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Wealth, wealth everywhere but not a penny for the poor!

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by rvnachar, Jan 6, 2010.

  1. rvnachar

    rvnachar Silver IL'ite

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    (This is the original version of my article that appeared in Deccan Herald dated 5.1.2010)

    “Poverty is experienced by individuals in households, and not by districts or states or countries as a whole.” This is quoted from a talk by Ramesh Ramanathan on Poverty Pointillism. This is the conclusion of Anirudh Krishna of Duke University after a detailed study of public policy and its impact.

    How true it is! This can be felt by each one of us all around us. Our country is really very rich, as the statistics of the Forbs Magazine say. We have a sizeable number of billionaires and millionaires. In our own families we come across people who have taken giant strides and reached economic standards, which are not comparable to the standards that prevailed in their families in which they were born or bred! We can feel the stink of richness in some of the wedding parties hosted by the so-called rich people. Rich people are going crazy with the wealth that keeps on accumulating and find very innovative methods of expending their wealth.

    One of my friends attended a wedding in a business magnate’s family. She was stunned by the way money was just floundered. All the guests who went about one week ahead of the wedding date, for the Mehendi celebrations, were put up in posh 5-star hotels and provided with exclusive AC cars to chauffer them around Mumbai city. All of them were given expensive return gifts even before the wedding ceremony. The bride was flown to Paris, London and Dubai for shopping, a month before the wedding. And, don’t even ask about the kind of feasts that were hosted during the ten-days of celebration! Today, even the so-called normal weddings boast of scores of cuisines served in different stalls!

    Money getting collected in temples and churches has no limit. There is a small temple across my house. The managing trust of the temple keeps on taking up some construction activity or the other at all times in the limited space that the temple is situated on. When I commented about this, the trustee said, “We are getting a lot of funds. What are we supposed to do with the money?” When I suggested that instead of filling the space with concrete structures, why cannot the trust take up some charitable activity, the trustee replied, “as it is I am over-burdened with the responsibility of taking care of this temple. I am old and I cannot trust anybody else with such a large fund which belongs to the public.” When an obscure temple in a remote corner of the city can get this kind of money, imagine the money collected in Tirupathi, Sabarimala, Mantralaya, Guruvayur and the like, where people throng in millions.

    Just go around the popular shopping streets of any metro and you will be stunned to see the crowd. Usmaan Road in Chennai and Commercial Street in Bangalore are two streets that get overcrowded by stinking rich people, especially during festival and marriage seasons! People generously pour their wealth on clothes and jewellery. Nobody who witnesses these mad shopping-crowds will ever believe that millions of Indians sleep hungry every night, thousands of them die and millions of Indians are undernourished/malnourished and live on the streets exposed to scorching hot and biting cold weathers.

    How will children and youth who grow up in families who live in their own glass houses-huge bungalows or posh apartment complexes and visit only such posh malls, cinemas and resorts in their
    AC cars ever understand what poverty means? How will they know that life is not a bed of roses for everybody around? How true it is that societies or nations are never poor. Only individuals are. Capitalistic and consumerist attitudes promote the policy of survival of the fittest. I once heard a rich young man comment, ‘poverty is a natural phenomenon which can be fought effectively by an individual if he minds. If he chooses to remain poor, nobody can help. That is his destiny. How are others responsible for that?’

    ‘Socialism’ is slowly getting old. The Government itself has started thinking, ‘why should we supply water free of cost to anyone? Why should we subsidize any services?’ All public taps are being stealthily removed. So, the poor, who as it is have nothing to eat, cannot even get water free of cost. Yes. What right have they got to live? They chose to be poor!!

    There are hundreds of NGOs and thousands of kind-hearted souls working for the rights of the poor but all their efforts are hardly enough to take care of the millions of poor people. It is scary to read about the pathetic state of such people. A visit to any Government-run hospital is shocking. How can a cultured society live in peace when majority of its members live like dirt? How can a mature Government wash its hands off its duty towards its subjects? All the Government machinery is busy catering to the needs of the rich and powerful. Nobody has time to think of the problems of the poor. Never mind if rice costs Rs.40/- per kilo, dal costs Rs.100/- per kilo, oil costs Rs.120 to 140 per litre, vegetables and fruits cost dearly and drinking water costs something! The mighty politicians, powerful industrialists, the well-paid employees of the public and private sector and the stinking rich business people have no dearth for money! The problems of the poor are nobody’s problems! What difference does it make for an already hungry man to miss another half a meal? Only the degree varies!

    At this rate, I am afraid the word ‘poverty’ will vanish from our dictionaries, if not from our country!

    Sudha Narasimhachar


  2. ayyan

    ayyan New IL'ite

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    Dear Sudha…beating against poverty is harder, but a great act those who are doing sincerely. The basic beliefs and ultimate foolishness in our mind are the cause factors of growing the dissimilarities in the society. Money is not a creation of god,(of course we converted his material) , he has created us with enough resources, we human only made restrictions on it and we made money to make our own control over the things had been created by god. And now the ultimate foolishness!!!! We offer that same money to god for asking his grace and pleasing him!!! Again we are confused to give to which god…And nobody wants to think where the money is going afterwards…straight to god??? At least they can give it to a poor girl that they can find every corner in the world. I don’t want to say more…I will be writing more in my cosmic series….
    Liked your article…..with love….ayyan
  3. Amma15

    Amma15 Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Sudha,

    Just came across this post. What can I say? I fully agree with you. We can only lead by example and our children and students will learn and be a boon to the society they live in. They will contribute in a meaningful way.

    I too have acquaintances and relatives who live and spend the way you have described and it is disgusting. I often wonder if they ever enjoy a good night's sleep? Does not the poverty and the poor around them ever bother them?


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