Child labour is a big issue in India. As per the recent reports, there are over 12 million children who end up in working because they are not able to afford their education.

Recently I had an interesting experience at our batch where around 4 young boys of around 12 years age group suddenly stopped coming. On some casual questioning from their peers I was told that they have decided to go and work in a shop where they are required to make boxes out of perforated card board.

This task fetches them around Rs 10 per hour. Thus when they go and spend around 4  to 5 hours from afternoon 3 pm till 8 pm, they manage to get 50 Rs in their pocket.

The interesting part about it is that none of these kids was compelled by anyone in their family to go and earn money. They went out of sheer curiosity of this new mode of making money and somehow they must have felt good to get pocket money which otherwise is denied to them since their parents can’t afford it.  This need for financial independence and probably the attraction of riches around them in contrast to their own state of deprived existence would always create that tension where even if no one is forcing them, they themselves may want to see their economic position improve.

Thus child labour may not  necessarily always be a resultant of coercive forces from back home. It can also arise if the child who is not able to see beyond next few months just wants to break himself free!

Anything ‘immoral’ about that?

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