My recent experiences during my visit to India

Beggars wait for alms during Eid al-Fitr in Allahabad, India, Monday, Sept. 21, 2009. Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. (AP Photo/ Rajesh Kumar Singh)

The haves and have nots of India

I have noticed how the rich seem to get richer and the poor stay poor in India. Everyone seems to give more and more to those that are in a good position, particularly those who have good status, are popular, and of course mainly if they are government officials or politicians. The haves and have nots are entrenched. I cannot really say how much or what exactly is being accomplished by their increasing wealth, but things don’t seem to be getting any better.

Rules of the road

As one example, the roads are in bad shape, especially since there are no rules or any proper structure that has been implemented for regulation of traffic. Every one creates their own lanes and rules without order. There is even preferential treatment with regards to clearance of traffic for those who are famous and popular. This ends up creating worse traffic conditions for the rest of the population. The list goes on…

It’s ironic to observe all this, because to bring about any change and progress (such as fixing the infrastructure) and in order to get things done, the underprivileged and unskilled workers are vital, yet no one takes care of them. The underprivileged do not have the opportunity to enjoy and eat the crops they work hard to grow, or live in the proper accommodations they work so hard to build. How sad is that??

An abundance for some, a pittance for others

For a country where there is a high percentage of impoverished citizens, I see food being served everywhere in abundance to those that can afford this “luxury”. But I do not see even one shelter or establishment to feed the poor, or at a minimum to provide clean water to those who are on the streets begging in the hot sun.

Among some of the charity projects that I involve myself during my annual visit to India, my most favorite is to address some of the rudimentary needs of all humans. I go to areas where underprivileged and poor are predominant and I try to serve them by offering food or money at least once every time I am in India.

As I travel through various places within the country I have noticed how much food gets wasted and discarded instead of redistributing the excess to those in need. Why isn’t there a system in place? The number of beggars seems to have increased and yet there is no sign of any future plan being created to take care of these people that are starving and have no place to go.

NGOs try to make a difference

One of the NGO groups that I support and work with, aims to protect and educate abandoned children. Their goal is to get them off of the streets, where they are being forced into child labor, begging, and various unlawful activities. The government allots a certain amount of funding to the DEO (District Education Office) to provide midday meals to all the public government school children as well as other independent NGO facilities. Yet they keep the majority of the funds, and are apparently “sending food that lacks nutrition and is cheap, that is not even fit to be eaten by dogs.”

I am ashamed to point out all these observations that I have come across so far during my annual trip here. I have also observed how difficult it is for some of the independent NGOs to get any support from the government.  Greed, corruption, selfishness and insensitivity abound toward many established organizations such as Nandi (a well known organization that handles the majority of humanitarian projects from the government).

Spiritual freedom requires bodily health

For a country where its civilization is based on spiritual freedom and oneness, most of the population does not seem to put what it stands for into practice. India’s vitality is its spiritual culture, which has been long established for centuries. This is evidenced by their customs and way of life. This just does not seem to matter when it comes to addressing the needs of the poor and underprivileged.

How can a nation change when people and their mentality do not change? Evolution demands change….

I believe in saying something when I observe something, hoping for things to change. So when you notice something that is not right say something. It is our right.

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