Millennium Post

Shocking Insensitivity!

What can be more abrasive or humiliating than to write on the wall of the house in yellow "I am poor." This is worse than being cursed or being emotionally drained for residents of several villages who have to go through this torture in Dausa district of Rajasthan. What this means is that the state government has failed to ensure an efficient public distribution system (PDS) leading to pilferage and black marketers making hay. It is preposterous for well meaning and enlightened Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje to even assume that this might be well intentioned! Whoever hit upon this horrendous idea must not only be punished but put through the paces to understand and realise the pain and hurt of these people.

It is time Raje and all of us put ourselves in the shoes of these underprivileged and oppressed people to even remotely feel their woes and trauma of having to go hungry without even one meal a day. Let us not mock at their poverty. If this is the handiwork of the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Jaipur they should reconsider their act. Any amount of admonition of the wrong doer is not going to help matters as it is highly demeaning. What is bewildering is that these people had to write "I am poor" on the walls of their dwellings so that they could receive the benefits entitled under the National Food Security Act. In some instances the local authorities painted the message on the people's houses themselves, despite being asked not to do so. In any case, where is the guarantee that the poor, far from being victimised as evidenced earlier, will actually benefit from this step.

The unpalatable truth, however is that, such people have to live with the shame of being branded poor along with remaining hungry. Regrettably, branding of the poor leads to the creation of a class where citizens are discriminated against social, religious and economic backgrounds. The idea of branding homes shows the insensitivity along with being highly undemocratic. There could have been better ways to differentiate the better off from the poor. The onus is on the state government to identify such people and ensure their due entitlement, if food reaches them. What has happened now is that these poor people have to fend for themselves. Other state governments have also displayed insensitivity to the underprivileged. Depicting a person's economic situation on the wall is a flagrant violation of human rights. Will someone in authority answer why such a cruel practice was adopted? And what is worse, nobody in authority objected to it. It is high time chief minister Raje wakes up to the realities of the situation on the ground in Rajasthan.

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