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Great Expressions

Below the sarkari line

Since last five decades our government is struggling to fix a universal criteria to characterize the poor and present criteria (Tendulakar committee) says that the people in rural area who are consuming more than 22.42 Rs per day and  28.65 Rs in urban area are not poor. Even after this ridiculous criteria 354.68 mn (planning commission 2012) poor people are below than poverty line in India.

Oxford Poverty and Human development Initiative (OPHI) in 2010 states that eight Indian states together have a larger population below the poverty line than the entire population of 26 poorest African countries combined.

Last point but most important- since last two five year plans (11th and 12th) our government is focusing on INCLUSIVE GROWTH.

I read a poem in recently released “State of India’s Livelihoods Report 2012”. I found that poem was heart touching and depicts ugly picture of economic jargon; that I am sharing here.

Here I am with my story

Here I am with my story

*I was merely poor, very poor.

I had no food to eat
No clothes to hide my shame
No roof over my head.
You, the very soul of benevolence,
You came to me and said:
“No, ‘poor’ is an ugly word,
It robs people of human dignity,
No, you’re actually poverty-stricken.”

Stricken by relentless poverty,
My days of suffering,
My days of pain,
Ran on day after day,
I wasted away.
Suddenly, you appeared again, and said:
“Look, I’ve been thinking about it,
Poverty-stricken’ isn’t a good word either;
You’re impoverished.”

My days and nights in chronic impoverishment,
Panting in the furnace of summer,
Shivering in the chill of winter nights,
Soaking in the monsoon rain
I became more and more impoverished.
But you are tireless,
You came to me again, and said:
“Impoverishment makes no sense.
Why must you be impoverished?
You have always been deprived,
You’re deprived, historically deprived.”

There was no end to my deprivation,
To bed half-fed year after year,
To bed in the street, under the naked sky,
I had a skeletal existence.
But you did not forget me,
This time, your clenched fist raised high,
You called out:
“Awake, arise, ye dispossessed!”

By then, I had not the strength to rise,
Hunger had almost finished me,
My rib cage rose and fell like bellows,
I could not keep up with
Your enthusiasm and excitement.

**Long days have passed in the meantime,
You are now wiser,
And smarter.
This time, you have brought a blackboard with you,
On it, with great care, and with some chalk,
You have drawn a perfectly straight line;
This time you’ve had to work hard,
You wipe the sweat from your brow and tell me:
“See this line? Below it,
Way below it, is where you are…

You are in Below Poverty line; How amazed I defined you finally.

Thank you, thank you so much!
Thank you for my poorness,
Thank you for my poverty,
Thank you for my impoverishment,
Thank you for my deprivation,
Thank you for my dispossession,
And finally, thank you for that long and perfect line,
Thank you for this bright and shining gift.*

Daaridra-rekha (Poverty Line) by the late Tarapada Ray – A Bengali poem  translated into English by Antara Dev Sen    Link-http://www.asianage.com/columnists/below-sarkari-line-231


About Yogesh

Exploring self.


2 thoughts on “Below the sarkari line

  1. Nice one…thanks for sharing. I hope you will be writing like this always.

    Posted by Amarendra | December 4, 2012, 7:12 am
  2. Thanks sir for sharing this…
    it tells appall situation rural & poor have…

    Posted by Shalini Pandey | December 20, 2012, 5:37 am

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