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“What Will I Have To Do, To Become Like You?”: Mukul Madhav Foundation and Finolex Industries Raise Important Questions in “Baitullah”

“What Will I Have To Do, To Become Like You?”: Mukul Madhav Foundation and Finolex Industries Raise Important Questions in “Baitullah”

Everyone’s childhood is full of hopes for the future and a million dreams. Maybe you wanted to be an astronaut or a musician, maybe you wanted to be the best swimmer at school and win Olympic medals. A good childhood - good education, kind parents and teachers and friends - can be a strong foundation for the future and empowered individuals lead nations to great progress.

 

But with one in ten children working as child labourers and lakhs living in dire poverty, what hope do we have for the future? When kids’ dreams are being anyone but themselves how do we console them? The social evil of child labour is widespread and mostly unchecked. Millions of dreams have been crushed under long hours and exploitative work conditions.

 

Mukul Madhav Foundation and Finolex Industries (CSR Arm) have been dedicatedly working with underprivileged children for years and have seen the horrors of child labour up close. To bring mainstream attention to this pressing issue, the organisations came together and released their widely acclaimed short film “Baitullah”. The film explores the situation of child labourers and their position in society.

 

Baitullah poses the poignant question, what will such children have to do to become like us. Ritu Chhabria the managing trustee of Mukul Madhav Foundation shares that this question lies at the base of Mukul Madhav Foundation’s philosophy. She says, "Through this film, we ask the question that we had tackled at the beginning of our journey. It is this thought that inspired us to start working with marginalised and vulnerable children. With Baitullah, we ask our audience the same question, “How could each child enjoy the things we take for granted in our lives?”. We have set out to put things in place, one small block at a time."

 

Director Jitendra Rai does a wonderful job of capturing the emotions and distress that a child faces when he is employed as a labourer. Showcasing the message by centring the story around Baitullah - child labour - we see how child labourers are disconnected from the mainstream of childhood and are instead weighed down by poverty and pressure to provide for the family. Playing with friends and enjoying some carefree moments is a scarce privilege for them.

 

Childhood is a time when our needs and wants should be met, children should not have to beg for basic comforts and rights… Yet here we are. Baitullah inspires us to start our journey in the right direction through its raw portrayal of the reality of child labourers.

 

 

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