मेघदूत: "नीचैर्गच्छत्युपरि च दशा चक्रनेमिक्रमेण"

समर्थ शिष्या अक्का : "स्वामीच्या कृपाप्रसादे हे सर्व नश्वर आहे असे समजले. पण या नश्वरात तमाशा बहुत आहे."

G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

Friedrich Nietzsche: “Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same: whoever feels different goes voluntarily into a madhouse.”

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

सदानंद रेगे:
"... पण तुकारामाची गाथा ज्या धुंदीनं आजपर्यंत वाचली जात होती ती धुंदी माझ्याकडे नाहीय. ती मला येऊच शकत नाही याचं कारण स्वभावतःच मी नास्तिक आहे."
".. त्यामुळं आपण त्या दारिद्र्याच्या अनुभवापलीकडे जाऊच शकत नाही. तुम्ही जर अलीकडची सगळी पुस्तके पाहिलीत...तर त्यांच्यामध्ये त्याच्याखेरीज दुसरं काही नाहीच आहे. म्हणजे माणसांच्या नात्यानात्यांतील जी सूक्ष्मता आहे ती क्वचित चितारलेली तुम्हाला दिसेल. कारण हा जो अनुभव आहे... आपले जे अनुभव आहेत ते ढोबळ प्रकारचे आहेत....."

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Friday, February 15, 2008

Anglo-Saxon Attitude towards Poverty: Poor Criminally Responsible for their Position!

Recently when my wife’s cousin from US came visiting India after the gap of 22 years, we asked her: What was the biggest change she saw in India?

Her answer: Beggars less visible.

Better airport, roads and telecommunication came later. After some prompting!

I remember at Miraj when beggars came begging for food at our doorstep, our attitude towards them was not hostile. I particularly remember a daily ‘alms’ call of a beggar woman who always came just after we had finished our dinner. My mother often small-talked with her.

During Maharashtra famine of 1972-73, I remember vividly how the farm-workers, forced into beggary by the cruel circumstances, came streaming to our home. Their faces were blank, eyes empty.

Begging had been an accepted way of life in India. The great Buddha advised his followers to beg for food during earl part of the day to get fresh stuff!

“…That changed with the colonial rule.

To the Victorians, beggary embodied laziness and moral degeneration. Colonial laws held a beggar punishable for his condition. The newly-independent nation imbibed this Anglo-Saxon attitude towards poverty. “In the new millennium, the Government doesn’t want them lying around. Middle class India regards them as a nuisance.”

“India ’s beggary laws are a throwback to the centuries-old European vagrancy laws, which instead of addressing the socio-economic issues make the poor criminally responsible for their position,” says ace lawyer, Ram Jethmalani.

Consider the definition of the term ‘beggar’. The law describes a beggar as anyone who appears ‘poor’. Depending on the whim of a police officer, a ragpicker or a construction labourer, who has never begged in his life, can be picked up at random and incarcerated in a beggars’ home for up to three years.

“The antibeggar legislation is aimed at wiping the desperately poor off city radars so that they don’t prick our collective conscience,” he says...”

This and more startling facts come from India Today February 4, 2008 story on beggars: “Beggar’s banquet”.

· Rs 80 average daily income of beggars in metros.
· 75 per cent spend Rs 50 a day, 27% up to Rs 100.
· Most earn more than daily wage earners.
· Graduate and postgraduate beggars are increasing.
· More able-bodied beggars than disabled.
· Rs 25,000 average bank balance of beggars in Kolkata.
· 85 per cent beggars have no information about beggar homes.
· Rs 180 CR is the worth of Mumbai beggars.
· 14 per cent beggars have no expectation from the government.

Artist: Stan Hunt The New Yorker 12 May 1962

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