“Is poverty a state of mind
Every other day the newspapers
of Asian developing countries read “More than 500 farmers commit suicide. Whole
communities survive eating mango kernels only to die of poisoning by the same.
Hunger drives humans to eat rats. Father sells daughter for meager amount” No,
this is not the X-files. These are common headlines in the national dailies of
these countries. and….I pause to think…Is poverty really a state of heart and
mind? I strongly disagree!! When confronted with such overwhelming proof, the
truth about poverty can definitely not be consigned to philosophical or
I wonder if the rich have seen the sunken
listless eyes of a child who has had not a morsel for weeks or the haunted helplessness
of a poor man lying on a hospital floor. What greatness can be expected of
them? What richness of mind and heart are they expected to demonstrate? It is
only with a full stomach, warmth of a roof over their heads and clothes on
their body that noble thoughts and poetry are born of those lucky to have
these. Because, it takes a happy man to be kind and a satiated man to be
philosophical. It is not easy for a man to rise whose qualities are thwarted by
poverty. And as Khalil Gibran points
out “poverty is a veil that obscures the face of greatness”.
Poverty is a punishment for a
crime you didn’t commit. How else is it justified that:-
Half the world – nearly three billion people
-- live on less than two dollars a day.
The GDP of the poorest 48
nations is less than the wealth of the world''s three richest people
In India during 1999-2000, approximately 26 crore people were
reported to be living below the poverty line
Consequently, 30% children
are born underweight and 60% of expectant mothers are anemic in India.
Malnutrition is responsible for more than 2/3rd of
all under 5
deaths and India, Bangladesh and Pakistan together are homes to ½ of the world’s malnutritioned
children. 64% of world polio cases are in India. 5 lakh people die of tuberculosis in India every year. The list goes on and on, strung together
by a common thread-poverty. A simple analysis of data shows that these malaises
are much reduced or absent in all rich nations.
It is true that poverty makes a good subject
for poems, songs and stories. But in reality, there is no poetry, music or
happy ending in the lives of people who live it. You may have a rich mind and
an overflowing heart. But if that is not supported by food, clothes and shelter
for self and family, it may well be like a diamond. But one that is shorn of
it’s brightness.- buried in the dust and squalor of that insurmountable
Thus, as poverty dances it’s
macabre dance of death over those cursed by it, expect not from me any richness
of mind or generosity of heart till I have a fullness of stomach!!