Poverty anywhere is a threat to prosperity everywhere

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Shahid Majeed

Human beings stand on the sentinel of living organisms in the world. They possess diversified qualities and have subsequent diverse needs to fulfill the requirements for a worthy life. Broadly the physical and spiritual needs can be segregated. All these needs require the suitable environment for fulfillment. The yore of humanity traces the communalism as the social system prevailing to work and eat in common. However this phase didn’t last long as the subsistence phase was won over successfully by the people. The surplus generated was invested slowly and steadily in other sectors. This dovetailed approach brought comfort to whole community. Herein lies the space for inequality which led to unequal distribution of resources among the individuals. The qualitatively powerful communities hold quantitatively resource chunk. This unequal division left some in lurch as for as resource distribution is concerned. Those persons who are unable to fullfil their basic necessities of life are termed as poor. Where there are numerous measures of poverty line the common base pervading throughout is the means of subsistence for minimum possible living.
The contemporary era is too much unequal in terms of resource ownership. The top one percent held bottom ninety nine percent equivalent resources. On the one hand we have western countries and middles east with highest GDP per capita while on the other hand we have African continent with poorest regional divisions of Sub Sahara etc. As per the Hunger index Africa inhabits the people people with acute crisis in essential food grains just to keep them alive barring the balanced diet etc. The quote of of Nartin Luther Goes “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. The humanity can’t lay claim of being richest and poorest unless the common necessities are available to every global citizen. Can it happen? Is the poverty individual issue or Global issue ? Is it good to have space station and sub sahara in the existence? These questions guide us to reconsider the definition of prosperity and humanity in entirety.
The lexical yore of Prosperity terms it “The condition of being prosperous, of having good fortune”. Whenever there’s an interpretation of how prosperous our world is the poverty of teeming millions is soon forgotten. In other words we can day that the Welfare at individual or country level is taken into consideration which is clear paradox of how we confront the situation when millions are reeling under severe obsolete environment to live their moments in world. They face bleak conditions to make it from hand to mouth. The slums , open defecation, survival ground for dreaded diseases , the social crime origin ground , the gender bias , the child labour , the highest diseases burden , the easy pick for sophisticated crimes etc are but some of the numerous abuses attached with poverty.
There are two broad aspects correlated with Rich-Poor dichotomy. They are the physical dimension and Moral dimension. The poverty isn’t genetic heredity of the poor but the result of unequal social security system in which they are born. A person born in Sahara isn’t expected to inherit suitable chunk of per capita than the one born in Geneva or Qattar or Washington DC. And then the unequal distribution is not that the people in later regions are qualitatively superior, for that matter the people in Africa do possess suitable acumen to better their prospect physically. It’s the same region on which the plantation boom of America prospered but while one was sold as commodity the other deemed to be owner of capital soured the richness for himself. Has the distribution been in the hands of Karl Marx , Africa would have been relatively rich in per capita GDP. Now where the prosperity lie in the present hyped 2ist century. The living style of poor in the bleak conditions is a mockery of tall stories and tall statements issued by some that development has occurred. The cycle of poverty as per Nurkse worsens day by day to keep a poor country in state of poverty. The physical hardships play into the tool of criminals. There’s no region in Africa where there lies stability and peace. Peace for that matter isn’t absence of war but rather absence of peace makes war a reality. Sudan , Congo , CAR, Somalia etc are manifestations of poverty ridden crime bases in world. The regional divisions in South Asia like Pakistan, India, Afghanistan etc manifest the level of extremeness because of poverty. The latest report that Rohingyas may play into hands of criminals due to extreme poverty is not an exception.
The second aspect correlates to Moral dimension of the said dichotomy. The saga of liberal democracy rests on the dichotomy of equality in socio political matters while as unequality in Economic one. The Beveridge report cited numerous factors which were highlighted to be taken care off by state when there was boom of liberal democracy in west. It went on to quote” In the welfare of individual lie the welfare of society and in the welfare of society lie the welfare of nation “. If modified to a slightly different note it reads “ in prosperity of individual lies prosperity of nation “. The moral dilemma faced by human beings after thorough scientific advancement is the major Crux of society being left out of reach. The invention of Edison is more noteworthy which illuminated everyone’s house than the atom bomb which siphoned away life of millions of Hiroshima residents. The morality dimension brings out the close narrative of humanity at fore which deems every global citizen equal. However neither there exists any equality for us the world ready to adopt equality. The morality of Industrial revolution was based on dichotomy of Mercantile Capitalism which brought major chunk of globe under British control. The prosperity of globe was undermined for the prosperity of some millions. This notion is still in place through more insidious and pernicious ways of financial Capitalism as in Africa by China and In Pakistan to cite. This moral paradox of rich and poor is a threat to whole world because the poverty itself is a breeding ground for revolutions as in Russian Revolution etc.
To an individual level the morality is soon forgotten and the individual becomes pray to social evils. In the backyard the Northern and southern divisions of India are absolutely a roasted chicken. The southern states are qualitatively superior in intellectual strengthen with good moral behavior and minimum possible inter community conflicts and crimes. While as the northern regions especially Bihar , MP and UP are breeding grounds of bleak criminal incidents. It’s not an exception that Hyderabad shows decent Hindu Muslim Brotherhood than Day in and day out communal riots of UP. The religion in both cases is specific and special aspect for individual but one takes it as individual asset while as another is hesitant for social liability. The neighborhood story of Pakistan with Punjab largely peaceful while as Baluchistan is reeling in the prevailing conflict. And the largely unseen correlation of physical assets and social development has a rich connection. The comfort brings man to contact of composite culture where solidarities of Religion are taken as individual liberty and individual concern. This further leads to more solidarities which in turn brings the hatred to inflection and thereby leading to more crimes at hands of poor people. The social crimes in slums is one of numerous instances in this direction. So to say Delhi is Rich can be accepted but to designate it Prosperous may be the overstatement. The millions of people in unhealthy and unhygienic environment of Dharavi is a blot on the face of trillion economy.
The oft quoted adage of “ A poor man’s mind is a criminal’s resting place” may be an exaggeration in fraternity of social scientists but to denounce it altogether is a childish treatment. Our country no doubt has made progress on various fronts after Independence but the fight with poverty is yet over. We have always relied on poverty alleviation strategy which is conflictory ipso facto. The need of the hour is to wake up from slumber and put a sustained break on this socio-economic issue. The poverty elimination strategy is to be adopted and implemented as soon as possible for overall prosperity of nation. The country can’t rely on dichotomy of Mukesh Ambani and Slum dweller with aeroplane for former but lack of food for later. Otherwise the prosperity of some miniscule minority isn’t going to bore fruits. The nation requires peace , stability and security for all-round progress for whose sustenance we require the elimination of poverty and hunger. An MD and CEO of billion company thinks about expansion and mergers regarding future investment while as one who is short of basic necessities thinks about the ways to destabilize the state for fulfillment of those needs. The employment and the infrastructure development of country is in urgent need of support system. The poor people ought not be just a political votebank tool of country but the community to be looked for prosperity in corridors of government.
The ideal of Mahatma Gandhi that “Every village being republic and every poor man being prince” is yet to see the light of the day and reality at ground. The way he put that “ I dreamt of India where the amenities available to a prince are available to common man “ is yet to materialise. Unless and until the poverty becomes priority, the goal of prosperity is in paralysis. The sooner we demarcate the ways and means for achievement of full prosperity the faster we may reach to goal of substantive equality where peace and stability are cornerstones on whose sustenance rest the foundation of development.
(Writer can be reached at mirshahid363@gmail.com)