Going by the media reports of heightened frequency and growing number of campaigns by both government departments and voluntary groups, particularly in Karnataka, to create awareness in people at large about eschewing undesirable activities and adhering to practices leading to better quality of life, one is prompted to remark that the level of awareness about the do’s and don’ts of life is dismally low. One such campaign figuring in the columns of dailies annually is to ask smokers to say goodbye to the fag and the addicts to liquor to stay away from the heady stuff, witnessing hardly any success. As far as various rights, including those figuring in the nation’s Constitution, even those who have not entered the portals of school demanding through high-decibel sloganeering is common sight everywhere, Mysuru not exempted. Insisting on minimum wages for all in the land, irrespective of the nature of work, blared by dailies nowadays is a glaring case.
While the Legislature is doing a magnificent job of framing laws highly friendly to every specific section of society, the Executive arm of the government is yet to gear itself for the task of implementing those laws except in cases the effort brings home some tidy side income, euphemism for bribe. Anti-child labour law has been made a mockery going by the common sight of children made to earn wages by their own parents.
Even as Ministers are extolling with full-throated voice the benefits of educating the child, particularly the female child and harping on the child’s right to be educated compulsorily, the government itself is party to closure of schools in the State for the stated reason of unviable number of students per class. The issue of children dropping out of school before reaching the 10th class has been addressed in lighter vein by officially declaring that their number has come down with no guarantee that it will not rise again. Similarly, the campaigns aimed at making Karnataka open defecation-free and child marriage-free are to achieve 100 per cent success.
Mysuru recently hosted a seminar on effective implementation of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act during which it was disclosed by the State Child Rights Commission Chairperson that one in four marriages in the State involves child. The parents of children made to tie the nuptial knot have missed the message of the verse Mangalyam thanthu nanena mama jeevana hethuna …. traced to the ancient text Smruthi that the thread symbolises togetherness for living a long life of fulfilment. Creating awareness in them about that message requires finesse, which is not the government’s cup of tea.