Years of hard work: only a few sacks of trash
RAWALPINDI: June 28, 2010: Sacks of trash and a worn out dress is all she has got after a lifelong struggle and endurance imprinted on her face in abundance. The miserable yet graceful woman in the picture speaks volumes about the system prevailing in the country without articulating a single word.
She represents millions of people who have been leading an insignificant existence in our society. We see them with glances of indifference being too busy to notice the millions of souls who rot around us every day.
The deplorable condition of the woman has a strong implied message too. These old shoulders were not destined to bear the weight; it is surely someone else’s liability. This is the true face of social justice in Pakistan. A society, where a poor is punished severely for stealing a ‘chapati’, and bank defaulters enjoy all privileges; where long years of honest hard work are reduced to trash and corruption prevails as the utmost skill to earn prosperity, would only breed chaos and hopelessness. No matter what they do, their lives will never witness any change in their condition. On the other hand, a small segment of society has been given access to all available resources and all luxuries which one can think of.
It is a fact that progress of an individual means progress of the nation as a whole. Ignoring one class of society and espousing the other would never yield encouraging results. Bridging the gap between the haves and have-nots is the only remedy for this chronic syndrome, but no pragmatic effort has been made in this regard.
If years of hard work do not change one’s condition, it means there is something seriously wrong with planning and management at national level. An individual’s fruitless struggle is a testament to the nation’s lack of direction. We, as a society, have been drifting aimlessly hoping to reach somewhere but we seem lost in the middle.
It is time that society must plan to bring these people to the mainstream social activity. Well-directed and focused policies must be devised to achieve such targets. Collaboration between public and private sector can produce results but, above all, the issue needs to be dealt with strong political will and determination.
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