Published: 28th February 2018
Lack of education keeps children in firecracker industry, says ex-IAS officer
Retired IAS officer Christodas Gandhi added that children were kept from getting a good education to prevent them from questioning or changing the existent social hierarchy
"Lack of education is the biggest problem plaguing the children of workers in the firecracker industries in Sivakasi," said retired IAS officer, Christodas Gandhi, while addressing students of Nazareth College of Arts and Science, Avadi in Chennai at an event on social issues on Tuesday.
The day-long event titled 'Tapestry - Owes and lapses in social issues' held at the Chennai-based college saw Gandhi speak in depth about the importance of education to change the social hierarchy. Gandhi urged future social workers not to stop "providing ointments for sores caused by the chemicals" and look deeply at why labourers' are kept from climbing up the social ladder. He also mentioned how most labourers belong to the Scheduled Castes.
Christodas Gandhi went on to accuse the owners of the industries of preventing these children from accessing education. "If the next generation is educated, they (industrialists) know they won't have any cheap labour to continue their businesses," he said.
Accusing the industry of engaging in "namesake" corporate social responsibility campaigns, Gandhi argued that if the owners were really concerned for the welfare of their workers, they would make available open schools with free education for their children.
"Social workers should teach labourers the importance of fighting marginalisation with education," said Gandhi. Murali, the director of Cholai, an activist group against child labour who also spoke at the event. Echoing Christodas Gandhi's words he said the role of social workers was to teach the hungry how to fish and not give them fish to eat.