Following my daily routine, today, when I enter in the bus to reach college, one of my friends who was eagerly waiting for me, gave me an Indian Flag Sticker which reminded me of the approaching Republic Day. With a big smile on my face I accepted it and put it in my pocket. After few minuets a Child beggar came to me in the bus at the next stop and asked me to give him some money. I thought, he is a child and he will happily accept the same Indian Flag sticker, my friend gave to me.
When I tried to pass that sticker onto him, he refused to accept it by saying “Main iska kya karunga, Paisey de do chaye pee lunga” (What use will I make of this, give me some money I’d rather have some tea). His comment hit me like a ball. I remember when my school used to take us to Republic Day celebrations. A Minister with police protected with blazing red light cars and sirens used to come and unfurl the flag and were entertained with cultural songs, dances and spoofs, as he had spared all the time to visit us.We used to get tea and snacks as part of the celebrations.
Nothing has changed. Government still celebrates Republic day and Independence day in the same way, only the budget for the same has seen an escalation. What is ironic is that the child beggar, who came to me in the bus, is not a part of any budget passed by Punjab Government. Punjab education minister, Sikander Singh Maluka is either worried to increase the number of schools in Punjab or to increase the number of teachers. Whenever he visits schools, he only visits those that are running successfully. He never visits schools with lesser numbers of students and more teachers.
Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab, S. Sukhbir Singh Badal is only concerned to provide laptops to students pursuing studies in private colleges and private schools. But neither Deputy Chief Minister, S. Sukhbir Singh Badal nor Education Minister of Punjab, S. Sikander Singh Maluka can see thousands of children begging in buses or trains daily to manage a onetime meal.
The child beggar is wasting precious time of his life but he is helpless. If he does not beg, he won’t get a onetime meal to eat. If Punjab Government can spend too much money on Republic Day Celebrations, Why don’t they work to inspire people to send their children to schools? Celebrating Republic Day or Independence Day means unfurling the flag as a custom and nothing else!