Two typical cases of Poverty

Urban case

Thirty-three-year-old Ram Saran works as a daily-wage labore r in a wheat flour mill near Ranchi in Jharkhand. He manages to earn around Rs. 1,500 a month when he finds employment, which is not often. The money is not enough to sustain his family of six - which includes his wife and four children aged between 12 years to six months. He has to send money home to his old parents who live in a village near Ramgarh . His father a landless laborer, depends on Ram Saran and his brother who lives in Hazaribagh , for sustenance. Ram Saran lives in a one-room rented house in a crowded basti on the outskirts of the city. It’s a temporary shack built of bricks and clay tiles. His wife Santa Devi, works as a part-time maid in a few houses and manages to earn another Rs 800. They manage a meager meal of dal and rice twice a day, but there’s never enough for all of them. His elder son works as a helper in a tea shop to supplement the family income and earns another Rs 300 , while his 10- year-old daughter takes care of the younger siblings . None of the children go to school. They have only two pairs of hand-me-down clothes each. New ones are bought only when the old clothes become unwearable. Shoes are a luxury. The younger kids are undernourished . They have no access to healthcare when they fall ill.


Rural case

Lakha Singh belongs to a small village near Meerut in Uttar Pradesh. His family doesn’t own any land, so they do odd jobs for the big farmers. Work is erratic and so is income. At times they get paid Rs 50 for a hard day’s work . But often it’s in kind like a few kilograms of wheat or dal or even vegetables for toiling on the farm through the da y. A family of eight cannot always manage two square meals a day. Lakha lives in a kuchha hut on the outskirts of the village. The women of the family spend the day chopping fodder and collecting firewood in the fields. His father a TB patient, passed away two years ago due to a lack of medication. His mother suffers from the same disease and life is slowly ebbing away. Although the village has a primary school, Lakha never went there. He had to start earning when he was 10 years old. New clothes happen once in a few years. Even soap and oil are a luxury for the family.

The above two typical cases illustrate many dimensions of poverty.


Dimensions of Poverty

  • Poverty means hunger and lack of shelter.

  • It also is a situation in which parents are not able to send their children to school or a situation where sick people cannot afford treatment.

  •  Poverty also means a lack of clean water and sanitation facilities. It also means a lack of a regular job at a minimum decent level.

  • Above all, it means living with a sense of helplessness. Poor people are in a situation in which they are ill-treated at almost every place , in farms, factories, government offices, hospitals, railway stations, etc.

  • One of the biggest challenges of independent India has been to bring millions of its people out of abject poverty.

  • Mahatama Gandhi always insisted that India would be truly independent only when the poorest of its people become free of human suffering.
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Davneet Singh

Davneet Singh has done his B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He has been teaching from the past 14 years. He provides courses for Maths, Science, Social Science, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science at Teachoo.