Slum Dog kids to campaign for Congress, Jai Ho !!

Azhar and Rubina, both about 10 years old apparently have been asked to campaign for the congress party in the forthcoming elections. Plans are being worked out now. From everyone complaining about Slumdog Millionaire because it show cases poverty in slums, to our Parliament congratulating the film makers and the Media circus taking off on the new found celebrities, our attitude to the film has been entirely schizophrenic.
Of course the kid’s lives can never be the same, and provided their eduction does not suffer, why not ? Why should anyone’s life not be bettered if it can.
But to use them at this age for electioneering ?? Congress has bought the rights to the song Jai Ho for the current elections too. So watch for Azhar and Rubina on trucks with loudspeakers blaring Jai Ho !!

42 thoughts on “Slum Dog kids to campaign for Congress, Jai Ho !!

  1. Shekhar,
    this is so true…my fear is that these kids would be taken advantage of, & then thrown away when they won’t be needed any longer! This world can be really brutal!

  2. Its all about exploitation in the name of money making. PArents, political parties, step parents, neighbours, wat not. First it was Anandi and what her parents are doing (allegedly) to milk more and more money out of her. Now its the SD kids. So when people refer to India as a young country- maybe they mean ‘young’ = below 10yrs? Foolish Mee! I thought it refereed to young people like us!!
    If betterment means money and more money then yea sure this is way to go!

  3. Just this noon I started watching this movie. I liked the way it ended….destiny it is written. Wow what a movie. But to use these kids for politics sounds ridiculous. I wish and pray that these kids are not brought into this. I wish some NGO bring an issue against this.

  4. I wonder how low can politics stoop…
    These children their suffering really made no sense in the true senses to anyone all these years…
    and now they are used as a marketing item…
    Shame on these politicians…
    They will destroy the mental balance of these kids…
    I wonder would they do the same, if they were their own kids?
    Silly Bastards
    Sorry I could not help being foul

  5. thats how politics work,like there was Joe the plumber in usa during election. ever politician wants to be a saviour of poor and needy during thing i am sure of they will use these kids and then ….

  6. Poor children! No doubt they will earn some money from it but what will be the impact on their psyches if they get overused if not outrightly abused in the process which they definitely will be? After all lower down they will be in the hands of the not-so-sophisticated election compaign handlers.

  7. We know how the system is full of corrupt and dishonest people, to save their ?????? they will go to any extent. Poor kids, hope they are not dumped after the politicians’ purpose is served. OR, may be they are being exploited by their over greedy parents for some paltry sum. Everyone knows how Azaharuddin got bashing from his father after his return from LA. Hope they will have a better future than the kid who played in Salaam Bombay, heard he is plying an auto in Mumbai.

  8. Dear Shekhar,
    I was myself 10+ in 1987 when suddenly my life changed.Unlike these kids who are enjoying at the moment I was forced to leave people who I was very attached to as a child and go live among people who couldn’t even understand my language.
    The only impact I have seen till date is a negative one.I became extraordinarily sensitive. Almost a misfit in the general populace. My health deteriorated and till date I have to come to terms with it.Yes if the immense pain I went through not only while I was away but because of the way my life changed forever ever betters my life(which I think it will) then I might come to reconcile with life otherwise this doesn’t seem to be my world,my universe.
    Betterment in a constant linear or exponential curve is anyday better but I can understand that high-jumpers have to lower themself before making the final effort. I believe high jumpers of life are destined beyond their conscious effort thats why their lives are played with by the same destiny when they are still children.
    As one philosopher likes putting it “more a sling is stretched farther the stone goes”.Only it shouldn’t be stretched to the breakage point.But that destiny would know.
    Secondly I sincerely believe sustainable repercusionless betterment cannot be at the stake of the society or hurting someone.
    mangal ho,

  9. Some wiseman said”schizophrenia and mysticism swim in the same ocean while schizophrenia drowns mysticism swims through”.

  10. Did these politicians forget that these children were in slums earlier also ? Let these children enjoy Disney Land. Children should know – In this Political Land, our politicians are no-where near the Mickey/Donald/Goofy or Snow-white.
    People who had complained against the Film earlier, should wake up now and act against the “Innocence getting abused”.

  11. !!! Congress is acting like a drunken fool!
    Somehow all the cracks that people seem to be making about them keeps escaping their notice.
    But this gimic will probably work well for them. especially if they go to rural areas playing jai ho and these kids rallying the people or whatever.

  12. This is really sad…feel bad for the children…wish they werent used like this…what about children’s right and exploitation of them?? what is the Congress thinking?? didnt expect this from them..goes to prove politics is a dirty game..anything goes..

