I am looking for Stacia Tauscher. In fact, I have been looking for her since 02:00 hrs of 21 November 2002. If you happen to have any information about her or her work or her place and time on this planet, please, please let me know. If you have ever courted madness that lies in search with hardly any clue,

you will instantly know what I mean. That fateful premature morning, I was looking for some quotes on children. I found some good quotes; one was the following:

“We worry about what a child will be tomorrow, yet we forget that the child is already someone today” – Stacia Tauscher

Now, this is an amazingly radical quote, I told myself. I had never heard this name before so I tried to find out more about the author. It’s been over five years….

There are a couple of leads though. Some say she lived probably around the close of the 17th century. Some attribute yet another quote to her: A child is a beam of sunlight from the Infinite and the Eternal, with possibilities of virtue and vice – but as yet unstained. Apparently, the grammar of this sentence makes her a pre-twentieth century person. If correct, my mystery woman is located somewhere in these three centuries: 1700-1900. Am I getting anywhere?

Okay, let me also share with you that there is a reason in support of my madness. The ability to identify, accept, and fight for the child as an autonomous individual is by and large a modern phenomenon. What it means is that throughout history we have treated the child as an empty slate, a dough of clay to be moulded after the ideas and imagination of the adult. Recall what the mystic-maestro Kahlil Gibran said about children:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.

As a political discourse, to treat children with respect, as individuals in their own right, didn’t exist prior to the century we have just left behind. Childhood has historically been looked at as a preparatory stage ‘of becoming an adult’; a phase where vulnerability is assumed to be so high that from the parent to the priest, the state to the quack – all wanted to ‘protect’ the child. The child had no voice to claim its autonomy or individuality. It is only very recently, with the arrival of the Rights language, that we have begun to locate the child as an active subject. Sadly, till date most of us do not treat children as equals.

And then to find someone writing about children with such accurate sensibilities centuries ago should at least generate a maddening curiosity that lasts longer than five years! So here I am, looking for Stacia Tauscher and dreaming of a day when no child and no adult will have to fight for Child Rights. They will be there as our instincts or emotions. One part of me says: the day we ensure Child Rights to every child, the search for Stacia Tauscher will find its true meaning. The other part says, no, I can find out about Stacia Tauscher even before that! So… if you happen to know anything about her, please write to me at: arun.kumar@crymail.org


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