Children in Narendra Modi's India

Two recent stories involving children and the anti-CAA protests may have caught your attention: an 8 year old was amongst those killed taking part in the protests; and a video of two young boys went viral - wearing BJP hats, they chant a slogan about shooting "traitors", namely protestors. (We have not linked to this video, since these children are victims too). This prompted us to look back at recent articles we tagged "children". What did we find? The nature of articles we archive means that naturally it was grim. The links are to specific examples, but there are many more.

We found many instances of children facing discrimination and violence, including sexual violence. There is often a connection to caste, community, and wider politics, such as the lockdown in Kashmir. Children in the most marginalised communities are frequently the targets of violence, such as the Dalit children murdered for defecating in the open.

Poverty is another major theme. Children are still facing malnutrition on a huge scale, and attempts to reveal or deal with this are actively hindered or punished by the Hindutva brigade. Poor children can die in large numbers in a hospital for entirely preventable reasons as a direct consequence of the actions of a pathologically arrogant and dishonest state government. Poor children are maltreated in schools, and journalists revealing this are arrested.

Children are subjected to relentless propaganda in their schools. The forces of fake nationalism are obsessed with meddling in their curriculum and their textbooks. A striking recent example of induction into a hateful adult world involved children in a Karnataka school being made to reenact the destruction of the Babri Masjid. Teachers trying to introduce some humanity and sanity into the mess, like UP headmaster Furqan Ali, are punished.

Of course, these examples are not the whole story, and nor are they a new story. But this brutalisation of young people is an important part of the narrative of new India. No, Mr. Modi, all is not well.