Saturday, October 15, 2005

Stolen Childhoods

This is a still from the documentary Stolen Childhoods about the use of child labour around the world. Some of the more egregious examples are from the Indian sub-continent [I'm tempted to speculate about why that is, but maybe I'll save that for later. One interesting related fact --- the carpet industry in India took off after Iran banned the use of child-labour in their carpet industry in the 70s]. Children like the little boy in the picture are forced to work on carpet-looms for hours a day, physically abused (beaten, chained to their looms) and denied a normal childhood.

If you find this unconscionable, the website has a whole list of suggestions for things you can do. Among them :

  • If you buy a carpet, make sure it has the RUGMARK label
  • Support Kailash Satyarthi's Bachpan Bachao Andolan ["Save Childhood Movement"] that rescues children from businesses that employ them.
  • Relatedly, if you think people at the bottom of the global economic chain don't deserve to be screwed over as much as they are at the moment, buy Fair-Trade Coffee, Rice [via Sepia Mutiny] or whatever else you consume. [Another interesting fact from the movie : coffee farmers in kenya get paid 1/40th of the price paid by the consumer in the US]

Greek Song ? Sounds South Indian to me.

I just caught the track "Greek Song" (on Launchcast, naturally) from Rufus Wainwright's album Poses. Mid-way through the song there is a bit of accompanying violin that sounded distinctly carnatic to me [here's a real audio sample]. After a few minutes of searching I find out that it is, and the violinist is Anjana Srinivasan. It's just a few bars repeated several times. Don't ask me what raagam. It works extremely well in the song --- maybe it has something to do with Wainwright's glissando-heavy style of singing. The other Indian connection on the album is Wainwright's nice cover of the Beatles' "Across The Universe" [from the era of their use of indian music] whose chorus goes "Jai Guru Deva".