  13. Dear Harijim,
    I can relate to your experience.
    I too was forced to leave people to whom I was very attached. It happened to me at the age of 28. I had already given birth to two children.
    Because my husband changed his job, we had to leave our home town to go and live in a village
    some 80 miles away. It took me 3 years to get acquainted there and I had to make a U-turn to adapt myself.
    My children, 8 months and one and a half, did not have these adaptation problems, they were too young. For them this new town became their home town.
    Yet when they were in their teens, we had to move
    again because my husband got another job in another town with the same company but it was a law within that company that we had to move to that town in which my husband had his job.
    Now my children had to leave everyone and everything they were attached to. Me, already having had the experience of adapting, was convinced I would survive, because in the meantime I had come to the conclusion that wherever I would go I would take myself with me.
    But my children were still too young to realize this. They had a rough time and there was not so much I could do about this other than being there for them and giving them my love and understanding.
    My husband living for his job at that time and me trying to keep our household and everything within balance.
    I believe that up till now my children still suffer from the decision my husband and me took during that period.
    They went through uncertainties and adaptation problems that even I as a mother could not coop with in that time.
    Yet they both survived, found the man and woman of their heart respectively, both having a family with their own kids now and getting to realize more and more what being a parent really means.
    Every One receives the experiences in life that are important for that particular One to learn lessons from.
    Remember, you are always taking yourself with you, wherever you go. It is the most important lesson to learn in my humble view.
    Much love, Mieke

  14. Hey Shekhar! Thank you by the way for bringing all such things to our notice…admire your sensitivity and well admire your blog and the way you write and how socially conscious you are…just becos of you today you know made a small effort at water conservation…your holi post set it off…used the same water to wash all vegetables and then watered plants with it…i know small drop in a huge ocean..but just wanted to say you at least set me thinking in that direction and that is what is so awesome about you and your posts..

  15. Hi sir,
    I have heard about your upcoming project related to water. I want to submit a poem for that. How can I do so? Thanks

  16. Hello Shekhar, I have not been here for some time. I read about these children being exploited politically, and I was upset about this-as they are being used as: “political-pawns.” The children are being exploited to provide a political stance; and in my view; politics exploiting children in this way; is a new low in politics. I do like to see the issue of poverty made visible – however, using children to do an adult job seems very careless about the childrens well-being and mental/emotional stability.
    Hi Mieke – been a long time since I seen you too.

  17. One part of me says, oh no, they’re children.
    The pragmatic part says, with all this hullabaloo, hardly a “normal” childhood. (If there is such a thing.) If they make some money when they can- build up a corpus for the day when the limelight will no longer focus on them- why not? Aint lo, pel lo. Those poltis will atleast feed them two square meals a day. These are tough kids, they’ve seen life in shades we can’t comprehend-all this natak is not going to last- they should do all right. So I hope.
    Mieke- Thank you.

  18. Shekhar,
    On a completely unconnected note you immediately came to my mind when I saw this absolutely stunning video. I recollect you mentioned somewhere about how media convergence will impact movie watching experience and talked of mobile phones being the movie projectors etc.
    Have a look at this invention below and you will be amazed –
    I am willing to bet on the possibility here that the movie (minority report) inspired this product.
    Sorry I could not find any post where this could go up.

  19. Hi Donna,
    Yes you may say that again 🙂
    How are you?
    At the end of last year I got a severe virus on my laptop (a Trojan Horse) and it managed to destroy all the programs and information I had on my hard disk. Luckily I had made a dvd copy of the factory settings so was able to reinstall the operating system on it.
    But I lost all my email addresses including yours.
    So I sent you a postcard 🙂
    How are things, you must be excited for Lee’s graduation day?
    Much love from

  20. Shekhar,
    Surely is another low. But the questions I would ask here would be:
    If I am the prime contender today, knowing my people demographic and our challenges what would I do to attract their attention? Knowing very well
    – A larger part of my voters constitute the ‘new middle class’ on whom mainstream media machinery is a huge influence.
    – We have an aware and ‘hungry for change’ urban/middle town crowd who are looking for signs of a fresh leadership,real issue based choices to me made on performance,governance and accountability.
    – We have the larger part of the country for whom the ‘roti,kapada, makaan and infrastructure’ are still the ground level issues to tackle.
    – I need to differentiate myself from other parties which if I try hard at doing through policies and issues will not go far. Simply because there is a genuine absence of thought leadership.
    Above all, I have an election that we saw recently in the US which was won on the basis stirring up ‘Hope’ – a strong emotion. What lessons can I take from that?How do I move my people emotionally to make a choice in my favour?I know India reacts to emotion more than anything else.

  21. What would not be surprising is if the Congress offered ministerial positions to the kids’ parents in return for using them. The UPA was probably public enemy #1 so far, and now we have another disastrous bunch of buffoons getting ready to rule India under the so-called Third Front. It is a wonder that India has gotten along for so many years under such leaders..goes to emphasize the existence of destiny.
    Vote for BJP.

  22. Thanks Mieke,
    I’m sure you can relate to me.The only difference is I was 10 and about 3000 miles away and all alone.With my native food not available and my mother tounge not understandable by people around me.No telephones with long distance calls (let alone mobiles) available to talk to my mother when I needed badly.At that time it was like going to another planet among aliens and not knowing what to do.There were days I would weep the whole day thru.My mom has a funny collection of some 80 odd letters I wrote to her at that age.
    Although everything was for good old education and detached decisions taken for the betterment Shekhar talks about.But it was almost my family’s Vietnam war.Too much emotional turmoil and expenditure and too little to convince of returns.
    In retrospect, I have nothing against anybody because I know all that was done was done in my best interests.

