Lost Spring

The story is an excerpt from the book Lost Spring by Anees Jung. In the story, she focuses the attention on the state of abject poverty that forces young children to work under difficult circumstances and robs them of the pleasures of an innocent childhood. The narrator’s attention is drawn every morning to Saheb, a rag-picker from Seemapuri. Having known him for months, the writer asks him his name which is ‘Saheb-e-Alam’. Ironically, it means, ‘Lord of the Universe’. The writer notices innumerable children walking barefoot. One explanation she hears is that it is not poverty, but a tradition. She wonders if that is a way to explain their constant state of poverty.

The second part of the story deals with the life of Mukesh, who belongs to the family of Bangle-makers. Firozabad is best known for its glass-blowing industry. Nearly 20,000 children are engaged in this business and the law that forbids child labour is not known here. The living condition and the working environment is a woeful tale. The politicians, middlemen, policemen and bureaucrats obstruct their way of progress. The women in the household consider it as their fate and just follow the tradition. Mukesh is different from the rest of the folk there. He wants to become a mechanic.

Anees Jung gives voice to eliminate child labour by educating the children and to enforce the laws against child labour by the governments strictly. The call is to end child exploitation and let the children enjoy the days of the spring that fills their life with happiness.

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