Are they the abandoned kids who were not to enter into the social and cultural life of the mainstream? Are they the deprived and depraved rookies roaming the metro side-lanes? Are they the street hawks eternal subject of contempt and menace? Well… they were. But after Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay, they are not forsaken creatures of our world anymore. And for them the maverick Nair had established a NGO in 1989 named, after the movie, which took care of their needs, medication and education. Today, around 5,000 children are enlisted to this organization – The Salaam Baalak trust.
New Delhi based hotel chain Nirula’s have recently joined hands with the Trust to have children aged from five to fifteen years bask their mural on the hotel’s Defense colony restaurant in the city. And the theme is felicitous too: “Right of the child.” The current endeavor is not the first one; four years ago, they painted the walls in theme with “Environment.” Nirula’s has also co-sponsored social activities with WWF, HelpAge India, Spastic Society of India, and Blind Relief School etc.
What amuses me after reading all this is how rest of us are sitting so idle only to harp over the misfortunes. If they can stand up, why can’t we? I ask myself, worriedly, why only the few among us are taking up the noble causes? Why only few? What would make the rest of mass stir to action?
I remember what Paulo had written in one of his books: It takes only a few people to galvanize a massive movement. He told a cavalier story. There was a scientist who went to an island. He wanted to teach monkeys how to peel a banana. However, he couldn’t do the task of teaching all the monkeys of the island at once. So he chose one of them. It took ten years to him that the monkey could first peel and then eat a banana. But afterwards all the monkeys learnt to peel bananas in less than a year. And until next year, monkeys from all over the world learnt it. Miraculously! The scientist didn’t go to each and every monkey. They learnt it themselves. The conclusion was that – if a certain number of people are taught to behave in a certain manner, the whole human race would start behaving in that manner.
It takes time, and the fixed certain number. I guess the numbers are not yet sufficient enough to gather the movement. Are you listening?