Among all the hoopla about growth stories, policy discussions and Global Investment Meet etc India poor have not seem any improvement. Why? There seems to be no end to the grinding poverty and unhygienic roads that even Mahatma Gandhi spoke about decades ago. While the rich watch programs such as Sathyameva Jayathe and wring their hands and shed tears regarding social issues bogging and bugging the middle class and rich people, the poor are striving and trying to feed themselves and their kids one meal per day leave alone solve other issues.
Recently I was visiting India and saw a cruel sight. As I was walking every day I used to notice a family of construction workers cooking food every morning quite early. This was going on every day. One day this young girl belonging to this group came jumping in utter joy dancing all over the street. She was screaming with happiness saying " Mom I found food I found food I found food again and again. She had in her hand a small plastic bag thrown in the garbage and it had fist full of food in it. No more. She was so happy that you would think that she had found something so unique that no one else had found.
Tears welled up in my eyes as the mother said share it and eat with others. There was only a fist full of food so how much could she share. I had to leave urgently so I had to catch the transport and go so I could not do much them. Later in the day I went to the shops and bought the best possible rice in the Shop called Sona Massori which was costing me 36 rupees a kilo and some butter biscuits and a savory item called Cahkkuli for the kids. I went and gave it to the family. Yes I could have bought some more rice for that money. But I wanted these kids to experience the joy of eating butter biscuits and chakkuli at least once in their life. Frankly it only cost me couple of hundred rupees. With the rice I gave them they could at least have 2 meals fully.
No doubt this is one of gesture and not even a drop in the ocean. However, I do hope these people would know that there are people in this world who notice them. I do hope this gesture in a society where majority of the people either throw food or just waste it as it no one wants it, this gesture would tell those children that there is hope. There is no illusion in my mind that I have done anything to solve the problem.
However let me challenge you. Next time you are in a country like India where poor are constructing homes for the richer people do you want to walk past them as if they are not human. Will you buy the best rice to the extent you can and give them so that they can eat for at least one day fully in their life? Will you say that is their karma and swing your head on the other side and move on.
Poverty does not end only with government policies. Poverty does not end because hundreds of NGOs have projects. Poverty will end when you me and every one who is blessed with wealth and food to eat share it with one poor family so that at least one meal fully. Imagine for this family only 365 people need to spend 100 rupees for rice so that they can eat for a day.
Indians need to wake up and look around them. These people are not beggars. They work hard to build homes roads and factories etc so that rich people can use them to enjoy life. Please don't ignore them. Respect them and pay them with 100 rupees once a year so that one family cant eat one day. If you can provide food for them every day when they construct your homes. These kids deserve to be fed and educated. When a child has to enjoy sharing a food bag picked from garbage bin how can policies such as Right to Education work?
When programs such as Sathyameva Jayathe also address issues such as poverty then Indian society can change. Poor people especially the working poor deserve not just their daily wages but also your respect. I will challenge you. Do their job for a day and live their life for a day and them send comments here how you feel. Do you think this life cant happen to you? Let me say here just one accident in life or one accident of nature can send you on the path of sheer poverty. So don't be so complacent in life. Poverty can happen to you too!!!!