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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A father's choice -- save child or family

Imagine the plight of a father, whose only son, a six-year-old boy, has fallen into an unused borewell, and after a couple of days of futile rescue attempts, says:
"I know my son is dead. You can't get him out. All your efforts to bring him out only resulted in destruction of my sugarcane farm. Now please don't spoil this place further. Please call off the rescue efforts, and close the borewell with my son inside." 
The six-year-old unlucky boy is Timmanna, and the incident happened on Sunday in Sulikere village of Badami taluk in Karnataka's Bagalkot. The well is on the premises of his father's sugarcane field.

Children falling into unused borewells is quite common in India. Most such accidents happen in remote villages or small towns. And not all of them become national news items, only people in that particular state or region get to know of it.

There was one celebrated case of Prince, which gripped the nation's attention. That was in July 2006. The 5-year-old boy fell into a well. He survived on biscuits and chocolates thrown to him, and after Army-led resuce operation that spanned two days, he was brought out alive. Here is an NDTV footage of it.  Prince's case was an exception. Rarely children survive.

But this is the most distressing story I have heard. Father Hanumantappa Hatti's emotional appeal is really moving. He has taken loan worth lakhs for digging borewell and also for the sugarcane cultivation. Now that his field has been dug up and crops destroyed, he can see only a dark future ahead of him -- son gone, his filed and crops too gone. The Hindu report on it.

What has driven him to this state is the extreme poverty. For the villager, who is struggling to make both ends meet, the loss of his son is just another of the misfortunes. Borewells are dug after paying huge amounts of money due to severe water shortage. Closing the well is also not easy. It costs huge amounts of money to buy the sand.

Many such people are also used to living with risks all around them. The fear of someone falling into an open borewell is not so different from many other fears they already live with daily. For him, the loss of the child is another loss life has handed over to him. Just as he has moved so far, he will hope to move on from now on too.

Borewell business is a huge unregulated one. Hopefully, the government will open its eyes and bring in some order, accountability into this business.

Let's hope that no more children lose their lives in this manner.

3 comments:

  1. Sad situation indeed! Far, far too many reports of children falling into borewells and losing their lives.

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    1. Very true, Manju... Really sad, that innocent lives are lost this way.... Makes me wonder, doesn't life have any value in our country?

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  2. Very very bad ya

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