- Politics and Social Issues
Live Messages of a Still Image
Often we come across images that catch our attention. Our inboxes get there full with heaps of images; and continues to pile up. We hardly think of an in-depth consideration, with a casual glimpse we move on to the next. But on some, we do ponder, the curiosity drives us to stop at some images and listen to there silent whispering. Then what? The impressions get imprinted on hearts and minds that lead to conscious or unconscious efforts.
Today, as usual, I saw many images. My eyes glued to a heart touching one. I tried to look here and there, but time and again my mind diverted towards it. I don’t know the origin of the image, I don’t know whom it belongs to, nor am I aware of the one who clicked. But now I find a coherent relationship with it, which I want to unveil, with a hope that this anonymous association gets articulated to a known bonding between many hearts.
...this Is That Image
The image I am talking about is of a beggar, lying on a clean street, bending quite low as if prostrating, a loose grip on the bowl that rest in front of his head, besides him is his dog, lying with the same posture holding a bowl. It seems both are lying from quite a sometime with no pennies or bucks around. I just stared at the still image with strange feelings in mind. If these emotions were measured, they would have surely competed with thousands of blotches and pixels of the image, but, yes it is hard to conceive all that.
The still image appears a live one as it conveys live messages:
- A person spreads his hand as a last option; it reveals there is absolutely no one to help him.
- A person feels helpless and opt streets as an earning field only when his family members refrain from help and maintain a safe distance.
- The beggar has leaned quite a low; it means asking in standing position has lost its charm and doesn’t generate sympathy.
- His leaning to the level of the earth reveals that earlier to this he might have tried in a dignified way, but that didn’t work.
- He must have made it routine to ask people for his basic necessities; begging is his profession now, people are not kind enough to fulfill his needs, he is at their mercy all the time and all the days.
- People are unmindful of the miseries and hardship of that person; it’s an irony that in a society the ‘privileged majority’ badly fails in containing the poverty of an ‘underprivileged minority’.
- A dog accompanying the beggar illustrates ‘a silent communiqué of the society’ that during hardships a man should learn to live with the animals, getting human support in today’s fast-paced and busy life is quite difficult.
- The street is quite clean, seems to be a part of home, actually it shows lack of collective efforts to clean the blot of beggary from society’s face. Pollution does not restrict only to ‘an imbalance in nature’, but human societies too get polluted when minds are insensitive and hearts become callous. For a developed world and healthy society, ‘human pollution’ is far more dangerous than the ‘environmental pollution’.
- The concept of charity does prevail; the generous acts of philanthropists do fill the treasures of many organizations, but why these ‘deprived individuals’ are not worthy of their generous acts?
- There is no effective mechanism in the society for channelizing the wealth of well to do people. The flow of finance is stagnant, the rich is rich and the poor is poor.
- There are people in the society, who are even more leaned, biting the dust, some have gone even low, and for some this ‘profession’ has sent them beneath the earth, but the problem remains the same. In a world of people it is but mandatory for people to suffer. Is it the same case with the societies of other living beings too?
- The generous attitude towards deserving people depends on a healthy mind-set; which is possible only with a loving and caring heart. Then the morning becomes good and so is the night for the one who listen his heart to help a crying heart.
- The heart gets filled with the feelings of gratitude towards Merciful God that He has prevented us from becoming people of lower hands, as Thanksgiving our hands should lift them up.
- When I detached my eyes from the touchy-image, another lively message got stick to my eyes, that annihilation of differences from the society is a hallmark of true development.
There are many more....
After that my eyes were on a finding spree, I found many more images with an intense subject and powerful message. Have a look at a few….
What a pathetic conditions they are in? Every image has a story to convey, every person there in silently communicates his grief and sorrow, but no significant change in their lives. Every day is a same day for them. The sun rises without a hope and a promise for these ‘underprivileged ones’, and the sun sets leaving a trail of insensitiveness and stinginess of the ‘privileged ones’.
Undeniably, poverty is one of the universal problems that humanity is facing today. It’s quite surprising that man has succeeded in having control over far off planets, has conquered the depth of oceans, but failed in touching the height of one’s emotions and failed in going into depth of one’s heart.
Rising poverty and increasing wealth, an unsolved dilemma?
