Tilting balances

I heard in my society today that there has been a big robbery in one of the apartments. The security guards seem to have been jolted awake and are now double timing as both detectives and gossip queens.
The first thing that crossed my mind when I heard about this incident is, what drives someone to rob? The obvious suspicion of a domestic robbery goes to the house help. The reasoning is that the maid or the driver has the most incentive to rob. So, why aren’t all maids thieves? Or all drivers kidnappers? What drives some people to take the risk of robbing someone?
I believe one of the major factors is the grave income inequality in the country. This is not just an economic term anymore. It’s a reality that can be observed on an everyday basis. We see vast amounts of wealth concentrated in a few people’s wallets.
The fact is, our social and political system has thrived on keeping a large part of the population poor and dependent. It is a known truth, not all of us have got equal opportunities to learn and earn. It is in the interest of the few that the many are weak, powerless and don’t have a voice.
Call it vote bank politics or simply a failure in policy. We as a society, as a community have taken solace in the fact that most of us are vulnerable and living a life that will never realize its full potential. After all, where is the fun in flaunting your wealth  if all of us have it?
If you look closely at India’s demographic, you will find that we are mostly living on two extreme ends of the wealth spectrum. We either have it in abundance or are struggling for survival. The middle class is still a trivial urban stastic in our nation. How can a country have the most number of millionaires co-exist with the most number of poor people?
The fruits of liberalization and development have trickled down in a highly skewed fashion. So on the one hand, you see even a very low-income labourer have a mobile in his hand and a TV in his house, he is still living in a hut with no sanitation facilities.
It is a curse to be poor in India. You are deprived of health facilities, justice, education and many basic rights. We have built a society in which the rich are revered and are always right. If you have the money, you can get away with almost anything. If you are poor, you sometimes even face the flak for something you might not have done!
Unlike other countries, it’s very easy to make out a rich person from a poor person in the first glance. They dress differently, they live differently and even live in two different Indias. For the rich, India is shining. For the poor, India is a mother who treats them as step children.
I believe that the person who was robbed today is as much to be blamed for the robbery as the robber himself.
A rich man in India will most definitely treat a poor man with disgust, doubt and contempt. It is our attitude towards people who are of a lower income class that is giving birth to thieves.
Do you have different cutlery and dishes for the servants in your house? Do you ask the servants to sit on the floor instead of the chairs? If yes, then you are as much to blame for the crimes in the society as the thieves themselves.
In many ways, we are pushing people to commit crimes to get out of the vicious circle of poverty and the shame that is associated with it.





(Featured Image: Wikimedia Commons)


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