On Orphans and Orphanages

On Orphans and Orphanages
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The conditions in Kashmir and the general vicissitudes of life have left rendered many young children orphans. Generally speaking, being an orphan is in the nature of such a blow that it can leave children devastated and leave a negative ingress on the entire length and breadth of their lives. It is but axiomatic. Parental care and attention is in the nature of a not only an umbrella, by way of safety, security, nourishment and succor to young children but also a natural and a desirable need. If, God forbid, someone loses his or her parents, especially at a young age, the protective and nurturing shield is gone for children leaving them vulnerable to the vagaries of fate and the depredations of society. It then becomes incumbent upon those who are blessed with parents and those whom Allah has been kind to think of orphans. Parental care and attention helps children greatly materially, emotionally and even spiritually. But, once deprived of parents and their care thereof, children not only are deprived of much needed emotional and material sustenance but their prospects, in the expansive sense of the term, get dim. In fact, as is corroborated by evidence, there are unscrupulous elements that can and do take advantage of the vulnerabilities of children and exploit these in a number of ways. There then is a moral and ethical duty to take care of orphans. It also is a religious injunction too. As Muslims and as history attests, our great and noble Prophet, Hazrat Muhammad (SAW), was himself an orphan. He lost both his parents at a tender age and was largely raised by his uncle. It is our noble Prophet(SAW) who has asked us to be kind to and take care of orphans. So, by inference, if we are negligent towards orphans in our society, we are being remiss in our duties. What would our duty of care toward orphans mean, in practice? It would mean and entail not merely and only financial assistance to these children but also some degree of emotional succor. While there are many orphanages in Kashmir, we must ensure that these institutions are well taken care of; that is, the orphans are not deprived of wholesome food, clothing, shelter and heating in and during winters. This collective effort to take care of the material conditions of orphans must be complemented by measures which take care , to the extent can be, of their emotional well being. This can be done by visits to orphanages, giving gifts to these deprived children or even on festive or other occasions inviting them home for a meal and so on. Orphans are not orphans by choice but as a society , we must rise to the occasion and do our bit to make them feel wanted, desirable and accord them care and attention they need!