Wise man says: “unless and until the voice of the marginalised comes out from within, nothing can be done”. So the whole of yesterday I was trying to find out how to bring out this inner voice. No, I am not marginalised but wanted to check how this piece of advice can be taken forward and the poor and marginalised can be offered an action plan. We just got lucky, I found the exact solution. Here’s a pic of how one will look after the inner voice has woken up:
But hey, don’t rush or jump for joy. The pic shows you how one will feel only after the 10th step. The 10th step is: “Be optimistic. Go forth positively in your day. The light is with you. Be blessed”. Before that there are 9 other steps like Prepare, Stop thinking, Connect with the masters, Send light to the world and so on. Once all the steps are followed the voice of the marginalised can come from within and the poor will not be poor anymore. So when Rahul Gandhi says “poverty is a state of mind” he is not wrong at all. All that he and the Congress need to do is direct the poor and marginalised to sites like “How to meditate with your inner voice” and they will gain freedom from poverty. So people ridiculed Rahul Gandhi again and trended #YoRahulSoDumb for his statement. Naturally, NDTV is very upset. The channel thinks people have selectively outraged over RG’s “poverty is a state of mind” statement rather than trying to understand him and his philosophy. Towards the end of their report on the episode, NDTV concluded with this:
He frequently interacts with the poor in remote villages as he did on Monday too in and around Allahabad, assuring them that, "my one and only political aim is that I want to tune my ears to the voice of the poor and the marginalised." That statement has, however, failed to trend.
All you people who didn’t read NDTV’s report are guilty of trending the wrong hashtag. Maybe something like #YoRahulInnerVoice should have trended instead. That would have made the folks at NDTV happy. So it seems from ‘Garibi Hatao’ the Congress is now down to redefining poverty almost every single day. Not just redefining poverty but it seems we have failed to holistically assess why people are poor. This wasn’t the first time that RG has spoken about it. On June15 when addressing a group of women in Kashmir valley this is what he said:
"We are with you. The whole nation is with you," Rahul told a gathering of women. "I have been all along asking bureaucrats what poverty is. But a woman from Uttar Pradesh answered me. She said 'when you don't have self confidence, you are poor; when you get the self confidence you are no longer poor'. It is up to you. No government, no bureaucrat can give this to you. And the day you get it, development would be very easy."
So you see, RG has been asking bureaucrats all along what poverty is. It’s not just a ‘state of mind’ but you’re poor if you don’t have self-confidence. And from “Garibi Hatao” it now comes down to ‘no govt can give this to you’. It’s not about meals at Rs.12 or Rs.5, all you need is self-confidence. This is a new management concept. All those management experts who founded the principle that confidence follows performance need education. For instance, players like Sachin Tendulkar or Rahul Dravid were confident first and so their performance followed. It’s not as if their confidence got a boost after their performance. This is a new discovery for all of us. Every first-timer at a new job can perform only if he or she has confidence from day-1.
There is a secret though, about this self-confidence before getting out of poverty. Gandhi cited the example of a poor woman in Amethi, who redeemed her self-esteem by getting associated with self-help group Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Vikas Pariyojana. Aha! That’s the secret. All the poor people need to do is get associated with such Pariyojanas. Now that’s a hint for all States and all Districts in the country to start ‘Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Vikas Pariyojana’. May be also have a separate unit for the poor men too. To the second part of RG’s statement on poverty after stating it’s just a state of mind: “It does not mean the scarcity of food, money or material things. If one possesses self-confidence, then one can overcome poverty”.
There isn’t food shortage as we all know. There isn’t shortage of material things as we all know. RahulG knows it better than all of us. How one gets away with rubbish and our TV channels can ignore such extreme mockery of poverty is a lesson on how to cover-up. Poverty stems from the lack of opportunities to earn the “money” that lead to a productive economic and healthy life. If money wasn’t the starting point why then have NREGA? After all, NREGA was supposed to provide some opportunity for employment and money as well. Looks like that scheme failed. At least the rural areas must continue seeking “confidence” and not opportunities that will bring them out of poverty. That’s the message.
There’s another reason for poverty apart from lack of self-confidence. Medical facilities! This is something that most people seem to have missed due to the overwhelming attention to ‘self-confidence’. This was when RG opened up another branch of the Kamala Nehru hospital and he said: “biggest cause of poverty in India is costly medical facilities which eat into a common man's savings leaving him penniless". So apart from lack of self-confidence, medical bills destroy people. Of course, there is no scarcity of money as he said. I remember the PM saying “money doesn’t grow on trees”. And RG goes on to narrate Arun Nehru’s death. Here’s the report from TOI:
“In his bid to justify the statement, Rahul also drew a comparison between the level of treatment which his relative (Arun Nehru), who died few days back, received at a multi-speciality hospital in New Delhi which boasts of five star facilities charging astronomical sums running into several lakhs as room rent per day. The rooms are sparkling while the equipments used are state of art. However, a common man cannot even dream of availing such facilities”. Well, who should know this better than Sonia Gandhi? Who rushes abroad for treatment despite such five-star facilities and state-of-the-art equipment in India?
It’s getting more and more difficult to understand the cause of poverty and poor people. Sometimes they don’t know meals are available at 12/- and 5/- Sometimes they lack self-confidence. And if at all they manage the meals and self-confidence, the medical bills will kill them. There’s no escape. I’m not so sure about the “state of mind” but I can definitely be sure some people are in a “State of the blind”.