difference to many of them. They seldom end up by donating a few coins or at times just with small currency notes.
The baggers are also nowhere behind in trying the newest way out to showcase their agony to the highest level and successfully fetching the maximum amount from the maximum number of people. Even at times, I saw the same boy lying with a bandage wrapped all over his head along with an old age lady, posing as if he had some head injuries and with no medical option he is lying unconsciously while his mother is pleading for help from the passing by people. The irony is that even after a month the scenario with them remained the same!
One day while passing through the place along with my six-year-old son, my eyes stopped at the little infant sleeping in the womb of his mother (I assume). And the infant was too young that If I can predict- his age would be not more than 10 days. That scene took me to a deep sense of pain and agony, along with the hate for the parents who for the sake of which hell give him a birth! For one instance, everyone will say-Oh No! but on the very next I thought that why the lady needs to beg food for the baby. A mother has enough of her own milk to feed the child. Then, why she is on street? Being a mother, I can truly understand the whole biological phenomenon.
I halted for some time and stared at the lady. I felt that possibly she was not the mother of the infant. She was urging for mercy from people by saying- “sahib bccha bhukha hai, Thoda paisa de do”. (Sir, the child is the empty stomach, please help with money). Literally, my mind went out of order and I asked her, “Why can’t you feed the child on your own? You must be lactating and you need not ask for the money here on the street. Take the child home”. My voice was full of grudge for the woman. On hearing my words, she pretended as if she has not heard anything. Another lady stopped nearby; intervened by not to question the less fortunate people while giving her a note of 10 rupees. I bet the lady must have narrated the episode at her home, citing as a tale of her kind-heartedness.
How could I be so ignorant? Knowing the fact that we all must have observed infants. How long they sleep? 2-3 hours for 3-4 times a day? And as they grew that sleeping internals get shorten.
Honestly, I must have forgotten the instance and would have merged back to my normal routine life but the repeated questioning of my child compelled me to dig deeper to learn more about that. Instance-wise, I called up one of my old social science professors who at one time was associated as Director, Women and Child development, social welfare department; in a different city. I enquired him over similar such episodes and a shocking fact occurred to him. He told me that the organized gangs handling the baggers bring the infants especially for the purpose of bagging. Such infants are either stolen or discarded child of the poorest families. The women carrying them in lap are hardly their mother. They are just carrying the infant in their respective working hours. And the thing which breaks me into two pieces is- They inject drugs or alcohol to enforce sleep for hours in the child!!!
The tiny and delicate body of the infant cannot bear the shock of drug or alcohol and hence, they keep sleeping for hours without disturbing the woman in her business! Even at times, they die with the shock! But the lady will keep carrying the dead child while on her defined ‘working hours’! And the next day there will be another child to be on board.
As a civilized person, what is your say? Do you think that you are actually helping the ill fate mother and child or are you inducing him towards death by helping her with the money? I stand nowhere to conclude the episode and that’s why I am completely leaving it on the discretion of readers and the educated mass of India. Just ending up with a heart- filled with sorrow for the little messengers of God, children on street.
Ms. Minakshi Sehrawat