Little Genius’

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Child Abuse“KAROON MURTHY, THE FOUR-AND-A-HALF-YEAR-OLD WHO IS PROBABLY INDIA’S

YOUNGEST GOKARTER IN CHENNAI”

“SIX YEAR OLD BUDDHIA WINS THE MARATHON”

Such cases are becoming every day occurrences nowadays. The overly-young generation is bubbling with energy and vigour, and by virtue of their victories has become a matter of much pride and delight. They have indeed proved the saying that claims nothing is impossible.

However, at the back of my mind I always suffer from a certain doubt. Nowadays, even as cases of young genius’ invoke no surprise, the ones of child abuse cannot be forgotten either. Now, where exactly does the case of child abuse get conflated to the case of child genius’?

I remember reading from film magazines how many actresses recall their beginnings in the film industry, when they were barely beginning to understand the world, and were made to slog hard by their own parents. So acute was the case of poverty in certain families that the only way to earn their living was to drag their own children into early labour, resulting in what we understand broadly as child abuse.

Again, I try and justify such cases owing to their poverty ridden state. But the inexplicable happens when I encounter cases where the conditions are just as fine as they can be, yet the child becomes a victim of child abuse, even if it is unconsciously carried out. I have seen cases when parents aspire for their children to be the youngest in their respective batches in their education phase and get them admitted to schools at a rather early age. They may even change their age in birth certificates, and ensure that their kids are admitted to a higher batch, though they might be younger to all the other kids. Such illegalities become completely legal for them. But my question is- more than being a case of illegal admission, doesn’t it become a case of child abuse?

This is nothing but emotional torture for those kids, who have to comply to their parents’ will. They hardly get to enjoy the pleasures of early childhood. Even schools keep their early age bars as three or four years. This suggests that the child needs to be groomed according to the school syllabi from the age as early as one or two. So when does that little kid get that chance to breathe and adapt to their new world. They are literally being pushed into a crevice of emotional torture, even before they can understand their situation. When they finally understand their position they have already been hegemonised or are beyond any constructive counter action.

The biggest tragedy is that such child abuse gets unrecorded and unrecognized like various cases of say, marital rape. The responsibility lies with the guardians to recognize that thin line which lies between their aspirations for child genius and on the other hand, child abuse. It is very easy to act but difficult to asses one’s act. Much has and can be suggested to prevent this, but it is only through an increased awareness of the same, that we can save ourselves from such acts of unconscious criminality!

Arunima Chandha

http://www.flickr.com/people/luciana_nechita/

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