Expect nothing, live frugally on surprise.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Little Hero: A boy's struggle for freedom

THE BOOK, ’The Little Hero’, tells the story of Iqbal Masih, portraying the scenario of child labour across the developing countries including Pakistan. Iqbal did not keep quiet and spearheaded the voice of exploited children and highlighted his fellow children’s miserable stories. It was the year 1995. It’s a pity that Iqbal was killed at the age of 13. However, before he was shot dead, he became the icon in fighting against child labour. Financial crunch forced him to work in a carpet industry. Hailing from Muridke town near Lahore, Pakistan, he saw the ugly picture in the carpet industry where children were being exploited for cheap and irregular wage payment, long-working hours and unhygienic working conditions. In addition, corporal punishment added further woes to the children, leaving them in a state of shock and fear. The socio-economic conditions of his fellow children awakened Iqbal and he joined the Bonded Labour Liberation Front. He fuelled inspiration amongst the enslaved children to raise their collective voice against the firms adopting oppressive norms for their workers. The noble initiative of Iqbal was recognised and praises began showering from various section of the society. Reebok conferred him with the ’Youth in Action’ in 1995 and offered him a scholarship to pursue law at Brandeis University. However, destiny had something else stored for him. Before Iqbal could do anything in life, his life was cut short. He was shot dead by the bullets of one sympathisers of the carpet industry. It is to be noted here that the concerned carpet industry had incurred heavy losses because of Iqbal’s fearless agitation for the welfare of the children. Published by Vitasta, the author Andrew Crofts lay stress on the abolition of slavery system, focussing the issues pertaining to children. Born in 1953, England-based Crofts is a known name in the world of ghostwriting. Several of his books have been of international standard and have hit the bestseller charts of the world, including England. As he writes secretly for others, it is not known exactly how many books he has credited to himself. The 238-pages ’The Little Hero’ is all set to bring the child abuse to the fore. In his writings, Crofts tries to look into the notorious attitude of factories in Pakistan. In this context, Iqbal did not try to blame the owners of the factories for the poor fate of the children. Vitasta, an Indian based publication, was founded in 2004 and publishes general books focussing on social issues, biographies, health and history. The publication house boasts of some of the best brains associated with the country’s premier institutions like IITs and IIMs, working on science, technology and management manuscripts. It represents South Asian countries and has a number of branches all over India.


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