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1. The case of 11-year old Rohit, an inmate of a remand home in the capital, who was brutally killed by an older boy at the behest of the caretakers, makes Charles Dickens’ portrayal of Oliver Twist’s orphanage look mild. The boy was tied by his feet, hung upside down from a hook and thrashed to death for helping another child escape. This gruesome incident brings to light the terrible way juvenile homes are run in this country. As a matter of fact, many children try to flee from these homes.
2. Again, there is this case of 12-year-old Arif (not his real name) from Bihar who was picked up from the railway station by the police. Arif was so desperate for freedom and so eager to get back to work that he jumped down a 14 ft. high barbed wall. But the caretakers got wind of the escape and Arif was allegedly stoned and stopped. Thereafter, he was roughed up and his legs were put in plaster.
3. In fact, escapes have become the main worry of the state government’s Social Welfare Department. 72 children fled from a remand home at Majnu-ka-Tila. Earlier, some inmates also escaped from another home in the Capital. Escapes continue to be frequent.
4. The question that needs to be asked is why do children, many of whom are destitute and abandoned, run away from ‘homes that supposedly aim to protect them?’
5. A recent visit to home revealed the reasons and filled one with anguish as well as despair. Sad little faces had one common refrain on their tiny lips: “Help me get out.” A newly admitted child bitterly wept. “Who will care for my baby brother now? We’ve no one except each other,” he sobbed. These children were barely six or seven and one or two even younger, who sat on the floor of the dark and dull ‘classrooms’ staring vacantly at blackboards filled with big numbers that were written in English. But the children spoke mostly Hindi or other regional languages.
6. In the kitchen, some children sat kneading the dough, rolling chapatis and helping the lone cook for a home of some 180 children. Those who help here may get an extra share. In another dark room, some other children fiddled with rags. This was a tailoring class. The sick-room and the dormitory with a heap of dingy bed-clothes and no bedsteads reeked with the stench.
7. Many children are unhappy here because they have nothing worthwhile to do or learn. For most of them in the 10-16 years age-group, it is a precious period when they pick up a trade as poverty forces them to work. Many juveniles picked up by the police for ‘loitering’ in railway stations and bus terminals are working children caught travelling ticketless. Some are runaways from homes and schools for failures and corporal punishments. Some are deviant juveniles. All of them are housed together.
8. Under the Juvenile Justice Act, 1987, remand homes have been set up for destitute and abandoned children who are likely to be abused and exploited. The J J Act says the homes must provide services for the physical, mental, moral and spiritual welfare of children and facilities for self-improvement. But such programmes do not exist. Instead, sources allege that pilferage from the ration of the children may not be uncommon and culture of ‘bullying’ is widespread. The children are neither given any education nor any work training to help them face life once they are freed after reaching the age of eighteen.
Para 1. 1. Behest (noun): command 2. Escape (verb): run away 3. Gruesome (adjective): causing horror 4. Juvenile (adjective): related to young people 5. Flee (verb): run away 6. Remand home (noun): a detention home for juvenile offenders
Para 2. 1. Desperate (adjective): reckless 2. Barbed (adjective): having pointed hooks 3. Roughed up (verb): to beat someone up
Para 3. 1. Frequent (adjective): occurring often 2. Inmates (noun): dwellers in a house
Para 4. 1. Destitute (adjective): lacking means of subsistence such as food, clothing, shelter, etc. 2. Abandoned (adjective): having been deserted
Para 5. 1. Revealed (verb): disclosed 2. Anguish (noun): pain 3. Despair (noun): disappointment 4. Refrain (noun): a comment or complaint that is often repeated 5. Sobbed (verb): to cry noisily 6. Barely (adverb): merely 7. Vacantly (adverb): lack of thought or intelligence
Para 6. 1. Kneading (verb): work up into dough 2. Lone (adjective): solitary, alone 3. Fiddled (verb): played 4. Rags (noun): tattered pieces of clothes 5. Dingy (adjective): shabby 6. Bedstead (noun): a framework for supporting a bed 7. Stench (noun): ill smell 8. Reeked (verb): to smell strongly and unpleasantly 9. Dormitory (noun): a room containing a number of beds and serving as communal sleeping quarters
Para 7. 1. Loitering (verb): roaming purposelessly 2. Corporal (adjective): bodily 3. Deviant (adjective): wayward and unorthodox 4. Worthwhile (adjective): advantageous
Para 8. 1. Pilferage (noun): petty theft
1. Choose the correct option:
(a) Many children are unhappy in remand homes because they have nothing …………..
(i) and are without toys (ii) worthwhile to do or learn
(iii) and are beaten (iv) and are forced to do menial jobs
(b) Remand homes are for………..
(i) poor girls (ii) poor boys
(iii) destitute and abandoned children(iv) officers to mint money
(c) The word ‘juvenile’ is used for children less than ………….. years of age.
(i) 17 (ii) 16 (iii) 18 (iv) 19
(d) In which of the books written by Charles Dickens in Oliver Twist a character?
(i) Hard Times (ii) Oliver Twist
(iii) David Copperfield (iv) A Tale of Two Cities
(e) Select the correct preposition required for in the sentence ‘The boy was thrashed …….. death’.
(i) by (ii) from (iii) of (iv) to
(f) Which word is used both as an adjective as well as a verb?
(i) desperate (ii) abandoned
(iii) anger (iv) anguish
2.Answer the following questions briefly:
(a) Why has Dickens’ portrayal of Oliver Twist been described as mild?
(b) How are children treated when they try to run away from remand homes?
(c) What prompts children to run away from remand homes?
(d) Why have remand homes been set up?
(e) Find the word used in paragraph 8 of the passage in place of ‘petty theft’.
(f) Complete the proverb ‘from rags to……………..
1.(a) ii (b) iii (c) ii (d) ii (e) iv (f) ii
2.(a) Dickens’ portrayal of Oliver Twist is described as mild because Oliver Twist was not hung upside down and beaten to death like Rohit.
(b) When children try to run away from remand homes, they are caught, beaten mercilessly and manhandled.
(c) Maltreatment and no provisions for a proper education or vocational training prompt children to run away from remand homes.
(d) Remand homes have been set-up to provide a congenial environment to destitute and abandoned children. According to J.J. Act, these homes must provide services for the physical, mental and moral welfare of these children.
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