Proliferating Poverty

Thursday, June 16, 2011 KELS 8 Comments Category :

 By Anam Fatima
      Of 2nd yr.

   I look at the flickering t.v screen. My countrymen, an abysmal picture of disconsolation. Wretched streets teeming with wretched people .Our masses, burning with anger, discontent, insecurity. They’ve been robbed all of them by those they deemed their saviors. Distrust is etched along the tired lines of their worn out faces that tell stories of their fruitless toil, while rage pours out foaming through their mouths accusing, questioning and even imploring for an answer….
No food, no electricity, no employment, too little to live on and too many mouths to feed, they lament as each one takes turn on the microphone. Some of them want to commit suicide and others want to sell their kids. The T.V reporter after hearing them through sweeps them with a satisfactory glance and then faces the camera with a victorious expression, assured that he has scored some big point. Then he goes on pompously with his own little commentary about the deplorable state of the ‘masses’.
    Go over this picture once again. There is a man threatening to sell all of his nine kids in his protest against poverty. He becomes the focal point of our media and is showered with sympathy from all sides. His life story is told ten times yet no one asks him a simple question. Why did he have nine kids in the first place when he could afford barely one? This question addresses the root of his problems, but is sadly not considered significant enough to be put in front of national television audience. The real irony is that the small privileged segment of our society which can well afford to have 10 kids almost invariably opt for a smaller family size. These kids get everything that all children deserve: an idyllic childhood, best education and best opportunities. Then there’s this destitute with his 10 kids. One always wonders what could possibly possess a poverty stricken man to exponentially increase his misery. Children are indeed blessings ,but when their parents cannot pass anything to them except poverty, disease and hunger  then I’m afraid we need to redefine the terms. Isn’t it cruel on part of the parent? Its injustice to the existing children and injustice to the coming child. A handful of these children may attend school, but in the long run what difference does it make? The deplorable standards of a govt. school not to mention the lack of teachers and overcrowding of students , combine that with the child’s domestic environment where the mother is always busy with his younger siblings, and we have a perfect recipe for disaster. The child may runaway from school at a younger age and become a criminal, and even if he gets a high school diploma he’s most likely to end up as a low paying clerk .In the cut throat competitive world of academics, except for a handful of exceptional kids there is simply no place for a govt. school matriculate. So, the people who are opting for larger families, definitely don’t have their kid’s welfare in mind. What else could be the reason? CHILD LABOUR? Perhaps yes!  This possibility seems the most harrowing one but its true in many cases. Poor households send their little daughters to work as housemaids, while their sons go to factories or automobile garages, working in grueling conditions, while their parents receive their paychecks. Appalling! Isn’t it? Parents are putting up their children for slavery. Their sons and daughters are beaten and abused and their childhood stolen for reasons unknown to them. How can they blame their demanding mistress, or their brutal master, when their own parents put them in this hell? Who can they blame when they grow up into thieves and liars ,because there was no one to teach them right from wrong? These children grow up into walking landmines, an easy prey for the manipulative minds. They are the hitmen , who go on death rows while the real gangster roams freely .They are the foolish weapons of political parties, rebels without a cause ,burning up tires and buildings, raising slogans the meaning of which they don’t understand. And finally they are the blind believers of a holy man, fed up with this life, ready to blow themselves up in hope of eternal salvation, or maybe to settle a score with the society.
      Overpopulation is no longer a ticking time bomb. It has already exploded and the devastation has shaken the very foundations of prosperity. High mortality rate among mothers and infants, inaccessibility of health facilities, depletion of resources they are just naming a few among a plethora of problems stemming from overpopulation. But I regret to say that there are people in this country who are so blinded by their idea of righteousness, that they will point fingers towards everything from government, to bureaucracy to America, blaming them for the lack of planning. Simple answer is if the people themselves are not willing to plan their families, then how can the govt. deliver in such a scenario when people are bent on social suicide. Statistics indicate that over 75% of population has knowledge of family planning methods, yet only a meager 1.5% practice them. Awareness is there but incentive and firm implementation is needed. Here comes the role of media. They’ve been trumpeting their horn for a long while now. It’s time they start doing something more than mere speculation. How about Mr. Hamid Mir taking a trip down Lahore’s slums and this time not just letting people sing songs of apathy but actually confronting those  who’ve made lethal choices for themselves and this country.
      At the same time child labour on every level should be abolished. We need to start from our homes, in discouraging this evil trend of child maids. Govt. laws should effectively punish not only the employers of child labour but the parents of these children as well. We need to pave way for a future where children are cherished like flowers, not mutilated like weeds.



