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Will any one give them a 21 gun salute? I mean I know that soldiers are sacrificing their lives to protect me from other humans. Mean, greedy, unreasonable humans. And I respect and appreciate them, and what they are doing for civilians like me.
But there are a whole different group of people who are also protecting me. Protecting me from the cold wind, hot sun, rain and the terrible elements of weather and strange animals. Yes, I am talking about construction labourers, plumbers, tile workers, painters etc. They also help protect me from all sorts of bad elements.
In India the construction labourers sacrifice their lives so that people like me can have affordable housing. Maybe not all die immediately (like fall off the bamboo scaffolding) . But with all the dust, fumes and sparks that come out of cement powders, drills and welding machines… and these people are not given adequate protection. Yes, I would assume that they will have shorter life spans than the average civilian.
And more than that- they are sacrificing their children’s future. This is not something that the average military person has to do. But construction laborers move from one construction site to the next every few months. So if their children live with them, then the children have to move with them. And hence their children are guaranteed not to get any school education.
Doorstep school in Pune is a NGO that is trying to do something about this problem. They set up temporary sheds at construction sites or send buses to safely shelter the kids while the parents are busy working. And they attempt to give them some education. Perhaps it is not a full-fledged school, but is a much better place to leave the kids than a construction site.
With their pay scales they are guaranteed not to be able to afford to live in the type of homes they build. No, their homes are to be made of corrugated sheets, or in unfinished buildings, full of dust from cement bags, nails strewing the ground. ... You would know what I mean if you have ever visited a building construction site. Their young toddlers, imitating their parents by trying to hammer with a stone, or carrying things on their heads.
The apparent reason for their low pay scales is so that people like me, can afford comfortable housing. I wonder what type of housing I would be living in, if these labourers demanded salaries as high as software engineers- similar to what happens in USA? Of course, there is some problem in this logic. For people in countries like USA do live in homes. And somehow they are affordable in spite of the high salaries of construction labourers.
Yes these people protect me, and my friends and perhaps even you.
Yet who gives them a 21 gun salute?
Swati Shome and her random thoughts.