Pre-launch Story: A Box Full of Young Lives


A Box Full of Young Lives

Kolkata Saturday, February 17, 2007

Adversity is their life-partner. Every moment of their lives is crowded with hardships. Education is not a part of their daily ritual. They live scattered among the darkest or the near-darkest areas of the city. Sunrise doesn’t bring into these areas the romance of life.

Really, how little we know! We always arrive at conclusions and definitions from the outside, and we start uttering our regular exclamations of pity and superficial compassion, believing that to be the end of our responsibilities towards the marginalized.

That is why we can think vainly of ‘Poetry’ and ‘Rhythm’ as things extraneous to the intelligence of the marginalized.

But THEY don’t. And fortunately they don’t. Otherwise our vanity would never have been punctured. We are talking about an international non-profit organization, the Daywalka Foundation. They fight trafficking of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation and work for human rights and social justice in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. They enter closed spaces like slums, red-light districts and shelter homes and light up the nooks and corners of these dark spaces with their initiatives.

Kalam: Margins Write has been a companion of these marginalized people since 2004. Kalam is a wing of the Daywalka Foundation, and a unique initiative: an initiative to elicit the creativity of disadvantaged childhoods. Kalam inspires youth to bring to the tips of their pens the rhythms that crowd their young minds. Away from the eyes of ‘all-knowing’ society, these childhoods, these youths grow up silently into writers and poets. Soon we shall be holding in our hands a poignant reflection of their hopes and fears, their dreams and dreamlessness, written by them and presented according to their sweet whims: Khola Baksho (Open Box), a Little Magazine of a very different order. In the making for months, it is a yearly magazine. The entire initiative and responsibility of bringing out this magazine rests with a group of spirited youth. Khola Baksho is filled with poems and stories in Bangla, Hindi and Urdu. It has life, it has pain, it has romance, it has joy. And above all, it has in store for a vain and arrogant public, a silent tight slap: “We can do it too!”

That is why, tomorrow’s evening, in which ‘Khola Baksho’ will be launched, is an evening of great promise.


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