Ibn-e-khaldun was a great social scientist and anthropologist who said that human society is similar to the human body; if one part of the body is not properly performing its functions, the whole body would not be able to work. The same is true for human society, if a segment of a society is marginalized or kept backward, the rest of the society will also be in trouble. 

The problem with the elite of the word, especially the third world countries is that it is unable to understand that they cannot fee safe in the presence of a large number of poor, illiterate and hungry population. They have an illusion of being safe in their villas and grand vehicles and loath the poor whom they consider the burden on the earth. They do not feel any responsibility to ameliorate the miserable plight of the poor. Consequently, the latter are left at the mercy of the forces of nature to suffer, to die and to wither away. How the rich cannot understand that the millions of illiterate and hungry people will turn into extremist mobs, robbers, and suicide bombers. It is quite simple to understand that one would prefer death to life when one’s life becomes more horrible than death. 

Lamentably, everywhere we hear that magnificent progress has been made and such a stupendous increase in GDP has been observe, but everywhere, even in the highly developed northern countries, we see millions of homeless and jobless people who cannot afford a decent life. Arundhati Roy has rightly said that we are told that the number of billionaires are increasing in India, but they do not tell us that the number of mal-nourished and stunt children are horribly increasing and slum population is burgeoning in the big cities of India. It means that it is not fair to gauge the level of development from the number or height of plazas and shopping malls, rather the standard of living of the common population should be the yardstick to measure progress. The same is true regarding our own country where the number of roads and bridges have increased at the cost of health and education. Obviously, infrastructure is necessary for economic progress but not as much important as health and education. 

The rich should get rid of the illusion of safety, which they themselves have created by erecting walls and building separate societies in order to console themselves and should also face the reality that the day is not far away when they would find no place to roam freely or to live without fear. How on earth would they be able to enjoy all their wealth and riches in the presence of millions of hostile people. The widening disparity among the rich and the poor is also increasing hatred against each other; both deem each other anathema and parasite. 

In the end, we can sum up that it is the responsibility of the rich, and of those, who are in the helm of affair, to uplift those who are living in the darkness of ignorance and poverty that breed crime and hatred. They have no excuse to escape from their responsibility as they are in the position to bring some positive change in the lives of millions of the poor. Moreover, they should not do it with some moral superiority, rather with the sense that they owe it to the poor whom they have deprived of their legitimate rights. Lastly, they should do it not for the poor but for themselves, for their own sake and if they really want to enjoy their own lives. 

TAYYAB BUTT,  

Sialkot, July 3.