This film made me think…

So I watched this movie, Poorna by Rahul Bose which released lately this year. A film, rather an incredible life story of Telangana’s Poorna Malavath, who became the youngest girl to climb Mount Everest at the tender age of 13. Belonging to a tribal family in the district of Nizamabad, Poorna dodges her fate of an early marriage and finds her calling in mountaineering. No, I’m not really up for a movie review here but definitely highlight few points shown in the movie which caught my eyes.

Apart from the child marriage issue, it’s the school canteen issue which was highlighted at the first place. We generally ignore such issue saying there are many other issues in India to deal with when it comes to children but I would say these little issues which goes unnoticed every now and then are one of major reasons behind the health problems of children studying in government schools. The school canteens provides sub-standard food which badly effects the health of a child. It lacks nutrition, the low quality ingredients used in the food are largely responsible for many deadly diseases. Sometimes they suffer from malnutrition. The lack of proper food in the initial age can make a child very weak and they lose interest in studies.

Very recently a leading website published a news that a dead snake was found floating in the mid-day meal served to students of a government-run school in Haryana. That particular week 27 children fell ill in Bihar after they ate the mid-day meal in which a dead lizard was found. Clearly, there’s something very foul in the kitchens of most government-run schools of our country. There have been several cases where students had to consume poor quality food. India still faces major crisis of this kind. Higher expenditure on MDM (midday meal scheme)- like kerela government spends an approximate rs. 8 per day on every student, proper delegation of duties- the entire system should be full of checks and balance. It helps in lowering the chances of lapses, strict monitoring at all levels- the taste of food and financial ability to work successfully. And the defaulters are punished. I feel proud to add a point here that Kerela is the most successful state when it comes to providing the best quality food to the students. They have set an example in the country by showing how it is to be done. Hope other states learn a bit from them and take it very seriously. Because, proper nutrition and good health is important for the children and their better future.

Now coming to the another issue highlighted in the movie, the schools should always encourage students for extra curricular activities. Not every student wants to be a doctor, or an engineer, or lawyer. Not everyone is interested in books and wants to become a writer. They should be treated nicely and there should be counselling sessions in schools where students can talk to their mentors, teachers turned friends without any fear and share what they have in their mind, what interests them. Painting, photography, adventure, drama, music, dance and there are many other things. You never know what hidden talent they have. It’s the responsibility of a school to bring out the God-gifted talent a child has. It’s not always about syllabus and exams.

I have never been a so called ‘topper’ or a ‘good’ student and that didn’t stop me from being successful in life. Today I am a happy person because I’m doing what I always wanted to. They should start focusing on the other side too! A correctly done counselling can make a lot of difference in a child’s life. Now the last issue, one of the most talked issues in India is child marriage. A lot of articles have been written, a lot of protests are done across the country but no. It didn’t stop. People still prefer marriage over education. People talk about it on social media and forget eventually. There’s nothing new to talk about it. Every possible thing has been spoken before by almost every people coming from different fields. Here I am talking about it once again because I watched the film ‘Poorna’ very recently where the elder sister (her cousin) was forced to get married when she tried to run away from home to chase her dreams. She was five months pregnant when she came back home for few days. She was more ambitious than poorna and have always encouraged her to leave home as her family wanted her little sister to get married too. Child marriage is definitely a big issue, with that early pregnancy too. The movie highlighted the later one. It brings a lot of complications if a woman’s body is not ready for it.

In the film, Poorna’s cousin Priya expired because of early pregnancy. One of her twin babies also couldn’t survive because of jaundice. Here all I can say or make a point is a girl child should always been taught that the sky is the limit! I am neither a hardcore feminist nor against of marriage but my only point is marriage or motherhood can wait, education cannot. A proper education, right perspective can make a lot of difference. And there’s always a right age for marriage and family planning is important too because health should never be ignored.

Feels great to see CRY – Child Rights and You has taken it seriously and is working on it. People have joined hands with CRY for this initiative including me. Hope such inspiring movies and initiatives by organisations like CRY can spread the awareness. I am looking forward to a positive change.

We all can do our bit.

Manali Basu, Independent Blogger 

(The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CRY)

Leave a Reply