  23. I don’t know how long vote bank politics will go on for muslims. I don’t know what good has happened to them by congress. (they even changed the constitution for Shah Bano case)The clear message to bring those muslim kids is vote banks politics. Looking back to this trend of congress has only made muslims more backward, alienating, illiterate, bigoted and a pariah in main stream society. Although it’s impossible to bring them in mainstream because they want to study Arabic, they want follows Arabic culture rather Indian. It’s high time they do some soul-searching both congress and the pariah.

  24. The RSS has to be defeated. It is the plant that gives CYANIDE-FRUITS. Anything is fair in love and war., especially when one has to fight a demon as wily as the RSS. Though i do not appreciate kids campaigning for the Congress (has it come to this ! Alas !!)., it is okay. Anything is okay to stop mass-murderers like Modi and Advani in the tracks. This is a fight to preserve the “SOUL” of India.

  25. Its indeed very sad how our politicians behave. Are they getting in advertising business by encashing the popular or are they actually wanting to do some good for us. They are rightly ridiculed for what they are for they can never change themselves. How can they ever change our nation? Hats off to them for being so concerned “about themselves”

  26. Harshad Patel,
    Is that what they are teaching you at the madrasa these days? Well, let me tell you, it’s a lot of misinformation. Fanatics like you will brand anything other than your viral beliefs as communal.

  27. Brinda and Prakash Karat are desperate for ministerial positions because the missionary positions are out of reach.

  28. Sad news, but honestly what is the point in blaming the Congress?. It is the public that buys this crap and so they dole it out. This is after-all democracy. Really, when one sees stuff like this one has to admit that democracy is a double-edged sword. Systematically in the last 2 decades we have dumbed down every institution that was standing. Everything has been bollywoodized. The elections and the parliament were the last standing bastions and the election process has fallen, now I am just waiting for news that Rakhi Sawant shall perform in the opening session of the new parliament to confirm the final fall of the last bastion of sense!
    P.S While we are at it. I would also like to register a strong sense of disgust at the likes of Sanjay Dutt being paraded as a candidate. But then Phoolan Devi became an MP so what can one say. In our country it benefits more to be infamous than merely be famous.

  29. @38. Ritu – Rakhi Sawant thing was a gem :-).LOL.
    Sanjay Dutt, another joke indeed. Politics is a branch off career for fading stars anyways.I suspect Govinda would have coaxed him into it for some action in real life too.Not one of them has a view on matters of National policy. Sanjay will most likely win on the back of ‘Gandhigiri’ if he gets to contest. Like I have always said we are an emotional lot. Rationale and merit are limited to the schools exams.

  30. Slum dog is a film which is a real propaganda. They changed the questions just to insult india’s cultural values.Protagonist’s name was Ram mohammed thomas in the original book and it became ‘jamaal maalik’ in the film and questions became real propaganda. If someone want to get people hate their cultural symbols ,they have to put it in the wrong light. This is what exactly happened in slum dog’s case. When a jamaal has to answer a question about rama, he remember the riot thing and seeing the arrow and bow in the hands of little rama who has hatred in his eyes. Next is that nobody would sing that kabir das poem again because it has shown with such gory, obscene scenes that anybody who has seen the movie can be upset if they exposed to that song,again. This kind of propaganda lines are many in the film. When the driver kicks the child, the child shouts’ if you wana see real india, this is it”. Then danny boyle propagates the loving mentality of americans by showing that americans even forgive the theives and are very kind. Jamaal knows who is benchamnin franklin but he has just heard about ‘Mahathma gandhi’.[he tells that in a ‘insult’ tone]. Some of minister has watched the film and told to the media that slum dog explored the business possibilities of the slums….ha ha…..pathetic..pathetic….I

  31. it is totally satirical film on indian system.this is a real mirror of indian society.this film shows the picture of poor and deserted country india.this film will play an important role in making aware about this indian situation to indian ruler.this film has shown the true and real picture to the world.

  32. Vaishak,
    Some points you make are quite true. There are several subliminal injections in that crappy movie that seem to have been targeted to please the western audience, and the low-esteemed Indians have also fallen for it. Many of such pseudos are the real beggars of India.

  33. You are right! The Election Commission should do something about it and spell out that children should not be used for campaigning by any political party. When these children are too young to know the importance and the pros-cons of the issues these parties are talking about, then why should they be used to win votes for them???
    Moreover, it is only fair that those of voting age be involved in campaigning since they are ‘supposed’ to know good from bad and right from wrong better than children.
    I wonder whether the people who are out to further their own ambitions at the cost of these children having a normal life have any clue about what kind of mess they would be pushing them into.
    I was aghast to see the kids walking the ramp at a fashion show… Imagine them coming from the slums and wearing those totally over-praised and overpriced clothes! It feels revolting… One feels like shouting ‘Spare them! Let them be…’ But they just want to cash in on the Slumdog craze while it lasts and I guess nothing else matters for them.

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