India’s major troubles come from the three P’s; Population, Poverty and a beloved neighbor. Among these, the second is perhaps the biggest enemy of any country. In India, poverty is too widespread to miss the eye. You don’t have to be in some rural areas to spot the poor. The streets of some of the most developed cities house more poor than we can imagine. What poverty leads to, and why it is obnoxious is obvious. What I’m more interested in, is what I and you can do about it. When we think of such problems, we are quick to blame the government, its policies and corruption. It is true that such country level problems demand actions and measures from the govt. Corruption is, without a doubt, a key culprit. We vote to form new governments in hope of a corruption free country. From that moment, we sit back, hoping that the govt. will do its job and things will get better. If it doesn’t, we blame them again. That’s pretty much sums up our contribution. Why get our own hands dirty when we can blame someone else. Simple!
The next time your car breaks down, try sitting back in the hope that someone else will come and fix it. You won’t, will you? It’s your car, and it’s your problem. For once, can we not think the same for our country? Why not get up for our country? Many of us want to help, but don’t know how. For something as big as eradicating poverty, where does a common man start from? It’s a genuine question. The answer is not straight forward. Perhaps, there is no quick solution. However, if we mend our daily habits a little, we can help.
Think about the last time you ate at some fine restaurant, or went for a movie. I’m sure you wouldn’t remember the exact amount you spent. But hey, did you try to bargain? Do we ever bargain at a restaurant, at a shop at some mall, or at a movie theater? We don’t. Bargaining applies to the street markets. Those vendors who struggle to make a living out of selling veggies on the streets. Those kids who sell corn on the roadside. Getting back to the aching reality, most of these street vendors are financially weak. They don’t have parallel businesses running, unlike some of the restaurant owners. The reason why bargaining works with them is that they need money so badly that they agree to sell even at much lower prices. Do we really need to bargain with them? Say they earned ten bucks more each time, will that really burn a hole in our pocket? It will surely help those chaps a lot. A ten rupee note matters much more to a poor man than it does to the rich. We don’t mind tipping fifty bucks to a waiter who is already earning a salary. However, buying groceries without bargaining seems wrong. Can we not spare this little amount for the benefit of the poor? Sometimes, it’s not about saving those precious ten bucks. It’s the ego, the one that says ‘why give them the price they ask?’ The next time someone tells you that he bought the same amount of lemons at a cheaper rate, tell him proudly that you made the seller’s day!
Having talked about our practice of bargaining, another habit that I see around quite often confuses me to the core. Some of us who argue for five or ten bucks while shopping, have absolutely no issues while giving alms to beggars. Beggars, who don’t work for the money, while they can. Beggars, who are made handicapped, had their arms or legs amputated so that they can beg for mercy. Imagine, you work hard and get paid very little, and you see that a beggar who’s not working at all gets more than you. How would that feel, wouldn’t that discourage you? Think about those cruel evil minds who run this business. Wouldn’t it help them? We all know the answer. Then why do some of us give alms to beggars nevertheless? If you believe you’re helping them, you’re mistaken. Your intention might be good, but the action is only making things worse. Want to help? Pay good to those who work. Don’t encourage the beggars, and see how it helps end this dirty business.
While some easier steps have already been talked about, I’m going to touch upon some other ways that we can adopt to help our country.
- Pay Taxes Sincerely: We all understand that it is the government’s responsibility to plan and fight against such country level issues. What we must also take into account is the fact that govt. works on our money. The tax we pay is the money that the govt. works on. If we really care for the eradication of poverty and other issues, we should pay taxes with sincerity. We must not think of it as the money that’s being taken away from us. It’s the money that we are contributing for the country’s development. In all possibilities, it’s a good cause. There must be a good reason why every country has adopted this methodology. Pay taxes sincerely and feel proud of it.
- Save Resources when you can: Saving is as important as making. It doesn’t take a big effort to not waste the necessary resources, such as electricity and water. Less resources wasted equals more resources available. More resources available means lesser the price charged. Lesser the price charged implies more accessibility to the poor.
- Donate: How many times a year do we dine at expensive restaurants, buy pricey stuff or spend money at partying? Out of these occasions, if we save the money spent on just two of them and donate that sum to some charity, it will help more than we think. If most of us develop this habit, it will be a huge help. Besides, the warm feeling that you get after charity is priceless!
No wonder it’s the government’s job to look after such issues, but the government can’t do everything by itself. If I and you, the common men, start contributing towards fighting such issues, things will definitely change for better. Somewhere deep down inside, we all know what we should be doing, but as Morpheus from The Matrix rightly says,
There’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path…