I remember watching the much-acclaimed film Slumdog Millionaire and thinking about whether something like that could really happen. The story of Mohammad Manan Ansari could very well be made into a film.
At the age of six, when kids are going to school, Manan was sent to work in a mica mine in the district of Koderma, which is one of the poorest in the state of Jharkhand. Because of the conditions that they lived in, most children from his village worked in the mines.
In 2007, an activist with the NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan, Govinda Prasad Khanal, rescued him from these mines. That was the turning point for him.
Since being rescued, Manan has spoken at various conferences, reiterating the dangers for children to be working in these mines.
Speaking at the Trust Women Conference in London in 2014, he says, “You have to go almost 400 feet below the surface to collect the mica. You never know whether you will come back up alive. Each moment you spend down there is dangerous. One mistake and you can lose your hand.”
He also went on to speak about his ordeal at the International Labour Conference in Geneva on the World Day Against Child Labour.
When he turned 10, he was sent to Bal Ashram in Viratnagar, a rehabilitation centre near Jaipur. He then started helping other kids come out of the mines to pursue a life outside.
With hard work and dedication, Manan completed his Bachelor’s degree in Life Sciences from the Delhi University. In a report to The Times of India, he said, “My interest lies in forensic science. I have applied to some colleges in India and abroad.” And I am hoping to get admission offer letter from some prestigious institutes.”
Manan hopes to get admission in a prestigious institution. Here’s hoping that he continues his crusade against child labour and reaches greater heights.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)