Poverty is a passive religion
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Every individual, poor or rich, has freedom to enjoy the sun, moon, nature and sex. Being born poor doesn't mean you've to submit to poverty as an inherited religion. Getting people's sympathy is drowning in a tsunami of self pity that sucks you inside out. I hated the poverty I was born into because of its power to contaminate you towards lethargy and idleness. I travel throughout the country for my work today, and often get demoralised with conditions of helplessness people find themselves in.
Returning from a remote village one day, the driver wanted some rest, and stopped the car near a brickfield. Looking at bricks from a design perspective brought back memories of our refugee colony brickfield. I can't explain why artistic features thrilled me at childhood, like bricks being designed, ingeniously arranged in rows so they wouldn't stick together, then going for firing. So much mud was consumed in brick-making that three ponds got created around the brickfield. During monsoon, water would flood across the ponds leaving us no pathway to the outside. Supported by our entire refugee colony, my father managed the socio-political altercation of getting the brick-making license cancelled. I remember the brick manufacturer came with a bagful of bribe-money, but my father threw him out.
Curiosity made me get off the car to check out brick-making today. I found many children and women working here, their faces darkened. Suddenly my driver was running behind me. He forced me to leave quickly. A friend later informed me that women workers in many such brickfields and other low-paying manual jobs are virtually bonded laborers; men who come to dump mud or take delivery of bricks often have abusive sex with them. It was really painful when he revealed they were perhaps compelled to give their bodies to protect their livelihoods. Unless the poor avoid passive, submissive poverty, and claim their own rights by pressing for modernising the brick-making process that respects their dignity, protects their health and gives them a decent salary, no brickfield owner will change this situation.
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