Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day 2008 - Poverty

I get further drawn into the ways of the blogging world. First, it was tagging and now Blog Action Day 2008. It was only today, I realised that something like this exists and there seems to be widespread response to this. At last count the BAD site had about 12k sites participating.

Without debating on the merits of such collective action, I attempt to contribute my mite to a cause - to mitigate poverty.

This is an effort to lift "The Last, the least and the Lowest" from their deplorable existence to a more human level.

We equate poverty with a lack of basic necessities for the very existence of a person or a group of people. The state of deprivation is so acute that survival itself becomes a huge uphill task everyday. Typically, poverty evokes images of people who are hungry, naked, suffering from malnutrition, homeless and having no skills, jobs or vocations.

Logically, mitigation of poverty implies that groups of people blessed with a surplus would share a part of that with the deprived group and thus ease their burden. It pre-supposes a flow of some resource to the deprived group and their lack is removed.

At this point let me pause and think - What do we mean by eradicating poverty?

Based on our general and typical response, we would dip into our pockets and share a little money. A few would go through their wardrobes and dispose of old clothes, books, toys. Many others would take on the task of feeding the hungry. There could be symbolism in the form of fasting - so that you can empathise with the deprived hungry group. Established banners may carry out programmes to provide elementary housing and so on. There are a million ways to share what we have with our less fortunate brethren.

Each of these responses are worthy of applause and may their tribe increase - but - is this the solution? Will this eradicate poverty or even reduce it appreciably?

Poverty, if it has to be mitigated, has to be attacked relentlessly from all sides. This is a war in which the entire society has to participate.

A combination of short term relief measures are very essential but on the longer term, poverty needs to be tackled at a very different level.

We will have to

- Start with inculcation of self-confidence in these people,
- Ensure their inclusion in the education or skiling / re-skilling process,
- With these skills, facilitate absorption in a trade, profession or vocation,
- Encourage expansion of economic activity such that the deprived class has an
opportunity to generate a steady income for subsistence.

Only then will people move above poverty levels and sustain themselves without perpetual dependance on hand-outs.

These are transformations of an epic nature. It requires immense courage, confidence and extreme patience and undying support of a society eager to change. Progress will be slow but it is definitely possible to eradicate poverty in a generation or two.


Indian Home Maker said...

But at the same drop by drop,we are
And I agree with long term solutions being better, feeding is good, but in the end instead buying someone fish, it is better to teach them how to fish.
I had not realised there was going to be such vast participation, if nothing else we read what others thought of when they thought of poverty.

Indian Home Maker said...

I meant 'at the same time,drop by drop' in the first sentence :)

manju said...

Hi! First time I am commenting here.
Thoughtprovoking post you have written.

As you say, it is important that people are able to earn enough income to sustain themselves. Only then will they become self-confident.

Krishnan said...

Your post made great reading Mavin. Yes with concerted measures and with all hands to the wheel, I am also of the view that poverty can be eradicated within a generation or two. What is needed is iron will and determination.

Vinod_Sharma said...

Mavin, you have expressed some real good views, thought out seriously, in a an excellent manner. Yes, eradication of poverty is a lot more than doing 'charitable' acts with an air of sometimes unknown air of superiority.

A lot of effort is needed, both by the government and society in the manner that you have outlined. Only, confidence does not, perhaps, need to be inculcated to start with. It will follow automatically if others steps are
implemented properly.

Mavin said...


Thanks for intimating me on the BAD stuff. Good we could express on this problem.

We are making steady progress and this will only accelerate.

Hello Manju

Welcome to "My Voice"

Thanks for coming by and for your comment. We hope that things will change only for the better.

Hi Krish,

Howz life!!

"All hands to the wheel" you said it.

Mavin said...

Hello Vinod,

I too thought that self-confidence would result out of positive and affirmative action.

However, I had seen in reality, without an element of self-confidence or self-esteem, they will only want secure government jobs. Their willingness or ability to take any risk is zero.

I guess you need a little to begin with and then build it by involving them in a virtuous cycle.

Vinod_Sharma said...

I think you are right...that 'kick start' is needed.

Gopinath's "Artickles" said...

Hi Mavin. Thoughtful of you to have posted one on poverty on BAD.
The Teach India program by TOI needs to then extend to "teach to earn a decent sum respectably". New initiatives and NGO activity is on the rise and there is hope that poverty stricken people learn how to climb out of their heap of sorrows. I may be late to comment on your post, but i was not trying to have the last word on this post (:>

Mavin said...

Not at all Gopi

You are welcome at all times. I will be glad if you initiate and have the last word literally or otherwise.

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