Poverty is not an excuse
Polio is still widespread in India, and better education is needed if it is to be eradicated through immunisation, says Sanjit Bagchi
One day in January this year, I was visiting a slum in north Bengal, and I saw a beggar boy, who was almost crippled, being bitten terribly by a man. On asking neighbours, I found out that the man was the boys father, and he was biting his son as the disabled boy had earnt nothing while begging for the past three days.
The father was a drunk, and much like other residents of the slum, the boy and his mother (a maidservant in a family) were the breadwinners of the family. I gave some money to the boy and tried to become friendly with him. I found out some of his life story, much of which seemed quite sad to me.
“Im Niru. I cant move because my legs are not like yours. I cant write, as my hands are too weak to do any work. Im now 18,”