Festive Spirit, Poverty…And The Solution?
Why celebrity young men such as Prince William of England, or young leading politician Rahul Gandhi of India, decide to spend a night at a place where the “poorest of the poor” in society spend their entire lives? Publicity? However, such symbolic acts do catapult homelessness, poverty, mental illness, drug and alcohol dependency, family breakdown, and other social issues into limelight in the celebrity-oriented media.
The Hindustan Times stated: “Rahul Gandhi may spend night in Dalit (“untouchables”) home again. The Congress MP will go straight to Ghisauli village in the backward Bundelkhand region. He is to attend a programme organised by a local NGO. Details of his programme were being kept secret for security reasons.”
Similarly, The Times of London reports: “As a child Prince William was taken by his mother on a secret visit to see the homeless in a Centrepoint shelter, an experience that led to his becoming the charity’s patron a decade later. Now he has extended that commitment by spending a night sleeping rough in sub-zero temperatures on the streets of London.
“The Prince bedded down in an old sleeping bag in a doorway in the City of London, with no more than cardboard boxes to ease his discomfort.
“ ‘I think he got a couple of hours’ sleep,’ said a spokesman for the Prince, who was accompanied by the charity’s chief executive, Seyi Obakin, and his private secretary, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton. ‘They were all absolutely frozen by the morning’.” More here…
To meet the challenges thrown by several social issues in both the so-called developed and developing nations, the better off people need to get a first-hand experience of what it means to be on “the other side of the fence”.
I am reminded of Norman Ernest Borlaug (March 25, 1914 – September 12, 2009), an American agronomist, humanitarian, and Nobel laureate, who is considered father of the Green Revolution in India and elsewhere. He once said that poverty can be removed from India in a short time. How? Borlaugh’s short reply was: “Only if the ministers, politicians, and rich people go without food for three days!”
A good thought while enjoying this festive spirit…
(Photo top courtesy AP: Prince William – right)