The Invisible Poor

The Invisible Poor
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Almost on a quotidian basis, we are confronted with news of laborers, construction workers or , generally speaking, the working poor dying usually on work sites. While life and death are in the hands of Almighty Allah, but this should not mean that the working poor are made to work or labor in unsafe and vulnerable conditions. The reasons for this are many: first, the poor are invisible for wider society. That is, generally speaking, society does not care for them; what follows from this is that the well off feel a certain sense of entitlement toward them, in the sense , that the poor being poor(which is not their fault) are merely meant to slog it out for them. Second, again generally speaking, working conditions are so bad and poor here that it is a matter of mere luck perhaps that the accident rate is not that high. Third, when and if calamity, or in extreme cases, death visits the hapless working poor, barring some declamations and sympathy, the victims are left at the mercy of events and forces with no one, in the world, to take care of their families and their needs. All this suggests a certain callousness and insensitivity on our part. Allah has created everyone equal but it is society and its structures which create inequality of an assorted variety. It is then society’s responsibility to take care of the poor and the vulnerable and make them visible again by, in the least, according them respect, honor and dignity they are naturally entitled to. For this to happen, we , as a society, need to introspect and review ourselves and then make it our special responsibility to help and assist the poor and the vulnerable. One good starting point, especially vis a vis the working poor , would be to create working conditions for them and if calamity hits them, make it a point to rehabilitate their families. This is not only a religious and an ethical responsibility but also a matter of pragmatic import. Life, in general, is tenuous and defined by uncertainty. And, quirks of fate and misfortune( or calamity) does not discriminate; these can and do hit anyone at any given point in time. So , we cannot and must not be complacent. Let us then gird our loins and make the poor feel special and do something substantive about them.