By Nighat Kamal Aziz
The gory pictures of little Tayyaba’s injured face and burnt hand, flashed on the TV screens all over the country, over and over again and shocked a nation which is unfortunately not so easily moved, having already seen many terrible sights. Perhaps it was the tenderness of Tayyaba’s age, the fact that a child so small was a domestic help, perhaps it was the fact that she had been working in the house of a person responsible for the protection of human rights by profession and yet she met this fate, that it caused an uproar countrywide, enough for the Chief Justice to take notice of.
The role of the media here was commendable, bringing to light the silent suffering of a helpless child. Had it been a solitary incident causing such injuries, one might have given the benefit of the doubt to her torturers. However, inquiries revealed that the child had been subjected to repeated beatings to which the healed and fresh injuries all over her body bore testament.
The story as it unfolded on TV, bought to the fore the ugly faces of the many characters involved in this case. It also showed the obnoxious temperament of some base elements in our society.
The sudden emergence of the several pairs of parents claiming that Tayyaba was their child was mind-boggling. This was a case in which the parents should have been rightfully hanging their heads in shame that they had left their child at the mercy of such cruel and heartless people who had been subjecting her to such inhuman treatment. The appearance of fake claimants who could only be gold-diggers, for want of a less decent word, just goes to show how low some people can stoop to try and extract some financial leverage from a sad situation.
After ascertaining the identity of the real parents, the media would do well to pursue the case and make sure these fake parents are rounded up and punished for blatantly lying to take advantage of the fate of a poor little girl.
The actual parents of Tayyaba should also not be spared for first of all sending their under-age daughter to work for such deadly people and then not checking up on her to find out how she was faring.
It is highly unfortunate that the poor people in our country are producing off-spring with gay abandon, least concerned about the dangerously high birthrate and the population explosion which is the root cause of all our ills. Shortage of natural recourses like water, power, electricity, illiteracy, crime, terrorism are some of the results of uncontrolled rise in population. The poor produce children calling it the will of Allah.
There is no doubt that nothing can happen without the will of Allah, but Allah has also given us a brain to use. Producing unwanted children and leaving them to grow on the streets or subjecting them to the barbarity of child labor and living off their wages is shameful and cruel. Tayyaba’s case should be an eye –opener for all and birth control should also be discussed, for all segments of society, especially for people who do not possess the means to give a decent living standard to their children.
It is difficult to imagine that monsters like Tayyaba’s employers exist in our society, apparently in the garb of normal, educated people. It is chilling to wonder what could a little girl have done so wrong to enrage her employers enough to burn and beat her, repeatedly, knowing that they could get away with it? But sometimes, the silent suffering of such an innocent soul can move heavens, as it did in Tayyaba’s case. These people do not deserve any sympathy, leniency or tolerance. They need to be paid back in their own coin.
The, an eye for an eye, needs to be applied here. Media must neither protect nor shield them. Their gory faces should be flashed on TV also so that the world sees them for what they are, so that other children do not fall in the same trap as Tayyaba. The media has done a commendable job but it needs to be taken full circle. It should not get side –tracked by other juicer stories and abandon this story before it reaches a logical conclusion. Punishment needs to be meted out to the employers and their house put on surveillance. The parents of Tayyiba need to make some explanations and must be stopped from repeating the same mistake. The false parents must be fined for their lies.
The clips of little Tayyiba playing in the safe home may be heartening , but stricter laws need to be in place and enforced for child protection if we want the smile on her innocent face to be lasting instead of a momentary. Before we move on to other issues and Tayyiba is forgotten, let us insure that her bruises have left a lasting mark on our conscience.