Saturday, April 13, 2013

Speech of Manu Sharma, Read by Dr. Prachi Vashishta

Dear friends,


                      “I would like to thank everyone gathered here today to help us in this noble cause and on behalf of all the children who are part of the trust’s family, especially Justice N K Sodhi Ji, Raj Babbar Ji, Jimmy, Yogeshwar , Shilpa,   all my elders present here , esteemed guests,  my  family  and friends for taking out time and coming here for supporting us and the  children.

I have spent 11 years in prison and in these years of incarceration I saw the harsh realities and challenges that life throws at you, I saw the people in jail suffer physically and mentally and felt very sorry for them and for myself.   Bound in a drift less abyss, stagnant I thought to myself that nothing in life could be worse than this, facing another day just like all the others as it comes and just getting by. But all this changed, the day I realized that the people in jail are not the real sufferers, the real sufferers are the children of inmates in jail. What these children go through is many a time worse than what inmates in jail have to go through.

And the reason for it is that, as soon as the bread winner of a family goes to jail, the children’s lives suddenly turn upside down, their eyes start searching for their fathers but soon stop and instead start searching for the next meal as they don’t know where it is going to come from. Their families and friends they so cherished till a day a go, desert them and do not want anything to do with them, the children in the colony refuse to play with them, they are shunned and discarded by all.

In the life of these children, as time passes the name calling and stares of peers stop affecting them, as extreme poverty takes over, Most of these children drop out of school and their lives begin to drift in the wrong direction; Stigma along with poverty makes life very difficult. These are the children we have gathered here to help today.

Over the years I have become something of a voracious reader in prison and have come across thousands of articles and books which talk about the humane treatment of prisoners, their safety, their clothing, eating, hygiene, medical treatment even dignity. We find many charters and declarations of human rights, National & International laws and manuals dedicated to describing the rights of prisoners. But surprisingly I am yet to come across any law, charter, or manual which prescribes or outlines the rights of these children. I found nothing that ensures the basic tenants in life for these children not even like food shelter or education.

One agrees that the People  in jail or  the prisoners, may have made a mistake in their lives or fallen for the  wrong calling in life but what is the fault of these innocent children, they have done nothing wrong , they haven’t harmed any one. As their parents and in some cases both their parents languish in jail they fail to understand their mistake. The irony of the situation is that they will never know their mistake as they have committed none.


These children are the real destitutes of our society and without education these children are destined to a life of doom and will grow up to be bitter not just toward society but with themselves too, which is not good for children or for our future generation. It is our collective responsibility to fend for these children and give them a shot at life; I have pledged to do whatever is in my power to help as many of these children as possible and to make them stand on their feet with their heads held high.

As of date we are helping more than 450 such children but this is just the tip of the iceberg, because in Delhi itself at least two to three thousand more children need such help and this problem is not confined to Delhi alone, it is a pan India problem and we need to take care of all these children where ever they may be, I am pledged to do my best, but I know that I alone cannot do it ,I need the help of all the well-meaning people present here today and many more outside ,I therefore entreat you to please join us in this noble and much needed cause, in whatever way you can, either by donating your time for these children, by buying a paintings, donating study material or uniforms or by adopting one of these beautiful souls, it is up to you, but please do help. I seek your help on behalf of all these children and their parents who are behind bars. So please find place for these children in your lives and hearts, if a difference has to be made in their lives then our effort has to be a sustained, continuous & relentless.

In the words of the children

 “Giving is a beautiful thing, so please give & we shall give you our love our blessing and our hearts”.

In the end I again extend my gratitude to all who have come to extend their support to me & these beautiful children.


Thank you very much,

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