There is a famous glass and bangle industries named as Suhag Nagari at Firozabad in Uttar Pradesh which is situated towards the road between Agra and Kanpur at a distance of 35 KM from the Taj City Agra. Here businessmen earn trillions of rupees annually in bangles and various articles of glass. At Firozabad, about 1 thousand factories of glass bangles and works are registered. But about half of them smuggle raw materials and about half of them are such as run other factories in place of the registered one. The work of glass works of Firozabad is spreading over on area of 45 km. around the city. So here about 5 lakh adult labourers are connected with these industries.In these glass industries, no factory acts are observed. False registers of laborers are prepared. The laborers are given Dihari. They are always made to work from 9 to 14 hours. They are not given even the facilities of Medicine, insurance, fund, Bonus, residence but there are such bad conditions of work as made about 90 % labourers patient of T.B. & Asthma. Among these labourers there are about 60 thousands such labourers as are known as child labourers and they are between 6 and 14 years of age. They do not go to primary schools. They have to listen abusive language of their Masters. They are wasting their life for five to 15 rupees a day. In this way they are making their life useless and helpless.These children can be seen working before furnace of 1200° C to 1800° C and the suffocating atmosphere of the closed room. Here neither any district officer, District Magistrate nor any representative of any political parties or any leader or minister of state, actor, Lawyer, Journalist – that is, from the wise men to the guardians of these children-have no worry about them. These people do not know what they are doing. They do not know whether these children should do labour or not.
This was in 1991 when a well – educated person named Dilip Sevarthi started a movement against child slavery and started to hold meetings among adult labourers for their awakening about their exploitation.
This Man sounded a single handed for emancipation of child slavery and later on he connected the friends of his student life to this Movement because this person had already completed his post-graduate education. But this person had a great anger in his heart at the condition of child labour, which pinched his heart. So this man started writing in news papers for the awakening of the public. After this Mr. Sevarthi set up his organization and he began cycle rallies, corner meetings, of religious representatives in glass industry at Firozabad and in every meetings began to draw a picture of present condition of child labour and began to refer to the act of 1986 for the elimination of child labour and referred to the sections 39,41,19,24 etc. of the Indian constitution. He told that the labour affected from children was against the laws. Meanwhile, Mr. Sevarthi opened two schools with his own efforts with the help of his associates. He opened one school village at Navada in Makkhanpur and the other at village Bajhera Khurd. These schools were totally meant for the children liberated from child labour. Mr. Sevarthi had taken monetary help from his companions to set up these schools and started charging Rs.20/- per guardian of children. Thus these schools were started and the number of children increased in these schools by and by but in beginning, only 20 or 30 children joined this school.He got only the moral support of Bonded Labour Liberation Front but no money. At last the schools opened by Dilip Sevarthi were handed over to the Vikas Sansthan, a voluntary organization of which Sevarthi has now been made the Chairperson.After this Mr. Sevarthi began to organize the people to the best of his efforts and started four sided activities with the idea of child slavery. The first was to awaken the guardians of child labourers and other was to create among the children attraction towards education, the third was to observe Dharna and Corner Meetings at the gates of Factory owners and started awakening rallies among the guardians with various competitions among Meetings for Public instruction and foot Marches etc. were swiftly arranged. The third was to make a great protest against District Administration, Labour Department and Indian Govt. and observed Dharna, Gherao (Seize) at the offices of District Magistrate, and Labour Department for the abolition of child labour. The fourth was to move the intellectuals at meetings and to inform them about the exploitation of their children and asked them make efforts for their freedom along with the press Media was fully utilized and he put this question to other organization while going among them the question was raised among the political parties also. He pressed upon the leaders of political parties to speak on this subject of child slavery in their election meetings. In the mean time the government also began to pay attention to child labourers with these efforts along with several social organizations.The factories where child labourers are working have raided many a time by Administrative officers and Department in which child labourers were found. This caused a great fear among the factory owners. Along with this in Firozabad glass and bangle works through foot marches, cycle rallies awakening was spread from time to time. Gherao of all the officers from commissionary and the District officers concerned was made for the elimination of child slavery and demand was made for the enforcement of Laws relating to child labourers. In the mean while, in December 1996 the honorable Supreme Court of India ordered in case (M.C. Mehta vs. Tamil Nadu Government) that the children should be at once removed from dangerous works and where such children are found working, then 20 thousand rupees per child be panelized from factory owners and 5 thousand per head from government in order to make a “child fund” in which such money should be deposited. This should be spent on the education of children and an atmosphere for their education should be created. Even after this decision, Firozabad administration was not active and it did not take any action. Then Mr. Dilip Sevarthi started his fast unto death at the office of the District Magistrate on 18th Feb., 1997 and this information was given to all the departments that neither