Udupi, August 14, 2016: Harsh Mander, writer and social activist, on Aug 13, Saturday said that the government should increase its investment in education and healthcare so that it benefited children coming from disadvantaged sections. He was delivering a lecture on ‘Unequal childhoods – the fatal accidents of birth’ organised by the Dr. T.M.A. Pai Chair for Indian Literature, Manipal University at MGM College, Udupi.
Activist Mander said that where a child was born determined whether it would survive and for how long, whether it would be protected from violence and what kind of education it would have. Though the country had progressed, inequalities had not reduced. Children coming from disadvantaged sections faced several problems including undernourishment and homeless lives.
As long as there was child labour, there would be poverty in the country. It was the duty of the state to provide good education to the children. The Union government’s decision to provide toilets to all government schools under the Swachch Bharat programme was laudable.
But it was the maintenance of these toilets, where the problem might arise. It was possible that the teachers in these schools might ask children coming from lower classes to clean the toilets. The plight of such children among other students might well be imagined.
Delivering a lecture on ‘How contemporary media can be the voice of the voiceless’ organised by the School of Communication, writer Harsh Mander said that a communicator of the future should emphasize on compassion, empathy and care for the voiceless.
The media was now preoccupied with interests the middle class and above and had largely forgotten the poor. “The overall pattern is such that it has forced the expulsion of the poor from our conscience and consciousness,” he added.