Originally posted in March, 2013, I am re-publishing this post again. Why? Because India is supposed to be the world’s largest democracy.
Yet, how can it be considered a democracy when a form of labour slavery is still condoned? For example, check out the CNN video to hear about its form of bonded labour slavery. (Note that it takes a few seconds for the video to load.)
I felt sick to my stomach when I watched that video and read the accompanying CNN article. (H/T Jack’s Newswatch.) Think about it. Children as young as three having to work the brick kilns. Locked in. Trapped. The parents made prisoners because of a trumped-up debt they don’t know when will be paid off.
As the CNN article states:
“Bonded labor in India is the most prevalent form of slavery in the world today. It was declared illegal in India in 1976 but persists. A vast majority of India’s workers scrape together a meager living through informal, unregulated work contracts, making them more susceptible to unsafe working environments and exploitation.”
Of course, there is the elephant in the room and that is the now outlawed caste system. Think about it. Your whole life is affected by the luck of your birth and where on the social system your parents are placed.
Yes, far too many Canadians are born into poor and disadvantaged families. However, through access to labour because of freedom of movement, student loans and education opportunities and/or access to bank capital to start a business, all of us can rise above the luck of our birth. Is it easy? More often than not, the answer is no. But, the possibilities are always there.
Oh, I know, some will say our First Nation citizens are in the same position as the untouchables of India but that simply is not true. Reserve leadership and Aboriginals themselves, make choices. In fact, many reserves are wildly successful (e.g., the Osoyoos Band which has a winery, a hotel and spa and many other businesses as well), as are some Aboriginals like Clarence Louie, the Chief of Osoyoos.
With respect to the unfortunate slaves of India, let’s hope this latest exposure will bring about some kind of lasting social change in India.