Children in a Society Hostile to Them

In its quarterly report, the Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), a frontline non-government legal aid and human rights body, reveals that at least 128 children were murdered in the first three months of this year. Another 225 children were subjected to various types of repression and violence including that of sexual. The latest annual count of homicides available was 3,830 in 2018 pointing out that even the monthly average was almost three times higher.

Irrespective of age, a murder is the worst form of violence committed against life. It is the ultimate crime a person can commit against another of his kind. Is there any difference between homicide and pedicide then? Or, put otherwise, does it carry any special significance when a child is murdered? Bringing an end to any life in cool blood can legally be viewed as a crime of the same order but the social and moral perceptions of pedicide are sure to vary.

Infanticide and pedicide are the acts committed against the budding lives that are not only unsuspecting and innocent but also unlikely to differentiate between protectors and enemies. The teenagers among them, however, start sensing who approve of or not their likes and dislikes. But the girls among them run the risk of falling victim to sexual aggression. This is corroborated by the ASK report on child murder. Of the children killed, 59 were between 13 and 18 years, 29 between seven and 12 years and 27 below six years of old. Again, of the 225 repressed children, 24 had to endure various sexual harassment and 75 were raped.

Evidently pedophilia and pedicide are closely linked and the high incidence of these makes a poor commentary on Bangladesh society. There were a few cases where parents, father and uncle murdered their children only to implicate rivals with whom they had disputes over land. Similarly in a few cases fathers were arrested for sexually violating their daughters. Incidents like these are a proof that the familial and social bonds have not only loosened, convoluted and distort, but also degraded to sacrilege.

When a society becomes hostile to babies and children who are angelic in both appearances and mental traits, it sacrifices its future at the altar of vengeance and profanity. Leo Tolstoy known for his prophetic insight made it clear that children can be wiser than their elders. People who do not love children, adore them and reconstruct social bonding in the image of the young ones fail to appreciate the basics of human relations.

Murder of unsuspecting children takes place in various ways. Right now, more than 600 Palestinian children have been killed in the hostility between Palestine and Israel. How many children on the Israeli side have lost their lives in the Hamas assault is not precisely known but it is likely to be close to the Palestinian child casualty. Yet such gruesome killings are the result of indiscriminate rocket firing, shelling, shooting and bombing. Babies and children were not specially targeted, though.

This is not the case so far as taking lives of children in Bangladesh in a normal time is concerned. In times of war, death and devastation are quite expected, although, ironically, UN conventions make civilians’ lives sacrosanct. So, in a way security of child life in Bangladesh is more at risk. It would not be an exaggeration to say that this society is perhaps one of the most hostile to children. Even newborns are stolen from hospital beds. Violence against babies and children as happens in case of mutilating them for begging purposes is yet another example of social aberration and rot. All this is mind-boggling. It exposes a diabolical trend of human psyche. This society is fast slipping into the nadir of psychic disorder.

Let children be what they are. They are the future of a nation. Treating them with care and love constitutes the essence of the building block of society.

Published link: Children in a Society Hostile to Them