Dickensian Conditions

Dickensian Conditions

Conditions –living, social and economic- remain Dickensian for many people in Kashmir. That is, people at the lowest rung in the social and economic ladder remain vulnerable to exploitation. This predatory exploitation takes place without any qualms or ethics and continues unabated despite claims to the contrary. One such collective case is that of Casual Paid Workers(CPW’s) who , while they remain on the roster of administrations are not even paid a meager salary( if it is paid on time) but would, given today’s standards, not mean a living allowance. These people are exploited usually in the name of permanent and regular government jobs. Living on hope and better expectations of and from the future, CPW’s and people trapped in a similar plight and condition, have nowhere to go. The key question that this raises is why are these people exploited and why do they actually fall into this trap? While predatory and unscrupulous behavior accounts for the exploitation of these people, the fact they get exploited themselves accrues from despair and desperation. The slender hope that they might one day become permanent employees is what is dangled in front of them and keeps them going. But, in the process, they and their families suffer. Life is never certain; it is full of and defined by vicissitudes, ups and downs. When a life changing even- in the form of either an accident , illness or death- befalls vulnerable people, they have no where to turn to. Despair and despondency sets in for these victims and there is no one who can substantively help. The plight of those who are at the lowest rungs of the economic and social ladder in Kashmir must concentrate the minds of those who have been blessed with a better economic and social position in society. Given the absence of initiatives by the powerful and various administrations, it is incumbent upon society to take care of the needy and the vulnerable. This is what our religion commands and enjoins us to do and it is the moral and ethical responsibility of society as well. It is not the fault of the poor and the needy to be poor and vulnerable. Structural and other allied conditions make people what they are in life. But , instead of empathy and real and genuine sympathy about their plight, these people are exploited. It is about time that we awaken ourselves to their condition and make efforts to give the poor and the vulnerable a dignified and a fuller live.

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