Poverty is a Blessing Not a Curse
Jesus states in Mathew 5 : 3, “Blessed are the poors in spirit of theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Does anyone know what it is like to be poor in free spirit ? It is being emptied of all selfishness and greed. It is being crushed to the point of humility. It is a blessing, indeed.
Now, let me tell you how it is a blessing to be a poor. Has anyone ever considered why the poor are often self-less and kind ? How many times have you heard of people in the city sharing home spaces, sleeping on the same bed, sharing the same plate of food ? I once heard of a two separate sets of families that shared a single dwelling space, one room, in the inner city; one set would sleep for part of the night then get up and the other would go for sleep for the rest of the night. This kind of selflessness can hardly be found among the rich, whose poorer family members can hardly enter their dwelling spaces.
It is not a light thing when Jesus says “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.” With such statement as this I would consider poverty as a blessing, not a curse.
Poverty teaches one values of the fruit of hardship one goes through. The idea of poverty can be different for different people. For example, owning a car can be a luxury for someone, and getting two time meal every-day can be getting out of poverty for someone. Poverty always teaches one to work hard to sustain himself and his family in the nature. It teaches one the values of every-thing in nature from water for drinking to salt for vegetable.
One always dreams of getting out of poverty but the things he faces while being poor teach him a lot. A poor person always has a goal and works hard to achieve it. He curbs the laziness and becomes more agile even after being rich a lot.
A person grief stricken by poverty will always be sympathetic towards others. He tends to move other people out of poverty once he becomes rich. He believes in the idea of, ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ as he always wanted his other poor fellow mates to rise in the society. He will adjust in all kinds of situations and compromise on certain things.
Children raised in poverty always believe in hardwork. They would always work hard to achieve their dreams and make their parents proud. They never let their parents hard earned money and hardships go in vain. For example, we have seen how a ragpicker’s son makes his parents proud by securing a seat in AIIMS Jodhpur.
In this way, we have seen how poverty turns out to be a blessing for one rather than a curse in longer run in life.
“Poverty is the wicked man’s tempter, the good man’s perdition, the proud man’s curse, the melancholy man’s halter.” —Bulwer
At the heart of every human experience is the desire to survive and prosper, to live without fear, hunger or suffering. Poverty can’t be termed as a blessing because it refers to that state or condition which fails to provide minimum necessities of life. Poverty leads to extreme lower standards of living, denying even the basic requirements of life to a vast majority of population. When a substantial segment of population is deprived of minimum standard of living, that society is said to be plagued with mass poverty. No individual or country is absolutely rich or poor. Adam Smith says, “Man is poor or rich according to the degrees in which he can afford to enjoy the necessaries, conveniences and amusements of life.” The form of these minimum necessities however changes, with variation in place and time. Poverty is generally manifested in terms of low incomes, inadequate housing, poor health, limited or no education, high infant mortality and in most cases a general sense of despodency and despair.
Poverty is a curse for any country or human being. Although many countries are facing this problem to some extent, it is a havoc in various African and Asian countries. In a developed country a person without car may be called poor but that is not the case with developing nations. Goswami Tulasidas has rightly said that there is no other sorrow in this world than poverty. And it is the truth that a person who is hit by poverty is ready to do anything for his survival. In earlier times, man-kind was very much dependent on nature for its survival when there were no equipments or machines, a poor man could lead a satisfied life but now a days the situation has become so bad that a person has to spend money even to buy safe drinking water. The world today also presents a picture of appalling con-trasts. Some of the countries, though a few in number, are fabulously rich. Included among these are the countries of Western Europe, North America and the oil rich economies of the middle east. On the other hand, nearly three-fourths of the world population, inhabiting most of the countries of Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe, can barely afford even a minimal existence. Majority of the people in these countries live amidst misery, squalor and hunger. The contrast seems to be all the more stunning when we find that these poor nations accounting for seventy per cent of world population have only a fifteen per cent share in the world income whereas the rich nations with just one-sixth of the world’s population, claim over seventy per cent of the global income. In between these low-income and high-income nations lie the middle-income countries of Eastern Europe, such as Poland, Hungary, Russia etc. which account for about 12 per cent of world population and a similar proportion of world income. The extent of income inequality among various countries of the world can be judged from the fact that per Capita Gross National Income (GNI) in Norway is over 400 times higher than the per capita GNI in Ethiopia, Burundi, Cango etc. that are among the poorest countries in the world. Such widespread disparities in income and living standards among different countries pose a great threat to world peace and the international economic order.
