Why have we stopped caring for the poor?


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. 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. 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 chauffeur 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 10-days of celebration! Today, even the so-called normal weddings boast of scores of cuisines served in different stalls!

Excess funds

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 get 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 huge 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 Tirupati, Sabarimala, Mantralaya, Guruvayur and the like.

Just go around the popular shopping streets of any metro and you will be stunned to see the crowd. 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 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   ever understand what poverty means? 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 getting passe. The government itself has started thinking, “why should we
supply water free of cost to anyone? Why should we subsidise 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!

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?

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.

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