This article was published in The Times of India Special Report, 25th December 2005.
Drug peddling is a way of life at Tikiapara, a dirty slum in Howrah. Even the children here were not spared – their parents used them to hand out packets of brown sugar to customers. But not any more.
For the first time in their lives, these children are learning to smile, thanks to Mamoon uncle, a librarian in a local school till recently. The 32-year-old good Samaritan grew up in the same slum and was exposed to the same miseries. But he successfully convinced the parents of the 400-odd children not to involve them in drug peddling. Instead, these children now attend a school run by home at his house. “I will continue to see that these children don’t get back to drug peddling and they get some education,” says Mamoon. Khoob bhalo, we say!