Listen to the cry of silent victims

Silent Victims by Aditi Tandon (Spectrum, May 7) was very moving. Domestic child labour is a form of modern slavery. The freedom of the worker is curtailed and there is restricted communication with friends and family. There should be a total ban on the employment of children as domestic workers.

They cannot organise themselves as they work isolated from one another and under the supervision of employers. They work long hours at menial tasks, without social and employment security, wage raises, paid leave or medical facilities. The Workman’s Compensation Act of 1923, The Weekly Holiday Act of 1942, The Provision of Minimum Wages Act of 1948, The Maternity Benefit Act of 1961, The Personal Injury Act of 1963 and The Gratuity Act of 1978 do not cover domestic workers. They are also not protected by The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act of 1986. Policies of the government and the efforts of NGOs have failed to eradicate child domestic labour. Any effort to withdraw a child from work without providing him with an alternative source of income is bound to fail.

The Don Bosco Centre has started a children’s home for such children in Chandigarh. Father Sebastian, Director, Don Bosco Centre, has taken the first step towards eradicating child domestic labour.


S.D. KALIA, Chandigarh


Even after 50 years of Independence, crores of people are living below the poverty line. Will those at the helm of affairs ever see their condition and think of ameliorating their lot? Zara bazm-e-ishrat sey baahir to aao/ Tujhey bhee dikhaaen jo ham dekhtey hain.

While corrupt politicians and their self-seeking kith and kin wallow in ill-gotten wealth and pamper themselves with needless luxuries, poor people, despite sweating blood, cannot prevent privation. At an age when they should be going to school, children living in penury, are forced to work as bonded labourers or pick rags from filthy dumps or do menial jobs in hotels and houses of rich people.

The wretched plight of young women and girls can be better imagined than explained. Many of them have to undergo the trauma of being sexually exploited or mercilessly beaten by unscrupulous employers. Alas. Jab tak insaan kee jeib khaali hai / zindagi ik ghaleez gaali hai (Till the pocket of a person is empty, life is like a filthy abuse). What fruits of freedom these ill-starred people have got? One wonders.


On temple trail

This refers to A.J. Philip’s compendium of useful information “On the temple trail” (Spectrum, May 21). The exhaustive account of all prominent temples of the country was interesting.

That one of the temples described has a scene from the Bible depicted on its wall reveals the secular character of the temples, which are generally associated with Hinduism. Besides, their grandeur and glory are admirable and unparalleled as they are a marvellous work of art, modelling, design, painting, characterisation, sculpting, architecture and craft.

God cannot be confined to temples as he is omnipresent. As the writer said, faith can move mountains, it is the faith in God that works wonders and propels them to flock to temples to pay obeisance and seek blessings.

A visit to temples gives peace of mind and contentment.


Wah, Naushad!

This is with reference to M. L. Dhawan's “Naushad Ali, the greatest” (Spectrum, May 14). Naushad Ali transformed the Indian film music by introducing dignity, class and refinement. Steeped in the knowledge of traditional north Indian music and having a profound understanding of Urdu poetry, he composed music with variety.

For Mehboob Khan’s Andaaz, his music was a reflection of the era’s cosmopolitan cuture. For Vijay Bhatt’s Baiju Bawara, he used traditional ragas to compose heart-melting devotional music. And for K. Asif’s Mughal-e-Azam, it would have been difficult to infuse awe and majesty to Emperor Akbar’s darbar without the glorious compositions of Naushad Ali.

Naushad composed a song entitled Mohe bhool gaye saanwariya but music lovers are not going to forget him for all times to come. 

K. J. S. AHLUWALIA, Amritsar

The art of showing off

This has reference to “The art of showing off” by Khushwant Singh (Saturday Extra, March 11). It is very true that those who show off, brag and display false appearances or exhibit affected styles are readily accepted by the so-called civilised society. Those who are good and honest at heart never show off themselves.

Religious rites are also exploited as a means of hypocrisy. Some people show off themselves to be very punctual in prayer services, and other religious penances but they don’t lift a finger to help their neighbours; instead they devise means to harass them. The Holy Bible describes such hypocrites as “ravening wolves in sheep’s clothing”.

The Holy Koran also condemns those who pray that they may be seen of men. It says: “Woe to those who pray. But are unmindful of their prayer. They like only to be seen of men and withhold legal alms.”

Poets of Bhakti Movement are often quoted as condemning or despising religious rites. Saint Kabir is the most quoted one. Actually he condemned those who carried out religious rites with hypocritical motives. Guru Nanak Dev Ji, too, condemned religious hypocrites.



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