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15 October 2008

Blog Action Day 2008- Poverty


Today is Blog Action Day and hence a post on the topic this year- Poverty.

Living in India, born and brought up here, poverty is a daily feature of life and yet there is no denying the fact that it is next to impossible to get desensitised to this issue. It stares at you in the face, shouts at you on the roads, and haunts you when you sleep.

A large number of blog posts here in Deeplydeeps are to do with India, Mumbai, Society, Development, ICT and KM- and I have often posted on the topic of poverty- this one - A day in the life of an Indian-is of my favorites simply because- it speaks of two things that to me represent this issue;

1. One, the glaring and increasing divide caused due to super conspicuous consumption and,
2. Two, the growing attitude of apathy of the educated, young Indian to recognise that simple living (and giving) is the need of the hour. That, debt, new fancy gadgets and having a great time is not necessarily an outcome of 'being rich' and vice versa.

It is ironic that even as I write this, at least three cases of Indians who have committed suicide due to the fallout of the economic crisis have been reported only in one week.

While poverty is a topic discussed ad nauseaum, and the world struggles with the millennium development goals, what I'd really like to again emphasise if I have not said it adequately or clearly enough in my other posts in this blog is this;

Poverty as it relates to money, wealth, material comforts- food, clothing, shelter, work, debt and other daily conveniences is one thing. The other, what I'd really like anyone reading this, is to reflect a little, on poverty of spirit.

Poverty of spirit is being mean minded, placing a premium on competition over co-operation, forgoing the good Samaritan spirit for selfish pleasures, being rude, petty behaviour, road rage, being unforgiving, malicious, not generous to fault, indulging in criticism for the sake of it without doing anything to 'light the candle', fighting needlessly over trivial matters, refusing to apologise when wrong and sometimes even when right. Not coveting what is not yours and other such matters that quite often one learnt even as a child.

While I debate and discuss the topic at work and as a professional, as a yoga student and teacher, I also believe that it is the matters of the spirit which is what matters.

Unless we develop a generosity of spirit, you will find that generosity will not follow in things. The other name for this is -Love. The need of the hour. Whether you give a penny, a rupee, a dollar, a meal, a hug or even all of your life - Make Giving a habit. Make love a habit. Make service a habit. (or it simply degenerates into an ego trip).

Grows into a larger consciousness. Greater awareness.
Nurture your spirit with as much care as you nurture your investments portfolio. As the Chinese saying goes, if you are down to your last two pennies, spend one on a loaf of bread and Buy a lily with the other.

I loved this post for the charity begins at home theme -it echoes my thoughts.
And to all who plan on changing the world, I urge you to read one of my favorite posts from Occams Razor.

4 comments:

kouji haiku said...

interesting.

for my part, i turn to sites like freerice, kiva, and goodsearch, as ways to help alleviate poverty online.

saw this post via the front page of blog action day. it's great that you're participating. :)

Ike said...

Thanks for the link back.

I'm one of those "ugly Americans" who is monolingual and has never traveled abroad. However, thanks to the internet, I have been able to open up the world by following writers from the places I could not go. (I'm proud to say you are one of three Indian bloggers I regularly read...)

My only caution would be in believing anything in the media as to the cause of a suicide. As a former journalist, I can tell you there is a toxic mix of laziness and assumption that goes into such reporting, and it's very tempting to roll with the story that "the economy pushed someone over the edge" and ignore the complex life circumstances and undiagnosed mental illness that contributes to suicides.

Deepa said...

@kouji haiku I have played the free rice online game. Online ways to reduce poverty like kiva too are a great way to connect causes and donors. Just saw your blog too- it is very popular blog! Congrats. I am very happy you visited and posted a comment- Thanks and hope to see you again.

Deepa said...

@ike Such a nice surprise to have you here- Welcome to India!*doing a namaste* :) The changing the world grad speech *is* one of my fav posts. It is also very evocative to the concept of 'Karma Yoga'.so thank you for writing it.

The reason I ramble here is secure in the fact no one reads it (and/or cares about what I write):D By saying you read it, you have made me nervous about updating my blog.

Thanks also for the perspective on the reporting angle. I was musing about how there are poor who starve and scrounge in dustbins and yet live-in hope. While seemingly healthy people have lost coping abilities.

I hadn't really planned to write a blogaction day post and it was a quick on the spur of moment write up on and I was drawing from the memory of some conversations I had with a relative of mine and her forays into charity/social work.

For my part, I am not celebrating diwali in any major way/having a very quiet diwali this year - so many poor people have died in floods and bombs this year it is very tragic.

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