“While humanity shares one planet, it is a planet on which there are two worlds, the world of the rich and the world of the poor.”
Poor are the people who have been left far behind in the race of modernisation and industrial development, and therefore continue to remain poor. They don’t have any built-in growth, propelling forces and thus require an enormous amount of effort to bring about any appreciable or meaningful development in their stagnating livelihood. Because of this, serious efforts are now underway to lift them out of the depths of centuries old stagnation and poverty. The gravity of poverty can be gauged from the statement of a poor woman from Uganda which is as—
“When one is poor, she has no say in public; she feels inferior. She has no food, so there is famine in her house; no clothing and no progress in her family.”
Poverty brings with it many miseries and unhappiness to the sufferer. It brings mental instability in a person due to which his entire family suffers and this suffering passes on from one generation to another generation. A person living in poverty cannot think beyond arranging his two times meal. Education and awareness become secondary to him. Quantity of food available per head of poor population is meagre and quality is invariably indifferent. Nutritional content of consumption is grossly inadequate and hunger, starvation and disease are fairly widespread. It manifests itself in its starkest form in the shape of ill-clad, semi-starved, deprived millions of the rural masses who do not have the means of meeting their barest minimum nutritional requirements.
There are three core values of economic development of any country viz., life sustenance : ability to meet basic needs; self esteem and freedom from servitude. Due to poverty, these core values are badly affected. Poverty erodes self esteem of a person and the person becomes slave of his miseries; he can’t make choices; he has to just survive on whatever he possesses. A poor person’s life expectancy is less than 45 years on an average. Poverty also results in under employment, adult illiteracy and gender inequality. Gender inequality is the result of sufferings of female population due to poverty in respect of reproductive health, education, empowerment and labour market participation. The declining gender ratio can be attributed to poverty as the poor person doesn’t want a girl child. Despite various measures to tackle poverty, this problem has not yet vanished from the world. There is no denying the fact that a person in immense poverty resorts to commit crimes more easily than the others. Most of the criminals, terrorists and anti social elements are the poor people. They resort to such acts when they couldn’t find suitable job after completing their education and want to become rich overnight. If we look at the plight of poor peasants, we can easily feel as to how a poor farmer struggles through his entire life to support his family and the country as a whole. He is at a loss when this production yield is low due to climatic conditions or market fluctuations. There are instances when farmers have taken huge loans from banks to sustain their agriculture and later were unable to repay it. Large scale suicides committed by farmers in Maharashtra clearly support the view that poverty is a curse. Cases of suicides have also happened when-ever there are cases of famine or other natural calamities that have made normal people poorer. However, there is no end to this curse. It has become the grave concern of all nations because it has weakened even the strongest ones. Various schemes, programs, plans are underway to alleviate this curse. The world can’t be termed as peaceful until or unless this curse is alleviated completely because by eradicating poverty many other problems engulfing the peaceful society can be tackled easily. To conclude, let us look at the famous quote by Turkish Spy–
“Poverty eclipses the brightest virtues, and is the very sepulcher of brave designs, depriving a man of the means to accomplish what nature has fitted him for, and stifling the noblest thoughts in their embryo. Many illustrious souls may be said to have been dead among the living, or buried alive in the obscurity of their condition, whose perfections have rendered them the darlings of Providence, and companions of angels.”