Harish Jharia

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15 January 2010

Rampant Poverty in Indian Villages and Slums


© Harish Jharia

We live in cities, move on two-wheelers or four-wheelers, beat summers and winters by electric appliances and live a life of a modern human being. We might not lead luxurious lives; yet, we get food to eat, clothes to wear and a shelters for covering our heads. We are busy in earning our bread and struggle to survive.

Nevertheless, there are more unfortunate people, in rural India, who do not get even one time food to fill their bellies. They are undernourished because of prolonged starvation. They struggle around for getting a handful of food with eyes sunk in the eye-sockets and rib-cage bones projecting out of their sun-burnt dark skins. We on the other hand discuss for hours reaching out for the best possible sunscreen lotion on internet and find solutions for sun tanning.

It is not only in rural India; the people living in the slums in metros also live lives that are even more pathetic. I remember a couple of poor children picking grains of boiled rice from an open drain in Pune. Such scenes are common where there are open drains near restaurants and the housekeeping staff dump leftover food along with the garbage. 

That is the reason that I felt offended when I read reviews about the British film ‘Slum-dog Millionaire’. I observed with pain and helplessness the inhuman neglect of the slum kids after the release of the film, its box-office success and the award giving ceremony in Oscars.  I felt it so intensely because I have seen poverty so very closely whenever I made trips to villages close to my hometown Narsinghpur in MP and dedicated visits to slums and downtowns in different metros.

I had the same feeling when I saw poor people in the US also, I happened to visit Washington DC and New York while being on a long stay in Ashburn, Virginia County. When I went to visit a nearby area for spending an evening, I saw a poor man on a road crossing, holding a placard in his hands written with a request asking for alms. On another day, I happened to see a poor man squatting on the floor of a staircase in a metro-station when I was on a trip to New York.

When I went to Maryland for shopping of some Indian stuff, I felt as-if I was in an Indian town a place dominated by middle class crowd, mainly from asia. The American glamor and luxurious style of life was just missing in Maryland. There were very few cars around; most of the people were moving around on foot.

After seeing the people living in super-luxury and on the other hand, the most unfortunate poor people living in utter-poverty and struggling to survive in a starving hell, I have concluded that the various religions and casts and creeds followed across the world, are only eyewash... There are only two religions and they are ‘The Rich’ and ‘The Poor’.

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This article / Story / fiction is written based on my personal observations. My intention for publishing the same is to provide healthy reading and intellectual entertainment and not for educating the visitors. Names of people, societies, communities and description of faiths, beliefs, incidents are imaginary and fictitious. They have neither any relevance to the prevailing entities and traditions nor have any similarities with ongoing lifestyles, political ideologies and legal doctrines. The contents of this creative work has not been written with any intention to criticize, condemn or oppose anything what-so-ever present in reality in any country in the world. No literature or authentic books have been referred for writing the contents of this article. The visitors are advised not to refer the contents of this article for any research or testimony on scientific, geographical, political, civic, social or legal purposes. The visitors are further advised to consult relevant experts before adapting any information from this article. The author or the website are not responsible for any errors, mistakes, or omissions there in.
- Harish Jharia
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