My God is a Juvenile Delinquent
September 19, 2008

In My God Is A Juvenile Delinquent (Sainathann Communication), Ruzbeh N. Bharucha tells heart-rending stories of boys who have unknowingly committed crimes of various nature, including small thefts, breaking glass, picking fruit from someone else’s garden or even quietly roaming the roads. Today, over 30,000 such children across the country have been stamped with the rather harsh label of ‘juvenile delinquent’, locked up in special ‘homes’ and denied their freedom.

Bharucha enters the lives of these children and tells their stories, while also taking the reader through provisions of the Indian law under which such children are tried and sentenced. What he finds is that most of the ‘juvenile delinquents’ come from poor and destitute families who live in the toughest of circumstances. These children and their families are ignorant about the laws that are there to protect them as well as the ones they are accused of breaking. The life stories of young boys, whose families do not have the resources to hire lawyers, are poignant and illustrate both the acute social inequity in our country and the inadequacy of the law to protect the most vulnerable.

Some of the stories take us deep into places such as Tihar Jail — where some of the young offenders are imprisoned — to show the kind of impact these institutions have on their psyche. While the majority of the cases in the book are Delhi-based, the author does give an overview of peculiar cases from other states too.

While the book is grim and serious, Bharucha’s brilliant writing style keeps one going.

Janhavi Abhyankar

 

Copyright 2014 Ruzbeh N. Bharucha.