Haves versus Have Nots – what is the solution? Do we have the courage to look the problem in the eye and commit time, money and energy to really think about it and solve it one step at a time? Or will be just safely jump to either extreme of ignorance/arrogance on one hand or deep, unrealistic sympathy on the other????

This was the comment posted by a friend in response to my post out in the open. This after some interesting comments we exchanged. Some of the comments were harsh I must confess, particularly when I read them the first time. But I have since long curbed my instinctive urge to react immediately and take time to read things over and over again. And then one sees things in another light altogether and this helps makes to one again make one of the now innumerable course corrections needed.

Two comments struck particularly hard.

If I was to extend your sympathy equally to all mankind a lot of human crime could be justified... I sat a long time wondering whether this could be true. Right from the outset of pwhy our effort has been towards attempting to empower people to stand on their own feet and take charge of their lives. That is why we chose to give jobs to local people, mostly unqualified, tried to hone the skills they had and show them that they could rise above their present station in life. Today over 40 people have been able to do so and not only that have been able to perform exceedingly well. My class IX drop outs are today primary teachers who ensure that all children under their care pass their examinations year after year! And our dream is to try and instill in our students the desire to go back to their place of origin with new skills and expertise and share it with others. My harangue against the wall was in no way a justification of people illegally occupying land, but against those who have allowed it to go on for decades to garner ever increasing vote banks; against those who have looked away for a the few pennies dropped in their bottomless pockets!

As far as extending sympathy equally to all mankind, that is an impossibility for any human and I am not supernal. I fully agree with that people are not born equal as my friend puts it, but at the same time all Indians are protected by a single Constitution that does give them some fundamental rights!

The other comment that struck me was: There is no doubt that India cannot be a decent, forget great country, if its children and its impoverished are not given help to rise above their limitations and earn a dignified living but allowing them to illegally occupy public property is NOT a solution…it is the kind of wishful thinking we need to avoid so we come up with more realistic, sustainable, solid answers…

This is exactly what I have been harping about for 9 years. And sadly those who are meant up to find the realistic, sustainable, solid answers have failed totally. It seems that no one has the courage to look the problem in the eye and commit time, money and energy to really think about it and solve it one step at a time?

This is evident in string of supposed solutions proffered with obsessive regularity by the law makers: a wall to solve a habitat problem, the have a girl leave her to us to solve female infanticide, designer uniforms to solve the abysmal state of government education ans so on. It is time that we as civil society reacted and made our voices heard. Just being armchair philosophers and not even moving out of it to exercise our franchise will perpetrate the state of votes for a pouch of hooch and governments that will continue their hidden and wily agendas.

India’s problems cannot be solved by a flick of a magic wand. It also needs all approaches and between extreme arrogance and unrealistic sympathy lies a middle path that tries to extend positive help and also attempts at trying to shake people out of the state of inertia they have allowed themselves to sink in.

In a land when Bhakti and Karma are both ways to reach the sublime, I guess our approach is also valid.