I had once gone to a child remand home, to deliver a lecture, to children who were undergoing a prison term for the crime they had committed. Most of them out there, were under eighteen. They all had innocent faces. And had you not seen them in those confines, you wouldn’t have ever believed their indulgence into, such devious affairs.
The remand home had a strength of some two hundred children. They were kept under observation. Where, they all had a strict routine. Starting right from morning prayers, to physical exercises, to a good amount of time for their studies and even recreation. It had many classes with proper benches that I could see.
The warden of the home, as a goodwill gesture took me around. I was enjoying the trip as it was the first of its kind for me. We finally walked into the class room. All the children got up as a mark of respect for the warden. It appeared, the class had been in progress for some time now, and I was the last faculty.
I spent about an hour with the children. They were indeed quite bright, and I felt quite refreshed interacting with them. Finally, the class was over when these children left for their dormitories.
But before leaving the remand home. The warden spent some time with me over a cup of tea, quite explaining the reasons for the increase in child crime rate. I was shocked when he told me the story of a child in the red shirt. His name was Ashok and he was sitting on the last bench when I was taking my class. He appeared quite healthy, tough and even mature for the age of sixteen.
He had murdered his grandfather at the age of fourteen for which he was undergoing a sentence of three years since he was not an adult when he committed the crime. But the grapevine had something else to say, which the warden narrated to me.
Ashok’s grandfather, Kewal Ram had sixteen acres of farm land with two sons. One happened to be Askok’s father Ghanshyam and the other, his uncle, Sukhram. Both Ghanshyam and Sukhram were pestering their father for quite some time now to sell off their farm land and buy a few shops in the city as they were not interested in farming. But Kewal Ram was not interested in selling his ancestral land. When, the discord reached a flash point. One night after drinks they killed their father and got Ashok to own up the crime since he was only fourteen then. Because, as a juvenile delinquent he would be out in just three years. Whereas, they would have gone in, for a full lifetime.
By Kamlesh Tripathi
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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:
NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION
Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)
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GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE
(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)
ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY
(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)
AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES
(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)
REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD
(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)
TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN
(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha
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