“My name is Ravi. I think I am between 12 and 13 years old. One day a man came to my village, he paid my parents 500 rupees and they said I had to go with the man to work in a loom. I was made to sit at a loom and told to weave the carpet to a mark that the loom owner made. If I was unable to do so, I had to work under candlelight to reach the mark. Because I was made to work late night hours, I would never be able to sleep adequately in the night. We were made to live in a very confined space and had to work 12 hours a day with only one meal and one bathroom break.
Each time I a got cut on my finger, I would go up to my boss’ wife and say, “Look, I’ve got a wound on my finger. Can you give me some ointment?” Instead, she would take kerosene and put it on the wound and strike a match to it. That would hurt terribly. The wound would not heal, and we were made to go back and resume weaving again. Very often, because the wound was in raw condition, the blood would start oozing out of my finger. But we could not stop. With the blood running down my finger I was made to weave. Only when it became so bad that I could not possibly weave anymore, would I stop. And the moment I did stop, I was beaten up.
I would think of running away. But the thought of running away would always be followed with the fear of getting caught. I was rescued in a raid operation conducted by Dajna Kurooji, a person who works in the Bal Vikas Ashram. He came in a raid and picked me up from there and took me to the ashram.”
Ravi was taken and given medical care at Bal Vikas Ashram. He was given counselling, literacy training and basic rights education. There, he discovered his love for electricity, which he is learning a little bit about. He wishes to teach his brothers and sisters when he goes back home.
With thanks to Anti-Slavery Usable Past Project, University of Hull: www.usablepast.ac.uk