Short Essay on Poverty
Once can be poor in many ways – in health in dress, in thought and in outlook. But poverty is usually to mean the state of being economically poor. One who lives in penury is called poor.
There may be various causes behind poverty, but in our modern world the main causes of poverty are found in the socio-economic system based on exploitation, discrimination, disparity and injustice.
Once when man was born naked and savage he was sustained by the bounties of nature. Then there was no question of discrimination, for all the animals, including man, equally shared the wealth of nature among themselves, and nature did not mind being exploited by them. But when man dissociated himself from the broader community of animals and built walls to keep nature away from his new home, he became ruthless in his exploitation of natural resources and in acquiring his economic prosperity at the expense of others.
The slaves and their masters, the feudal lords and their subjects and the exploiters and exploited found themselves separated by a yawning gulf. Obviously this relation led to violent struggles between the the rich and the poor; – but the process of impoverishment still persists, in spite of all our achievements and prosperity.
But what are the causes behind this poverty? As we find in India, it has too many people and too few developed resources. The highly developed or industrialized societies can afford population explosions, for they are able to pay for their massive imports of food from agricultural countries with their exports of manufactured goods, and also they have mechanized their own agriculture to produce more food. India cannot expect to feed its alarmingly growing population, for it has an overwhelmingly agricultural economy with yields amongst the lowest in the world. I
ndia produces food which is not enough even to feed two-thirds of its population. With an inadequate irrigation system and limited water-sources India fails to produce even that much when there are natural calamities like drought. Floods also destroy crops only too often, creating famine conditions in the process. Some seventy-five per cent of her people living in villages and depending on agriculture, India, under these circumstances, cannot but languish in poverty.
In our land of renunciation this poverty is made inseparable from religion and it makes the poor feel as though they are the sacred cows dedicated as sacrifices to God. Their suffering seems to be only a process of purification and their penury the result of renunciation. But this religious approach is just a cleaver design to cover up the age-old injustice. Poverty is the result of a social crime and its consequences inflict wounds that fester both in the mind and in the body, threatening the very existence of the society.