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Of Cynics and Reformists

Antishenes - founder of Cynic philosophy

Recently I had the opportunity to witness the post raid judicial proceedings of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan movement. Wait, I hope you have heard about the Bachpan Bachao Andolan?

Well, it is a movement started by an organization of the same name which is a child friendly organization of India,  working to end child labor, child trafficking and provide free education for all children, in effect since 1980. Their mission as the name suggests is to identify, liberate, rehabilitate and educate children in servitude through direct intervention, child and community participation, coalition building, consumer action, promoting ethical trade practices and mass mobilization. If you want it simple then these are the salient points- On receiving a complaint or information of unlawful employment of minors or exploitation of children, the authorities rescue those children, charge the accuse and then proceed on to rehabilitation of the rescued children through their manifold programs which begins by compensation to the amount of Rs 20000, followed by repatriation with his family and a follow up of the case after two months. Sometimes if the child is nine-ten years of age then free education is provided for as a part of long term rehabilitation. You can see the details in their site and have a better idea of their functioning, because my post is not about BBA, rather it is of another issue with the reference point or backdrop as Bachpan Bachao Andolan. It is about the many things that were running through my cynical mind as I witnessed the proceedings.

The long drawn out exposure to the country’s corruption had made my mind so cynical that I had begin to pride myself as being farsighted. Negativism always gives a false sense of farsightedness and at that moment as I sat lazily taking in everything I felt skeptical about the whole thing.

The cynical me saw glaring loopholes at their agenda. Though it did benefit those children who had been lured or kidnapped from their home, there was no guarantee of a rehabilitation of those children who were sent by their own family or for that matter those orphans and destitute who did not have a home to call their own.

The cynical me ruminated about the many ways the accused and perpetrators of the crime would get away or use the loopholes in the law to their advantage

The cynical me scorned at the measly amount of Rs 20000 as compensation. How long can you last with Rs 20000 in today’s world of inflation and sky high price rise?

The cynical me shook its head with sadness at the thought of the kids who would turn into crime or begging for survival after their loss of livelihood.

The cynical me snorted with disdain at the possibility of scandals, diversion of funds and other such activities that might happen (though I am not saying that this will happen, but the possibilities are open if history is an indicator)

The cynical me sighed at the thought that all the enthusiasm and zeal that is now present will peter out as is common after some years and the cause will be just buried under million of such files.

The cynical me though didn’t have an alternative plan of action, felt angry at the wastage of our money- the tax payers money

The cynical me was ready for a lost cause as it realized that 99 percent would remain unaffected by these means…

But the cynical me could not see what the optimist and the reformist saw.

Cynical me did not see that for a few, the 20000 rupees would be a life saver and mean much for their future.

The cynical me could not see that the children deserved a second chance

The cynical me did not believe in miracles but the rescue and rehabilitation could be a miracle to a few kids.

The cynical me was sure that errant parents could never see sense, but the cynical me could not see there was a slim chance that at least a percentage of parents and employers could be reformed.

The cynical me saw it fail in ninety nine percent of the cases, but it could not understand the significance of the one percent of success. It did not register in my cynical mind that figures always start with 1, 2 …and then build up to 100.

The cynical me was unimpressed with the minuscule figure of one percentage success rate, but it could not realize that for the one percent, that was their second chance to freedom and better future and maybe a life to call their own. For the one percent it was everything.

The cynical me could not realize what the reformist realized- that even a one percent deserved a second chance and all help possible.

The cynical me could not till then comprehend what the reformist were trying to convey -that being a cynic occasionally is fine to maintain a healthy balance in the social system, but if we all remained cynical 100 percent of the time then the 99 percent failure rate will never come down to 95 – 90 -85 … and all cause would go to waste. Or may be The cynic in me finally realized that?

Democracy maybe about majority, but a minority has the right to survival too. Sometimes I wish, I really wish we were not that cynical…

0 25 July, 2011 Wicked Brew July 25, 2011

About the author

She is a Doctor by profession , working in Delhi. Loves traveling, mind games and playing with words… And also the chief-co brewer of GingerChai. She is the chief brewer of some of the interesting categories you see in GingerChai. Follow @manishalsam

View all articles by Mani Padma


  1. Prateek

    Thought dwelling in this topic was stentorian. But what made this post striking? It were the two Cynical me, one diabolic and other defying to intercept the notion of diabolic me. Awesome. Awesome. 😛

  2. Anney

    Mani, that was so true…so much being done that our cynical minds wish to dismiss and not digest. It was thought provoking.

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