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2013-08-10

"Poverty IS a state of mind"

Lately, Mr. Rahul Gandhi, the heir apparent, (apparently) stated: "Poverty is just a state of mind. It does not mean the scarcity of food, money or material things. If one possesses self-confidence, then one can overcome poverty". And, the whole of India (online/offline/in-the-restroom) blew up into a state of anger calling it a "mockery of the poor". But no one really thought about it twice. No one really did.

Yes, I am looking at this from my shoes. And, I think it fits the argument. If you take a casual stroll through the streets of Madras, you are bound to bump into atleast 10 beggars (taking an optimistic count). You can easily classify them into:
  1. Old people
  2. Differently abled people
  3. Children
  4. Homeless able bodied young people
The distribution of the "under poverty line" people in the above categorisation is (honestly) unknown. For the sake of argument, lets assume there is an equal distribution. That means, 25% of the "under poverty line" people are "homeless able bodied young people". Now, what do these people want/desire/expect in their lives? A car? A fridge? A house of their own? A fancy gadget? A fancy lifestyle? Top of the line fashion clothing? NO. They want three meals a day, clothing enough to clothe, a shelter enough to shelter.

A day of "construction labour" fetches 350 INR a day. And, Madras has enough construction happening, that you have a job for the next 10 years. Walk into the closest "Amma's mess" (government subsidised food joint) and you get three meals for less than 30 INR a day. Throw another 50 INR on public transport travel and such. And, another 20 INR for sundry expenses. You still save 250 INR a day. For 5 days a week, and 4 weeks a month, you get to 5000 INR a month as savings. Figure the rest.

Yes there are exceptions to the rule. But, how many are the exceptions? The exceptions are hardly 5% of that 25%. If that 25% were productive, imagine where the rest would be? YES, "poverty is a state of mind". One can sit there on their asses hoping for the world to save them, or move it and save their own. Its their choice. Its their state of mind. So please, for hells sake stop your dramatic emotionalism and move on. Period.

Edit 1: The "construction labour" is just one of the many examples. There are so many other such.