Letter from a scheduled caste teenager
Dear National Commission for Protection of Child Rights,
I am a thirteen years old girl who used to live in the district of Damoh in Madhya Pradesh many years ago. When I was 9 years old, I ran away from home because my father beat the hell out of me for some reason. After running away, since I had nowhere to go, I happily started spending time on Nagda railway station begging for food and money. There is not much money or food in begging, but at least there was less beating. I also travelled for work to Nagpur, Ramji Mandi, Bhivani Mandi, Ujjain, Indore, and Bhopal.
During my work travels, I came across many strange men with strange behaviors and also some people who said they would take care of my food and money if I did things for them. These people later forced me to perform strange things (well at least they were strange when I was made to do them the first time) I did not like to do. (I would rather play you see. Silly me.)
At first, when they forced me to do it, it grossed me out. A man would come and shove his penis deep into my throat and I did not like it at all. I vomited a few times after that and did not want to ever do it again. But later, after getting forced to do it several times, I started getting used to it. You see, the trick I realized, was to stop resisting it. It was the only way to control my gag reflex. Now, I can easily do it twice or thrice in a day without vomiting at all!
For the past three years, I have been living on Bhopal railway station. I had made a few friends too. I used to live with these two boys Vijay and Ravi. They were both older than me and they taught me all about sex. But, one day, both of them left me, calling me a low caste hooker. I felt strange at being called that but it didn’t bother me much. I have become very adept at handling being abandoned.
A few days after Vijay and Ravi left me I got caught by this man called “Jali”. Jali specializes in kidnapping girls, torturing them, and turning them into hookers. He has done that to several girls and currently has 13-14 girls working under him.
Jali told me that coming from lower caste, and living on the station and having been forced to do explicit dirty acts already certified me as a hooker. He told me that the world might see me as a girl, but I was actually a grown woman who should pleasure men and earn him money.
We are 14 of us and none of us like too much of what we do, but it keeps us alive. A few months ago, one of the platform girls was mysteriously found dead. We all knew what she did- she either got into a bad fight with Jali, one of his vandals, or one of his clients. Either ways, none of us want to die.
Isn’t it such an irony dear commission, that after running away from my beating father, I have again come back into the hands of several men who also like to beat up? As it turns out, there is no escape from beating in general.
Anyways, I guess, I have made my story a bit too long and boring. I haven’t actually told you what I really want. It is not the rescue that I want because I have already asked the police here. They pretty much chased me away. And I understand their problem too. They don’t know what to do with me. It’s not like the city has a shelter home for me. So, I totally get the not-getting-rescued part.
But you see, the time that I get from fulfilling Jali’s commitments to his clients, I want to spend it going to a good school and studying there. This is because recently I came to know about this government scheme called RTE which guarantees that all children (regardless of who they are and where they come from) would get to go to school. Now, I know, I am thirteen, and I would be slightly older when this letter reaches you (16 maybe?), but I would still like to be considered for the scheme. I can pay my own fee unlike other children.
Also, what I really prefer would be a school near the railway station where I can go easily after work and ponder upon the complexities of mathematics and learn to write my name in English. Also, it would be very useful for me if there are a few lessons on environmental issues because these will really help me go to sleep. You see, after serving 5-6 clients a day, I just cannot fall asleep. There is also this gasping every night that I am certain is because of some unknown disease and I am sure that going to school would fix it.
Waiting to hear from you but in no hurry,
the thirteen year old scheduled caste girl who is sixteen now