ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Silenced and Marginalised

Voices from a Sarkari-aided School of Delhi

An attempt has been made to demonstrate the linkages between the socio-economic-cultural marginalisation of children and their educational marginalisation. This is achieved through a thick description of the living and working conditions of the children, and the interplay between the factory, residence, school, market, family and other support systems, in order to gauge the social reality of these children.

This article draws upon a talk I gave at Azim Premji University in 2013 and a series of 19 articles I did for the journal Shiksha Vimarsh. The series was entitled “Ek School Manager Ki Diary Ke Kuchh Panney” and was published between 2012 and 2016.

I write here about a government-aided school situated in the walled city of Delhi where I worked as manager from 2009 to 2014. More than 95% of the children in this school are from Muslim minority backgrounds and are either child labourers or children of labourers. This article looks at the interplay between factory, residence, school, the vicissitudes of the market, the nature of the family and other support systems in order to gauge the social reality of these children. Through these glimpses of school and classroom engagements, I seek to show how inadequate these are in raising the consciousness of the children towards their multiple identities and their status vis--vis larger society.

The mohallas (neighbourhoods) that are the subject of this article include Bara Hindu Rao, Ahata Kidara, Chimney Mill, Katra Aatma Raam, Nai Basti, Gali Ishwari Prasad, Qasabpura, Idgah, Nabi Karim and other mohallas around these. My visits to the areaalone and at times with a colleague-cum-(local)-resident-cum-alumna of the schoolhave resulted in both painful and enlivening experiences. Enlivening because I was able to meet many people and understand the area better; painful because it helped me grasp how generations of people in the area have been languishing and have gone through cycles of impoverishment. The chances of children escaping a maze of deprivation and seeking upward socio-economic mobility (vis--vis their parents) struck me starkly.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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