  1. very beautifully written Anam..
    great job done..! =)

  2. its been a long time since u ppl uploaded a post! Finally it is here! great job anam:)

  3. the thing is that we rarely look at things in ways other than the media propagates them. Might be that media be presenting the picture completely, but that's rare too....
    they say youth should come up in leadership, well youth is there in media , what's result??? i guess if not zero, its no more than a failing percentage, the point is, the needed people are sincere people .......with sense of responsibility being population tamers ........(unfortunate taming though)
    anyways after that beat about the bush :P, anam that was amazingly written.......:)

  4. as for overpopulation that indeed is a big challenge, and management is quite tough, to avoid the charity based management people themselves must consider the dilemma which is being aggravated day by day , and the proper education on the "resources v/s over population" subject should be encouraged to the rural most nooks

  5. Well, a pessimistic essay from the only optimist I know other than my mother . Anyways a great write-up on a very thought-provoking issue(I guess this thought provoking part sounds quite a cliché but my heat-bamboozled mind failed to come up with a more apposite phrase, buddy). While going through this blog I couldn’t repress a smile recalling that day in the university auditorium when we, the humble polemics that we are; waiting for the honoured chief guest- the CM Sahib; started this polemical prattle. And once again I beg to differ on only one point that somehow it’s very difficult or nearly impossible for the illiterate masses of our land to free their abysmally naïve minds from the sordid patriarchal norms and specious religious teachings they are taught by the illiterate mullahs that we unfortunately have. Considering the fact that to bring a paradigm shift in a mob so unenlightened alongwith their ignorance nurtured arrogance is a Herculean task, I deem it a probable impossibility(to quote Aristotle) if not an improbability. And for this task I fail to trust the pathetically masochist media that we have, competing with each other to show the bleeding contusions of the nation rather than acting the Messiah and finding remedy to it. Education with love and kind manoeuvres seems to be the only way to counteract this overpopulation and poverty question and for this we can trust the lady health workers programme initiated by Mauhtarma Benazir Bhutto.

  6. The thing is that i dont believe that coaxing and cajoling people alone,through education is going to solve the problem here.Thanx to our media we've become a nation of finger pointers.We all throw stones at the establishment and want to play the victims.Apathy has seeped to the the very roots of this nation.If we want to tackle this population issue,we need to fight the cantankerous psyche heads on.Practical,logical steps,that'll make people stop.1ST could be to make sure that every child attends school.In u.s back in 20s and 30s when southern parents wouldn't send their kids to school,govt started jailing the parents,and it proved to be very effective. 2ndly having a child costs nothing in this country which is probably why a certain sector of society do it on recreational basis. For instance having a child costs around $10000-$25000 which is around 1/3rd of an american income.Automatically in western world there is a concept of planned parenthood.Similar measures should be taken here such as taxing those who have large families.And the most effective solution is of course empowering women.And yes lady health program was a remarkable initiative,because it tackled the problem from grass root level.
    As for our theological sect,there are many religious school of thoughts that have no objection on family planning.In fact there was a lot of text written on this subject in medieval times by prominent muslim ulmahs.
    @attiya thanx....n yes they should specifically teach about population disasters at all levels

  7. Well, your first lines to me and those to Attiya are a paradox. Isn't teaching about population disaster synonymous with educating the naive or arrogance stiffened ignorant minds? I dare to presume it is. The point is Anam, that owing to the blame game that our nation has learnt and now loves to play, thanks to the idiotic media personnels, their conscience and self-analytical approach has died. and though its my own philosophy but i guess that when this happens your response to any 'bhalai ki baat' tends to be nill since your 'zameer' has died. So, since you yourself said that we need to adopt pactical and logical steps to counteract this behemoth issue, i find wheedling(if you say so, otherwise i don't find education worth to be called this) the most appropriate strategy to blow away the cantankerous psyche. Even to ensure that every child of our dear motherland goes to school would require radical transformations in our dystrophic system; I fear nobody abides by law in our land, so passing a new legislature and enforcing a new law wouldn't suffice here as it might have done in America. May Allah help us in solving out this mess, whichever of the two approaches proves the best wouldn't matter in the end.

  8. Fatirah yar, i am not against education,i said it alone wont tackle the issue.Because in the end its a soft approach,it would hardly affect child labour.But as for law, with some backing from media and civil society it can effectively combat this evil.
    And the reason i gave the example of u.s was because back in 20s the southern states were practically anarchists.But the fear of prison made them send their kids to school