Only if we could try and understand the situation of others, the world would have been a better place than it is today! This thought was not alien to me as it came into my mind many times since I was a child. I often used to think about it whenever I used to see donkeys getting beaten up by their masters and the children throwing stones at stray dogs and cats who in return could not do anything than just running away to escape.
However, this thought with time turned into observation. It started happening when I used to travel in my university bus. My university was at a long distance from my house so on the way, I had so many things to think about and observe around me.
Being an observer, I recall myself looking through the window of my university bus, trying to observe each and every person coming into my sight. I used to think what they have been up to and what they might be going through.
There is a quote by Ibn-E-Battuta that “Travel leaves you speechless, and then turns you into a storyteller.”
There is not an iota of doubt in it that travel does makes you a keen observer and it makes you notice not only people, but also God’s creations, scenic beauties and metaphors. It makes you think about the uncountable creations the world contains. While traveling you get the chance to observe different types of people, their ways of living, their daily life routines and ultimately it makes you recognize the one ultimate power of God who is behind all these creations and phenomenon. But unfortunately, nowadays the so-called Capitalist system created by human beings seems more prominent than God’s system. The system has created an even larger divide because of an unfair distribution of wealth between the rich and the poor (the bourgeoisie and the proletariat according to Karl Marx).
Sometimes I tried to picture myself at the other person’s place and tried to analyze what I could have been thinking had I been in his/her place. Let me share what I observed on the streets of a metropolitan city where each and every person stays busy with their own life and their own problems without even knowing what the other person standing/sitting just beside him/her is going through.
In the mornings, I saw people beginning their days with their daily life chores; I saw sweepers sweeping the porches of plazas often looking down on the ground lost in their thoughts sometimes with tension visible on their faces. I wondered what they might have been thinking and what I thought was that may be they were thinking about the problems they are having back in their homes. I often asked myself: “Is this all they will end up with?” as to me they did not seem very happy while they were doing it. We the elite and middle class often have goals in our lives which we want to fulfill and do all the hard work to achieve them. But these people still exist in the world who cannot even think about anything except of earning enough to meet their daily needs?
Isn’t it supporting status quo when we don’t notice them? When we don’t question ourselves that is this all they can do? I believe “individual mindset” is the biggest reason behind poverty.
You know it’s easy to lead an elite lifestyle, travelling in a luxury car, living in huge villas and criticizing status quo! A few things politicians and many social workers do these days. But it is never easy to fill someone's shoes.
I saw poor children looking at school and university buses and their eyes filled with a sense of longing. This one has been the most confusing one to me as it always made me wonder what they might have been thinking and sometimes I clearly felt like some of them just wanted to hop up the bus and go to school and have a happy childhood fraternity which they have been deprived of. But being a part of the underprivileged community didn’t let them have all those childhood benefits other children are enjoying.
Aren’t we as society feel helpless just considering this as part of the system? That the children from slums and poor families have no right to acquire education!
I have seen fathers standing with their young sons preparing them for work as they cannot provide them with education because of not being able to pay their school fee. I felt an expression of helplessness on their faces. Indeed, which father on earth would not want their child to study? And to be a better human being? But these poor fathers have to see their children grow up working in garages and workshops, bearing verbal and sometimes even physical abuse by the owners and the privileged ones.
Aren’t we in this way give consent to a practice like ‘Child Labor’ when we accept them as they are? When we let them doing such jobs for us and often by mistreating them?
I saw women travel in buses with their sick children in an environment which is hardly resistible for a sick person, but that is all they can do for the sake of their children. Children for whom hunger and happiness one can even starve him/herself.
Aren’t those mothers worth of making a secure future for their children?
I saw children (often below the age of 10) working in university cafes and serving the adults. A sense of longing always remained visible in their eyes. I saw them being mocked and laughed upon by the adults, being treated harshly and in a bad manner. I always thought and tried really hard to read their minds but couldn’t. It made me upset always to think what they might have been thinking when they get to see elder children studying and enjoying their lives with their friends?
Those maids who work in so-called rich houses are most of the times not even considered as Humans. They are abused (verbally and physically), harassed, deprived of basic necessities even after living in palaces and often are ridiculed and taken advantage of.
When I was a kid I used to make plans for my future life, list down my goals and consider the necessary tasks in order to fulfill them and this undoubtedly happens with most of us. But some people who are called poor are not born with such options and that simply is not their mistake. Our system instead of supporting and encouraging them makes them feel like their lives can never be changed. Living in 21st century, their lives are still miserable like the people of dark ages who used to live as slaves and serve a bunch of masters who were often called the emperors. They are maltreated, abused and are maligned in a way that no human deserves, in a way the slaves were treated in history.
It is tragic that God created all his creation equally but humans (the so-called superior beings) have made their own laws of in equality on which our society is prospering now.
If we still won’t speak against it, we will end up affirming it!