Why Aren’t Children Treated with Respect in India, Asks Delhi Teen

Children in India are treated as second-class citizens. It's time they got their due, says 13-year-old Navodita Goel.

By Navodita Goel, 13, Delhi

Born in Bareilly, UP, and raised in Delhi, I have always had parents around to protect and guide me while growing up in India. Though I have travelled to many destinations abroad, it was on my visit to USA in 2016 that I first realised how differently children are treated there compared with our own country.

Whether in a shop or restaurant, working adults in India have an unconscious tendency to ignore children, and often service an adult in a queue behind us before they address us. They assume that, as kids, we will not complain, but if an adult is not given his or her service on time, they will put up a bad review or create an issue out of it.

They probably see children as a nuisance and not as the future of our country. Small shop vendors may try to trick children by giving them less money back in change, or a wrong bill.

Navodita GoelIt seemed to me that in the USA, on the other hand, children were treated as equals and given importance by all. This included teachers, security guards, shop vendors and attendants of large fast-food chains. I was pleasantly surprised to be addressed with respect by every adult there.

Children in India need to be given their due – after all, we are the ones who will lead the nation tomorrow. Our Constitution teaches us not to discriminate on the basis of gender, religion, race or caste, but what about age?

Adults think it is no big deal but discrimination against children is only harming India’s future. I strongly feel this issue must be addressed in India.

First published in eShe’s August 2019 issue

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