I’ve been apprehending the past couple of events and I can’t help but blame myself for everything that is wrong right now. I think it’s high time that you, too, should blame yourself for it.
‘The Mistake’ is our sympathy for the poor.
I want to put it straight. Stop showing sympathy for the poor. I may sound like a shrewd woman, but I’ve got my reasons.
Let’s go back to the days when we were young. Some of us didn’t have a scooter, or even a bicycle. But today, each one of us owns a car. Big or small doesn’t matter. The point is, we all have worked hard, our parents have worked hard to give the luxuries that we have right now.
In my case, my father is a self-made man. He came from a remote village in Punjab and went on to become a prestigious banker that he is. He has earned respect and wealth in equal proportions. His father, my grandfather, also started from a scratch. He joined the army and went on to raise four wonderful kids who made him proud in the entire village.
Same goes for my mother. She has also worked hard her whole life in a job that she despises, but still works to give us a better life. Her father, my maternal grandfather, was the first one to move out of the village and went on to become a reputed government official. People still talk about his courage, wit and humanitarian deeds to date.
My point of shedding a light in my personal life is to enlighten us all that if these people have broken the norms prevailing in their societies and come out of a poverty-like life, then why can’t every poor in India do that?
I know my parents and grandparents aren’t the only ones to have written a successful saga of rags to riches. I know that in each lower middle-class, upper-middle class and the rich family, there is embedded a story that will inspire us all.
I once read about a statement given by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan about giving something for free to the poor. He said,”One should not create a situation where people do not value it”. He was talking about the food subsidies in India.
A bitter incident took place in our family last month. My cousin sister was about to get married in a month. So, obviously, everybody was making arrangements for cash because there was a huge dearth of it due to demonetization. One of our maids who had worked in our home for like almost two years took away 24,000 rupees from the cupboard. We were unable to take any action because marriage was round the corner. After the wedding, my brother took her to the police and said to her that these are the same people who used to teach your kids, provide for their education and gave a lot of free stuff to you and this is what you did! Her simple reply was, “So what?!!”. I was astonished.
This is what proves the very point Kofi Annan made during his comments on the food subsidies. If we give everything that we, otherwise, pay for, for free to the poor, they just won’t value it. They will create a kind of feeling that they are entitled to get certain things for free. And hence, we kill the very urge for them to work hard to create a better future for themselves. We always make a hue and cry over the number of poor people that are present in this country.We always blame the government over not showing enough care for the poor. But, think for once, that if our parents or grandparents would’ve gotten the same facilities for free, would they have worked hard for it?
Feed the poor. Feed the hungry. That is the kind of help that they need. But anything beyond that, will turn disastrous.
I know there are people who really need our help. Like the orphans, or the differently-abled, or the aged. But showing sympathy to the poor and simply giving them money so that their present becomes better is just not okay! Let them work hard for it! This is the very reason that begging is a CRIME in India. Do not promote this kind of behavior.
Instead, create opportunities. Opportunities that can turn their lives around. Enlighten them. Create a fire in their hearts to really work for everything that they need.
This is the only way we can stop making ‘The Mistake’.