Poor and Vulnerable

Poor and Vulnerable
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Over the past few days, there was a stream of bleak news which pertained to the deaths of members of the laboring classes in Kashmir. Most of the cases were of deaths by asphyxiation. While there can neither be a quibble nor an argument about the cause(s) of deaths of these poor and destitute people, but the obvious or even nagging issue that their deaths raises is what happens to the families of these unfortunate victims. Their deaths actually pose this question to the whole of society in the starkest terms. Often times, the laboring classes or the working poor, are the sole bread earners for or of their families. When catastrophe strikes, either in the form of a debilitating injury or, even death, the whole universe of these families comes crashing down. The near and dear ones, friend and acquaintances of the victims and their families mourn for a few days; some offer meager financial help but, ultimately, the families of these victims are left to fend for themselves. Society, as a whole, and, in general, by not taking care of the victims and vicissitudes of life, abdicates if basic and fundamental responsibility. In contexts other than Kashmir, the working poor who fall victim to quirks of nature or other assorted misfortunes, fall into decrepit lives of destitution the corollary of which is crime, drug addiction and other vices. But, fortunately, the nature of Kashmiri society prevents the families of these victims from these and other forms of predation. But, this is an act of omission by society, that is, something that happens because of the nature and structure of Kashmiri society. Where we are remiss is in terms of failure(s) of commissions. Fate, God’s Will and nature, speaking from a general perspective, operate in such terms that anything can happen anytime to anybody. We cannot be sure of what happens the next moment let alone the next day. This very fact of existence must concentrate our minds and help generate empathy in us towards those who fall victim to fate and misfortune. While mere empathy is not enough, it should and must turn into tangible and concrete help and assistance for victims of misfortune, both at individual and collective levels. The best and sustainable form of assistance would be one which is in the nature of a common pool of savings by society for helping the poor and the destitute. This is the general form; specifics can be worked out. But, the primary requirement is the generation of will by society to help those who are vulnerable.

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