Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Here’s My Two Cent’s Worth On Poverty

Interestingly Wiki describes poverty as “deprivation of common necessities that determine the quality of life, including food, clothing, shelter and safe drinking water, and may also include the deprivation of opportunities to learn, to obtain better employment to escape poverty, and/or to enjoy the respect of fellow citizens.”

Here in India, we have gotten used to it so much that poverty has become a way of life. It is truly an eye opener when one comes across people who have made it as a career. Yes! That is exactly what I have said. A Career! To be poor, is no longer blamed on one’s fate, in fact; it is looked upon as a blessing in disguise.

At one extreme end we have the destitutes who beg on the street. On a good day, they (some of them) get to make at least around 500 INR. Most of them even sport mobile phones. Networking among fellow beggars is a top priority for them. Having gotten the taste of making the money the easy way, they wouldn’t have it any other way and proudly pass on their “begging skills” to their children.

The government has literally turned a blind eye towards them. Though rudimentary facilities have been put in place to tackle this issue, ignorance and reluctance from the destitutes has made the maters worse. Spiraling numbers of destitutes has compounded the woes. The facilities meant for them are either being misused or are in ruins.

Next comes the category of people who are better off compared to the destitutes, but are woefully below the poverty line. Majority of them have a roof on their heads, occupying the lower rungs of the society. People belonging to this category have had maximum support from the government in terms of policies and schemes. But getting through corruption and red tape is their biggest hurdle, preventing them from making optimum use the existing infrastructure.

The word “poverty” is a much abused word in India, thanks to our ever enterprising politicians, whose only aim is to fatten up their bank accounts. After all, they have an illustrious reputation to be maintain, apart from their crime sheet. There is talk on poverty virtually everywhere during the elections. Promises are made; dime a dozen. When everything is done and dusted, the funds meant for the welfare of the poor gets rerouted into some politicians bank account.

I will stop ranting as there is no point. I will not even bother to offer suggestions or solutions because we need to wake up to the simple fact that there is none (I mean the practical ones). Like I said earlier, poverty has become a way of life. Nobody bothers about it anymore. With our population numbers hell bent on overtaking that of China’s, our country being the largest democracy in the world, do we still stand any chance? We are hurtling back into a black hole, at warp speed. I wish we could escape from all this. I wish I could say, “Beam me up Scotty.”

But I have dared to dream.

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