The Number Game of Lives: Let’s Redraw India
I have seen these numbers previously just as a statistical result. But what shakes my heart now when I look at these numbers is the fact that they define the lives, futures, careers, dreams, and hopes of millions of children of our country.
Let’s take a look-
- The 2011 census shows that less than 5% of India’s population have access to all four assets – television, computer/laptop, scooter/car and telephone/mobile phone.
- As per the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2012, 97% of all rural children between the ages of 6-14 were enrolled in school, up from hovering around 80-85% in the early 2000’s.
- Only 47 of the 100 children enrolled in Class I reach Class VIII, putting the dropout rate in primary and elementary schools at 53%.
- About 90% of children that get enrolled don’t complete school.
- It is estimated that only 5% of Indians speak English as a second language with a proficiency that equals or surpasses that of a native speaker. About 90 % population of our country don’t speak English at all.
- According to a 2011 study done by Times of India, only 12% girls in India use sanitary napkins in their menstruation days. Over 88% of women resort to shocking alternatives like unsanitised cloth, ashes and husk sand.
- According to a 2012 study done by BBC News, only 3% of India’s population have access to home internet.
- According to another 2012 study done by BBC News, 47% of the 246.6 million households have lavatories while 50% defecate in the open. The remaining 3% use public toilets. (About 76-77% of homes in the eastern states of Jharkhand, Orissa and Bihar have No toilet facilities.)
- India has 33 percent of the world’s poorest 1.2 billion people, according to a World Bank Report released in 2013. (China has been the most successful country in helping improve its people’s economic condition. Its poverty rate fell to 12 percent of the population in 2010 from 84 percent in 1981.)
There are still hundreds of other fact which can give us goosebumps anytime I have not been able to cover here. If you’re able to comprehend this article, I am sure you must be feeling by now how privileged you are!
When we involve in discussions like ‘what-is-the-future-of-our-country’, or ‘what-to-do-to-change-it’ etc, we belong to a top 5% of population who understand any of this. And I am sure you and someone in your family must have worked really hard in his/her life for you to get to this level today. So what’s next? You deserve every bit of what and where you’re today, and you deserve to be even at a better place. You can continue to work harder, and be lost in the constant struggle of earning in six-seven digits for the rest of your life. Or,
You can take a moment to think about that 95% of your country who is still dying there every day in the relentless effort of surviving.
Why should I bother?
This question has been hitting my grey matter since a long time. And it is a valid question if you also happen to ask to yourself.
I am sure life has not been easy for you too. You studied hard, passed hundreds of examinations, worked day in and day out, to reach to where you’re today. But has this been enough? Don’t you think that for you to reach those heights, someone has sacrificed in some other corner of your country?
Don’t cry for a bad government when 10 years down the timeline, you are still wishing for a safe Delhi for your daughter! Don’t mourn when someone you know dies in a terror attack someday. Don’t worry when your kids breathe in one of the most polluted environments of the earth in few years. Don’t panic if you hear the news of your relative being kidnapped, harassed, or murdered one night. I am sorry if I am sounding rude. But that’s the harsh truth! If we are not giving back to the country from what we have earned, who else will be? If we’re not bothered about our environmental, social, physical, emotional, political etc issues, who do we think should be? The government or the Gods? Is paying your bills on time enough for making this change to happen? Does paying tax suffice to be a responsible citizen? (By the way, according to various media reports, only 2 to 3% of Indians pay any income tax at all.) Your efforts are deeply appreciated, but let’s think once- are they sufficient?
What I can do?
I am sure many of us want to contribute into making this world a better place to live in. But we don’t really know what to do, where to go etc. Of so many other NGO’s, corporations, philanthropists, social workers, Teach For India is one group that is working toward the goal of bridging the education inequity gap. Join our movement to hit the problem that’s the most fundamental of all – EDUCATION INEQUITY!
Last, but not least, I am keeping this discussion open for all to suggest and contribute WHAT-CAN-I-DO to make my bit. I will be very happy to find out your solution to deal with such shocking numbers about our current reality!
Note- Please keep in mind that some of this data might not be accurate. However, I have tried my best to compare results in various sites before quoting them. (The fact that government doesn’t release any such data in frequent intervals, anywhere in some authentic website also causes such ignorance about our current reality.)
Thanks for reading till here. Any feedback, comments, suggestions are heartily welcome!