Slavery in India is far from being eradicated. We love to sit in our glass tower and talk about how it is just “those westerners, white-skinned ones” who enforced slavery, but with rates of human trafficking decreasing in no way, I wonder if we, at some level even fetishise or westernise our practice of trafficking.
The NCRB noted an increase in rates of child labour, trafficking, procurement for sex work [and others]. India has to spell out different laws for different types of enslavement. These figures do not include the very many under 14s who work as domestic household cleaners. Nor those hidden away in mines or tapris in Surat or New Delhi. The obvious red-light districts keeping young girls has not seen a dearth of complaints from Non Government Organisations working towards their eradication.
While the country starves, however, we still concern ourselves with the elections. Is Rahul Gandhi a better candidate than Arun Kejriwal? Is the Hindu fundamentalist Modi better than the both of them? We still seem to indulge in democratic procedures, with a belief in a better world and the potential to be ruled by rulers we are ruled to elect. We do not really have voices. They are silenced. We only believe that the muffled cries we think audible can be heard over the corporate giants’ and the international organisations’ with their happy faces and devious ways.
Only the oppressed continue to fall. It is only when the middle is moved out of their comfort zone that they raise their voices. That they protest.
But even then, it is easy to suppress, stifle it with goodies and freebies. And that new shampoo and hair-conditioner offer.