Today I can see that India is firmly bound and held back in every way by poverty. Those who are free of such bonds try to advance by pushing down and pushing away the poor. They feel threatened and demeaned by any exposure to or contact with poverty. They assume and wish the state will take care of all that. They also feel the state must assist in continuously enhancing their own quality of life. The state, however, has only proven its incapability in making a dent on the poverty and acute inequity.
But most importantly, poverty is also something sustained and perpetuated by the thoughts, attitudes and conduct of the affluent sections. They have been born into and socialised in this. A complete transformation in society and culture is therefore needed if every Indian is to live a life of dignity. This is not something any affluent person wants. Civil society’s selfless and enlightened initiative and leadership in poverty eradication – is still largely absent from the horizon.
In its obsession with economic growth and foreign investment, the state has retreated from poverty eradication. But dehumanising poverty, shocking disparities and institutional and public apathy continue to exist. In the poverty-ridden environments, the horizon is bereft of any hope.