Sympathising with poverty- promoting passive religion?!

There was a debatable, yet interesting personal note by Shombit Sengupta in Indian Express yesterday where he called for ending the fake sympathy with poverty- instead urged to instill a desperate urge in poor people to oust poverty with their own initiative.

Some of the excerpts of the article are highlighted below:

Every individual, poor or rich, has freedom to enjoy the sun, moon, nature and sex. Being born poor doesn’t mean you’ve to submit to poverty as an inherited religion. Getting people’s sympathy is drowning in a tsunami of self-pity that sucks you inside out….

Quoting an incident of sexual abuse in brickfields, he writes….A friend later told me that women workers in many such brickfields are virtually bonded labourers; men who come to dump mud or take delivery of bricks often have abusive sex with them. Unless the poor avoid passive, submissive poverty, and claim their own rights by pressing for modernising the brick-making process that respects their dignity, no brickfield owner will change this situation…

On the other hand he cites an example of an entrepreneur ‘samosa wala’, who says….“Sir, there are many people like you who dress well, speak fluent English and work in air-conditioned rooms. But I don’t think you earn as much as we do wearing dirty clothes and selling samosas.” 

Summarizing, Sengupta argues, Sympathising with poverty is promoting a passive religion, it earns people no money. My message won’t reach the poor or non-English readers. Politicians professing to be their torchbearers don’t teach or inspire them to exit poverty without charity and begging, they merely tap them for votes. The main point is how to instil a desperate urge in poor people to oust poverty with their own initiative.”

Maybe there is some direction here.. May be a blind subsidy in food, cheap rice and benefits are not enough of a solution.. Do centrally sponsored schemes have the capacity to ‘instil’ the urge and voice to the poor?

The article can be read here:


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