Poor man and his rupee one a meal!
Once because of harsh famine people of this land were starving and they pleaded before their ruler to intervene and save his subjects. Narrating their plight the delegation of distressed people submitted to the King “Padshaham draag haz” meaning, oh! Powerful King, we are facing starvation. The King responded to their desperation by ordering “Akh syun karew kam” meaning, cut your dishes by one. The maxim gives a picture of the mindset of rulers who had never experienced the pain and agony of the common man leave alone the poverty and desperation. This adage holds good to the present political class as well who are enjoying the real and absolute power after abolition of autocracy. The resent exposé (I use the word exposé because the said report lost its creditability from the day it got public) of Planning commission expert group on estimation of national poverty line made some startling revelations about the poverty and standard of poverty in the country. Instead of going in details of this flimsy report and the methodology of poverty estimation let me confine to interesting statements of some of our politicians who disastrously tried to justify the planning commission estimates on poverty. These politicians who behaving like ‘more loyal than the king’ proved
they were suffering from ‘foot and mouth’ disease; uttering absurdity in the morning and gulping it back in the afternoon.
The recent statements of Raj Babbar, Rashid Masood and Dr. Farooq Abdullah regarding poor and value of their meal speak volumes about the mindset of present day politicians. The above mentioned Kashmiri adage holds appropriate for these politicians who by uttering such irrelevance have not only humiliated the poor but even made the excruciating poverty to hide its face in the corridors of planning commission. Of all the three Dr. Farooq Abdullah has been awfully cruel in describing poor and unfolding poverty of millions of helpless and exploited Indians by saying that, “one can eat for rupee one, if desired. It depends on the common man how much they can afford and they have to manage in that only”. Dr. Farooq has inherited a political and revolutionary legacy from his father late Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah (once ‘Sher-i- Kashmir’ lion of Kashmir): the legacy of fight against oppression, exploitation and abject poverty within Kashmir and its people. His one rupee a meal slurring remark has hurt the sentiments of the millions of poor, needy and starving people not within India but all over the world. Farooq Abdullah can be a witty and charismatic politician attracting attention of media most of the times, but this time round he has invited wrath of all sections of the society including his political masters in the corridors of power in Delhi. The politically wily politicians and political parties distanced themselves from this trash of Dr. Farooq Abdullah and company by saying that these are personal views of these leaders.
It is bizarre to suggest of a meal worth one rupee in this contemporary era of inflated economies and extravagant lifestyle. How can a person like Dr. Farooq comment on two ends meal of poor and its economic analysis when he has never visited even the market place to buy his grocery or travelled by the public transport system where he could have had firsthand experience of life of a common man (poor to be precise) and his struggle against all odds. However, he could have respected and acknowledged the well documented sufferings of his father and his followers during the autocracy and articulated the same by properly representing the aspirations of the poor and their poverty. Making fun of poverty does not suit to people like Dr. Farooq whose forefathers have not only experienced extreme poverty but stood against it at times when even crying was a privilege and having two ends meal a luxury. Interestingly, sensing backlash not only from the public but his political mentors as well, Dr. Farooq Abdullah within no time expressed some sense of remorse and regretted his improper utterances, but in a political tune by claiming that his statement on poverty standards in India has been taken out of context.
Instead of making fun of poor and poverty, the politicians should introspect and try to elevate the oppressed and ignored sections of the society out of the dark and empower them with right to decide their prospect and that of their future generations. Poverty is a curse! And no one but God knows which way and when it blows.