WHO STOLE OUR CHILDHOOD?
We are little children, who universally stand for
Skipping, playing shouting and merrymaking.
But, alas! We are forced to others’ bread baking,
Or work for the devils in starvation and torture!
We too, like yours, have thirsts to study and be officers
But, books, copies and we belong to different quarters!
Our minds still crave to jump, run, play and have fun
But, we, the fateless toilers, have a different destination!
Ah! Since the day we started to toddle and walk,
For you, the heartless, we were pushed to work.
Ah! Peace and happiness were like aliens for us,
And slavery in childhood was an irretrievable loss!
Lo! We, the little, innocent children
To the drains of child labour are blindly thrown!
We place our light little hands heavy works on,
Ah! We are the fleshy grinders from morn till dawn!
We sweep rooms, wash tables, clothes and dishes
Otherwise we cannot mitigate our gnawing hunger!
Oh! In the quarters, buildings and domes of bosses
Our untold woes are worse than the deathly danger!
May it be mills, stores, factories or warehouses,
May it be industries, building sites or farmlands,
May it be breaking stones or gigging ditches,
Everywhere it’s you who abuse our little hands!
Alas! For our Rights none utters a protest or raises concern
So that we may see our dreams bloom in our life’s garden.
What will feel, do honestly tell, if you find, o the sanest men
In our wretched places your pampered, darling little children?
Copyright: Dr. Shankar D Mishra, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India 26.03.2023
N.B. – The above poem is the English version of an original Odia poem “AAMA PILAA BELA KIE NELAA” composed by Dr. Basant Kishore Sahoo, Kusupur, Cuttack.
Image credit: Smt. Binapani Sahoo
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