The Scourge of Poverty!

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Peer Faizan Bashir

Countless people are moribund just by the consequences of absolute poverty; the future of children is being devastated just by the same factor and there is hardly a facet of life that is left untouched by this scourge. We, in the modern era, must find solutions for the overwhelming number of people that are faced with such situation in life and are in need of help. It is both our religious and ethical duty to come forward and devise a mechanism in order to reduce the phenomenon, if not to eradicate it entirely.

The following vignette might offer a glimpse into the scourge of poverty.

A couple of days ago, we had some guests arriving at home. So, I had to go out to buy some stock from the market. It was an exhausting day and I had to stop by a bakery shop where I ordered some bread with French fries to satiate my hunger. Before I could fill my belly, a very small child with winsome eyes brimmed by tears, beautiful face thickened by grime passed by. Her gait could describe everything without uttering a word and she came closer to me seeking alms so that she could buy something to eat. I just wanted to curl up and die on seeing her talking in such a way and my hunger disappeared.

It was sure that she must have a tragic story to tell- a story that landed her in such a state of being. I gave her a 50 rupee note and after receiving it, the little girl went to others seeking alms while showing some documents. But unfortunately, they didn’t bother to listen to her and some even were rudely talking to her. On that day, I came to realize that we can’t be a civilized people and the vitals of our humanity have been hollowed out!

Whilst observing the poor child, I saw something uncanny happening. She was writing something on the wall outside. As I tried to decipher the scribbles, I found that she had scratched the wall with alphabets and lines that I couldn’t comprehend even after trying very hard.

Eventually, I went home. After serving the guests and, as my thoughts returned, I began asking myself- Who was she? Why was she begging at a very young age? Why was she inscribing something on the wall? Why people didn’t bother to listen to her? Whatever be the questions, one thing was sure that it was poverty that had brought her onto the streets with an uncanny gesture that didn’t suit her face.

Helping the poor is a practical, moral and a religious imperative. It’s very much pivotal to keep in mind that poor people are humans like us and that they are perhaps even stronger than us. Apart from the failure of our ‘welfare state’ claims, it is actually a collective failure of the society that has turned blind to the plight of hundreds and thousands of people who are living on the margins. It seems we are drained of any empathy and all that matters to us is our own wellbeing-no matter what good or bad situation our neighbor may be caught up in.

A loaf of bread, a penny or some cash may temporarily help a destitute but an organized, organic and well thought-over plan can help us reduce poverty and gradually eradicate it as well.

The author hails from Downtown Srinagar & is pursuing Graduation. Feedback at: [email protected]

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