the government nor the administration is anything in accordance with the Judgement of the honorable supreme court and until the Judgement of the court is put into action, I shall go on fast unto death. On the 30th January Sevarthi was honored with National Red & White Bravery award of 1996. This led to his fame in society. On 18th Feb. thousands of children, men and women seated with Mr. Sevarthi on the stage for fast after even lodging him with garlands and assured him of full co-operation. No person from the administration came. All of a sudden in the night of 19th Feb. a fatal attack was made on the life of Sevarthi, Child labour and their guardians in which Sevarthi was badly injured. This attack was made by the Police Force at the instance of Mr. N.K. Paliwal, then the A.D.M. of Firozabad. In this case, National Human Rights Commission in its inquiry found that in the case of Sevarthi, senior officers of the District Mr. B.K. Gupta, the District magistrate, C.M.O. and superintendent of Police were involved. After this a report against Sevarthi was registered under section 147, 332, 323, 352, 504 etc. for this reason Mr. Sevarthi had to live in Jail for a week and later on Sevarthi was released on bail with the help of his well-wishers. Along with Mr. Sevarthi several workers were also hurt. As soon as Sevarthi came out of the Jail he was welcome with flowers and garlands by the Parents of labourers, children and workers of other social organization and promised him their full cooperation. The Moral support of Mr. Sevarthi was raised higher to lead forward the fight against child slavery and other labourers.On 10th March, Sevarthi came to Firozabad and he called upon the adult laborers to completely close down the factories of Firozabad and decided to observe Dharna again at the office of the District Magistrate. At that time there was no safety of the life of Mr. Sevarthi except the help of God-since on the one side there was Industrial class, Factory owners, and on the other side the whole of District Administration wanted to take his life.Upon the call of Sevarthi all the factories of Firozabad remained closed on 10th March. The market was also partly closed and thousands of child laborers, their guardians and adult laborers gathered around the office of the District magistrate, in spite of the great force of District posted by the District Magistrate, the public down the barricading near the office. In the end, Sevarthi advised the people in him address to them to keep restraint and a memorandum in the name of the Prime Minister was given. Witnessing the existing conditions and pathetic situations of child labour in Firozabad and Agra districts, Mr. Sevarthi came forward to establish the organization, which can work for the betterment of child labour, and to restore their dignity as the citizens of the country with the approach of modern social work. This way the organization came in existence.
Vikas Sansthan is Voluntary Organization registered under Society Registration act. XXI of 1860 and it has also certificate for the income tax exemption under the 80G. Vikas Sansthan has also registered under foreign contribution Regulation Act. No. 136430029 issued by the Ministry of Home affairs, Government of India, New Delhi. The objective of the society is to work for the deprived children, Child labour and the poorest section of the people who have been denied of their human justice and rights as citizens of the society. The focus has been mainly child labour and parents of the child labour in the Firozabad and Agra Districts and U.P. state as a whole.
Vikas Sansthan is a voluntary Organization working on child’s right, raid and rescue operation for the children bondage in the various industries such as Glass, bangle, Agriculture work and carpet industry of Agra. The main aim of the organization has been prevention and protection of the children and rural people against injustice, exploitation, corruption and creating better society in the area. In the district like Agra lakhs of people are exploited due to the lack of illiteracy and unemployment and poverty whose condition are miserable .The main source of their livelihood are the small land farming and the daily wages especially for the back ward sections of the people in the community. The founder chairperson of the Vikas Sansthan Mr. Dilip Sevarthi was appointed National Convener of Campaign for Women and Child Rights in 1995. He started working independently for protection of Child Rights. Mr. Sevarthi received the Red and White Bravery Award in 1996 by Modi Group, Bombay, Best Citizen of India Awarded in 1999 by International Publishing house, New Delhi, and Prembhai Purashakar by U.P. Voluntary Action Network Lucknow in 2000.
Social action needs commitment which gushes forth from the personal values of the social activist. In Shri Dilip Sevarthi, we have a person who practices the values he holds dear to his heart. As a mark of rejecting the caste system, which is the root cause of many social evils in Indian society, he took a deliberate decision to inter- caste marriage. Another irreversible decision taken was not to have own offspring from the marriage and instead of this to adopt a girl child ,who was named Shakti Sevarthi- a symbol of power over selfish and exalted desire to have a one’s own progeny. This single resolve speaks volumes about the saintly virtues of Dilip Sevarthi, who is held as an icon by the community he serves with his wife Sarita Ji. While this resolve emanates from the idea not to add one more being to the already over populated world, it cuts the very roots of selfishness, and sends a message to the community that even a girl child can be a preferred choice if gender equity is a value.
This ideal way of personal life also gets reflected in dedicating entire life to the cause of eliminating child trafficking, child labour which involves exploitation of children by means of transporting them to different places and compelling them to work against their wishes, thereby depriving them of their natural setting necessary for their physical and mental development. This phenomenon of child trafficking brought a turning point in Dilip Sevathi’s life and he realized that the children forced by their own parents to go to work in glass and carpet and brick kiln industries was a clear case of Child trafficking.