Coconut Seller

Posted on January 9, 2008
Filed Under >Pervaiz Munir Alvi, Education, Society
19 Comments
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Pervaiz Munir Alvi

Traveling on the GT road some where near Hassan Abdal we pulled into this filling station. The tank was almost empty and had to be refilled. A moment later this child appeared at the car window. A beautiful child who could not be more than twelve years old. His face was devoid of any sign of cheerfulness that is generally associated with children of his age. While the car was being filled I decided to have a short conversation with this child. I asked him why he was not in school. His answer was simple. He does not go to school. “Why’ I asked again. “He does not” he repeated his answer and walked away from the car window and stood against the hedge looking the other way. That is when I took this snapping.

This child is no way unique. There are millions of small children in Pakistan like him that do not go to school and spend their day working at tea stalls, bicycle repair shops, as petty hawkers, cleaning boys and the job list goes on. I am posting this picture here on ATP to shake our collective conscience with the same question: Why this child does not go to school?

Is it that his parents do not want him to be educated? Is it that they can not afford for his education? Is it that there is no school near where he lives? What are the reasons that this child does not go to school? Almost all of my Pakistani well-off friends and relatives are forever ready to tell me how wonderfully their children are doing in school. I hear this endless talk about O level and A level. But how many of us, including myself are concerned about these children of lesser god. We could blame the government, system, politicians, mullahs, feudal lords and so forth and so on till we are blue in the face. But my question is that what we have done lately for these unfortunate children except exploiting their poverty and the system by employing them as domestic servants. I am not trying to single them out but from his book ‘Indus Journey’ I got tired of reading how Imran Khan went to Atchison College and Oxford to play cricket. How ‘Daughter of the East’ Benazir Bhutto went to Harvard and Oxford. When are we going to send this twelve years old coconut seller to school?

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19 responses to “Coconut Seller”

  1. I need Coconut for Iran . Please send me inf. about your product specifications and your price list.

  2. Actually we can blame our society and government also becuase we have no educational system in pakistan for the poor people.

    Secondly the parents who should have to think about their children and dont let them to work during their early stage, they don’t think the long term benefit that may be this child after completing education can serve his/her family as well as society in more professional way. They only think about the short term benefit for few rupees and paisas, where that child lost his/her talent as well as good and happy life.

  3. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:

    Some of the readers here have chosen to scold me personally for various reasons. I will not get into mud wrestling with them and response in the same wane but will like to bring all of us back to the main point and intent of this post. We all know that half of our people can not read and write. We also know that our governments, provincial and national, are not doing enough to educate the masses. So question is: are we individually or collectively going to step up to the plate and do our part or are we are going to continue to complain about the situation like we do all the time. How many more six years old should be denied the basic right to education. How many more twelve years old should be relegated to selling coconut at the gas stations. How many more eighteen years old should become suicide bombers. In year 2007 there were fifty cases of suicide bombing in Pakistan. How many cases of suicide bombing are enough in year 2008.

  4. Dr. Haider says:

    I can not believe that on this blog there are such arrogant people like you who could ask such a question to a young 12 year old boy. Not only you asked the question to this kid but you were so arrogant that you did not even realize for what you have done and kept on taking his photo and writing a blog about it. I fell like you were even enjoying his misery. Shame on you….You have sickened me and probably most of the readers who read this post.

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