Aniket was from a very rich family, with its heritage in the village of Adpur in Gujarat. He was sent to a school in the city for the best education, where he stayed on until after post-graduation. With the fast paced life of upper-class pursuits Aniket rarely saw the ground below. One day on a visit to his village, he came across a lanky little girl. All of nine years, maybe even seven — it is difficult to tell in poorly-fed children. Falsely made up, oiled hair, nose rings and an outsized purple ribbon that stared out from behind her head — she cut a pathetic picture. She had just been sold for Rs 5,000 to a city- bred man, who was taking her with him to look after his newborn. The life he had known never indicated that there were many who lived a different life. Purple ribbon’s buyer griped that Rs 5,000 was too much, refusing to buy. The broker pleaded, “Where will she go, poor thing? Keep her as your servant, she will make your tea...” and offered to cut the price to Rs 4,500. Aniket’s stomach churned. Was this the value of a child? As he drove to the city, he felt chased by the nine-year-old’s scrubbed face framed by outsized purple ribbons. Unable to live with this memory, and seeking a solution, which he knew his gaggle of friends would not be able to provide, Aniket went back to Adpur determined to change what he had seen.
Q. Aniket went to the best schools in India and asked them if they would help. “I will support you financially, you just come to my village and open a school." But they all declined. Adpur was notorious for crime and was extremely unsafe, they pointed out. How should Aniket react?