Chintu is a 9 years old rag picker who is skinny and malnourished, rambles every morning from heap to heap to collect plastic bottles and other things that can be recycled, on bare feet and tattered clothes, be it rainy or sunny a day. He finds pleasure in it for it’s a kind of work-cum-fun for him, and his friends too, for they even play during the process. Sometimes these garbages are wrapped in wonders for these children for they often find a one or two rupees coin, which makes their day. He is even admitted to the local school made available by the government working on child education and he pays his school fees through his income. Chintu misses his school very often, in his greed to collect more garbage.
Madhav is a nine year old chap who is working as an anchor in a dance reality show, he has name and fame. He is appreciated in the newspapers and television and he earns lot of money. Madhav is admitted to one of the best schools in town. He has a very busy schedule and has to miss his school for shooting. He hardly finds any time for leisure. He has no time to play and no friends either. Madhav enjoys to have his parents appreciate his work but finds it depressing that he has no time to play basketball, his favorite game.
Child labour refers to the employment of children in any work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful. This practice is considered exploitative by many international organizations. Legislations across the world prohibit child labour.
Is there any difference between Chintu and Madhav? The difference is that Chintu’s case is subjected to child labour and punishment for violating it, while Madhav is not subjected to any child labour. Are his grades, not affected by his work? Of course, they are. Both the children are being deprived of their childhood then why are there exceptions to child labour? Why do these laws do not consider all work by children as child labour? However, Chintu, to whom his work is very important, adds to the income of his big family where the only other person working is his mother while his father is sick and bed ridden. For the world his labour is a crime. On the other hand, Madhav’s labour, which is not necessarily required at his age since his family is well off, is not a crime in the eyes of the laws.
ILO, which launched the world day against child labour(anti child labour) in 2002 in order to bring attention and join efforts to fight against child labour, should rethink the definition of child labour and work into amendments of its rules and laws. All kinds of labour, depriving a child of his/her childhood should be considered.