Living in an indifferent society

If you are living in Lahore, Karachi or any big city of Pakistan, you must have seen the beggar children with a broken arm or amputated legs or a bleeding organ at every traffic Pakistan Povertysignal. During last 3-4 years, the number of such children and adults in every big city has increased alarmingly. They knock at the car windows and people generally give them money immediately just to avoid looking at them because they are in such a bad shape.

I have seen people just lying on a side of roads with both their legs and arms amputated and somehow they drag themselves around and we, the people from passing by cars, throw some coins at them. There are variety of cases, from severe burns to bleeding organs. I have even seen one young guy near Barkat Market, Lahore (near that famous fresh juice shop) with part of his skull fractured and I could actually see some part of his brain.

Sadly, everybody knows that organized gangs are behind these horrific crimes who have successfully established this highly profitable business. Yet we are least bothered about it. The level of indifference that exists in our society today which allows us to ignore this extreme height of human misery, to me, is the most striking aspect. The ease with which we have accepted this as a part of something ‘usual’ is equally shocking. This should have been considered crime against humanity; but it is now seen as ‘sad but routine.’

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I have personally seen children of age 7-8 years and young men who were perfectly alright and then suddenly after a few weeks I saw them at traffic signals with their legs and arms amputated. It breaks my heart to see all this happening in front of our eyes and we are unable to prevent it. Last week, I decided to take photographs of such beggars around the Kalima Chowk area so that I could post them on ATP or elsewhere, hoping that someone would see them and decide to do atleast something about this issue. So I picked out one of the beggars and just when I was about to click, he looked at me and there was so much pain and suffering in his eyes that I couldn’t click the camera button. I felt like I was making fun of him and treating him like a caged animal which we show our kids in a zoo.

When I was a kid, I was taught never to give out money to beggars because they are professionals and blah blah. As I grew up and developed some sense of economics, I realized that until our society keeps on failing to fulfill its responsibility towards its less fortunate members, by not giving them money we only add to their suffering and make life more miserable for them. I once read somewhere that throughout history it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered the most, that has made it possible for evil to triumph. Today’s Pakistan represents people in all three categories.

If over a million people in a country like Lebanon can peacefully demonstrate for their rights, why can’t we here in Pakistan? But sometimes when we try to do, we are treated like the young man in the Adil Bhai’s earlier post.

I wonder, therefore, are we really living in a dead society?

1 Comment so far

  1. Sabyn (unregistered) on January 19th, 2007 @ 2:50 am

    We have you, ..we are not living in a dead society.

    Its not good to be too sensitive, you should balance well in order to focus towards the ways and means to eliminate begging. We can take steps on individual basis, if we want to…hay na?

    May God help us.



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