Now we have accepted that things like ups and downs and the gap between rich and poor embellish our society. In spite of the conquest above and below the heavens, we have utterly failed in containing solvable problems. As a result, not only in one or two countries, few problems are on the rise worldwide. Almost 80% of humans live on less than $10 per day, of which 80% population lives in countries where the gap between rich and poor is increasing and the income differentials too is on the rise (News Junkie Post).
According to UNICEF, 24,000 children die each day due to poverty. Among the 2.2 billion children worldwide an estimated 1 billion live in poverty. There are currently 121 million children with no access to education worldwide; and for the 1.9 billion children from the developing world there are 640 million without adequate shelter, 400 million with no access to safe water, 270 million without health care, and 121 million children worldwide with no access to education. These are the motives behind beggary and panhandling professions. The obliteration of this disgraceful profession is not a herculean task, what needed is constructive and sustained efforts at all levels.
Understand the Causes
The beggar or panhandlers are those individuals who solicit donations of money for personal use from passersby, without providing any goods or services in return. The people involved in the begging or panhandling profession because of the following socio-economic causes:
• Physical disability or challenges
• Orphans, that is death of both parents
• Lack of caring relatives
• Deserted widows and destitute
• Influence of friends or peer influence
• Family disintegration
• Abandoned women and children
• Old age
• Medical illness
Let us Dream
That which appears hard to achieve or realize is possible with a dream and a vision. When the target is fixed, eyes are bound to view the same, all the time. So the going gets easier and solution for even mighty problems looks within the reach. ‘A total eradication’ of beggary, panhandling or poverty is not possible as the socio-economic conditions varies from person to person and from society to society, what needed is a timely initiative and a plan to live to the expectations of the dream and vision, and that is…..
- Less people on streets, more in home.
- Less people of lower hands and more of upper hands.
- Less differential incomes.
- Preventive and responsive initiatives from the rich and philanthropists.
- Decreasing gap between rich and poor.
- Proper utilization of wealth.
- Collective initiatives from state and the individuals, and
- Every individual should have a humane approach towards the miserable life conditions of fellow humans.
Solution & Desirable Approach
State Level - Policy makers must plan multi-faceted, multi-targeted and multi-level approaches in order to provide effective solution to the problem. It should be three-pronged policy.
1) Rehabilitative - Because most of the beggar are used to an idle income, participation in any kind of economic activities is out of their mind, setting their mind to dignified living is of prime importance.
2) Preventive – The intervention of community should be ensured by changing its attitudes towards beggar in particular and poverty in general.
3) Responsive- The intervention of both the state and the community organizations is quite essential to address the requirements, like shelter for homeless, education with necessary infrastructure for children, opportunities to earn on their own.
Societal Level – Measures for a humane solution to the problem in discussion need certain reformative steps. The increasing differential incomes and the gap between haves and have not’s warrants serious attention. The society should feel the pulse of disparities that in its presence development is hard to realize. Channelizing the wealth of the richest and pragmatic initiatives from different NGOs and philanthropist is must.
Individual Level – People should deem the ‘profession of beggary’ as disgraceful and try on their own to bring about changes in the lives of deprived ones. People should come forward for contribution, establishment of rehabilitation centers, adoption of orphan children, providing shelters to the homeless, fulfilling the educational needs, helping the widows and destitute.
At all levels – The rehabilitative and responsive methods are not to promote any kind of wrong notion, nor to encourage those who ‘spread their hands for their livelihood’. It is just a reason to help the needy. We know the poor socio-economic conditions are the main cause of beggary or panhandling profession, once the profession gets going it reaches to high, beggar can earn somewhere between $30,000 to $40,000 per year. The higher income makes them fall prey to habits like drug addiction, prostitution, alcohol consumption etc. Therefore ‘selective approach’ policy should be adopted, no offering to those who have made begging a ‘profession’ and not to those who spend their money on other than their basic needs. Similarly encouragement for child and healthy persons should also be inclusive of this ‘selective approach policy’.
Let the Poor be Richer & Rich be More Richer
The issue is not a new one, from the beginning humans have thrive to wipe out poverty. The process must be an inclusive one and gets contribution from cross section of the society. The issues have to be perceived as related to the dignity of humanity. The outlook must change, the process of elimination of poverty is not to make poor, rich, but to make rich, richer and to make a poor, richer by means of the availability of resources to them.
(C) 2014 - Muhammad Abdullah Javed (m abdullah javed)