English summary – Chitralekha Gujarati issue dated 2 October 2017

How Safe Are Our Children?

In the wake of the brutal murder of Pradhyuman, a student of Haryana-based Ryan International, parents across the country are understandably concerned about the safety of their children. Despite all modern facilities like CCTV, army of ayas, cases of child abuse are steadily on the rise in schools. How can this menace be curbed? Chitralekha addresses the issue which has put a scare in the hearts of many parents. Among other things, the cover story (by Devanshu Desai -Mahesh Shah – Jwalant Chhaya) suggests that if guardians and school management close ranks and forge a protective layer, the rising incidence of crime against children may be stemmed.

What is shocking but true is the fact that a large number of perpetrators of child abuse are among the close relations of victims.  The story kicks off with an incident where a deeper probe into the suddenly changed behaviour of a child threw up the shocking findings that it was his widowed grandfather who subjected his grandson to abuse that left the victim totally devastated and withdrawn.

It is also a fact that in case of such crimes happening, it is drivers, maids, guards, conductors who are immediately put on radar. This was further reinforced by the Rayn International incident that pointed the needle of suspicion at the bus conductor Ashok who initially confessed to the crime but later retracted it, alleging excessive duress.

What is however most disturbing is that the 7 year old Pradhyuman was not murdered in a jungle or any desolate place. He was savagely killed in the toilet of a school which by no means is a secluded place. Also the Ryan International Group is a formidable education group commanding 140 schools spread across the country. How could the murder be committed in a broad day light without anyone noticing it? Curiously, the CCTV cameras fitted close by were said to be not functioning. If children are not safe in such elitist schools, imagine the plight of children studying in less privileged schools?

The story however points out that such incidents happen mainly in Delhi and Hindi speaking belts.

A Mumbai-based educationist says that the Ryan incident has definitely made them more alert to the matters pertaining to child safety. He however maintains that their school has followed the practice of hiring only women ayas and conductors, besides organizing monthly seminars to enhance awareness about the importance of child safety.

There are schools that observe Safety Week to inculcate a sense of discipline and also to ensure total safety for school children. Some also organize training sessions with their staff to highlight the safety norms and drive home the importance of the issue. Some believe that electronic gadgets play a villainous role in distracting the impressionable minds of children. Smart and tech-savvy as they are, children studying in class 5 or 6 know ins and outs of surfing and know exactly which sites will offer them what.

There is a school in Mumbai that also holds a Cyber Safety Week to educate the parents about the perils of handing over gadgets to their children at such tender age. Once a young child is hooked to this addiction, it is difficult to wean him away from it, stresses the author.

Today’s generation is smart but school authorities agree that up to class X children need to be taken care of. Management of one of the schools says that though the Ryan incident happened recently, they have for quite some time been following the practising of deputing only women help near washrooms. If a child does not report in 10 minutes after stepping out of the class, authorities are suitably alerted.

In view of the crimes against children on the rise despite modern facilities in place, it is all the more imperative for school authorities and guardians to come together to build a shield around their children.

Navratri atop the Girnar

The Shivratri fair at the foothills of Girnar is a well-known religious event for which believers from across the country throng the place. In this story, Jwalant Chhaya reveals that the beginning of Navratri coincides with pujas at various shrines on top of the Girnar.

These Navratri pujas are attended by saints as well as by the devotees who climb the mountain, most of whom climb down after 8 days when the ceremonies are over. Those who have attended these pujas on Girnar say that it is difficult to articulate their experience in words. It drives away your stress and anxieties and puts you on a different spiritual plane altogether, they say.

’93 Mumbai Blasts: ‘…And we lost him’

The horrific Mumbai blasts that killed and maimed hundreds have left deep scars on the minds of Mumbaikars. In this piece, Shyam Pathak alias Patrakar Popatlal, that famed character of most popular TV series Tarak Mehta ka Ulta Chashma relives his experience immediately after the blasts.

Shyam Pathak was worried about safety of his father for whom he had brought lunch. The sky fell on him when he learnt about his father having been injured in the blasts. Though he was released forty days after the incident, the left part of his body was severely affected.

This was followed by his ouster from the job on the ground that he was now not physically fit for the job. Paucity of money, the dismissal from job and all accompanying worries finally took heavy toll on his mental and physical health.

Shyam Pathak then tells Ketan Mistry:’…And we lost him..’

Apart from the above, the issue carries an interesting story about Gopal Sutariya who has dedicated his life to serving the cow, writes Sunil Mewada.

The story also carries regular Political & Humour columns, Palak, Cardiogram, Priyadarshini, novel’s fresh chapter, Health Helpline, Jalsaghar and Mukhwas

Ishita’s Elchi:

At the height of success, do not be arrogant, short-tempered or impatient, for a strong bird like hawk has also taught us that there is no seat in the sky..!!

Subscribe here: http://chitralekha.com/subscribe/