Winter isn’t everyone’s favourite

As the mercury drops and the numbing cold shrouds the atmosphere, many families might be enjoying the chilly weather while huddling around the fire, sipping on hot soup and eating dry fruits

It might be a period of celebration, romance, relaxation and recharge for the rich and well-off

It might be a season where they are able to rest and thrive on their savings, or feast on a high caloric diet without doing much

But for the underprivileged and the destitute, winter is a season of torment and agony

For those living below the poverty line, it is a time of anxiety and deprivation

While rich families enjoy the warmth, the music and the happiness, the screams of hungry children shivering in the cold echo from the shabby mud houses of the hapless

Nearly half of the population of the country lives below the poverty line and faces numerous daily challenges

The winter season multiplies their pain and anguish

Already malnourished and handicapped by severe financial constraints, these poor bread-earners cannot even afford warm clothes for their families

Instead they have to make do with covering their shabby huts with curtains and pieces of clothes that they salvage from the streets

Health complications including flu, asthma and other respiratory ailments cost them dear due to the dilapidated healthcare system

In many instances, the rain that accompanies the Siberian cold breeze destroys their only source of shelter as muddy roofs fail to stop the rain water from seeping inside their huts

Resultantly, they have no option but to spend the night in the rain

More worrying however is their source of livelihood, which is based on daily earnings and physical labour

It is a commonly observed practice that when it rains or when the weather becomes extremely cold, many workplaces do not operate at full capacity

This deprives manual labourers from their work who are therefore left with no option but to return home empty handed only to see in desperation the hunger-stricken, pale faces of their children

Recently, while riding home from the marketplace in the evening, I noticed a 14-year-old boy dressed in thin old clothes

He was shivering in the cold while walking on the sidewalk

I couldn’t help but stop my bike and enquire where he was going and why he wasn’t wearing any warm clothes

On hearing my voice, he hesitantly replied that since his father is a daily wager and he himself works in a hotel as a waiter, it is rather difficult for them to afford food let alone shoes and clothes

His helplessness depicts the hard-heartedness and pitiful nature of our society

Our social mindset is essentially anti-poor

This anti-poor ideology is hard-wired in our subconscious minds to such an extent that the poor become poorer and the rich even richer over time

This is because the poor don’t have enough socio-economic and educational platforms to grow and thrive on

All their life they remain entangled in a hectic struggle of trying to put food on the table

Their children follow suit and their underprivileged plight continues for generations

The rich, on the other hand, have enough educational and vocational sources to invest and multiply and thrive on

Their materialistic wants are satisfied at the cost of poor lives

The reality is that ceaseless greed and unflinching gluttony drives our society

The shivering child I witnessed doesn’t just signify the distressing plight of the poor; it also puts to dust all the pro-poor claims and falsified rhetoric that the successive governments have made over time

It is time that we as a society realise that these types of suffering are man-made and avoidable

We need to own up to the vulnerable and the destitute, and assist them in whatever capacity we can without harming their self-esteem and dignity

Published in The Express Tribune, January 8th, 2022

Like Opinion & Editorial on Facebook, follow @ETOpEd on Twitter to receive all updates on all our daily pieces

Date:09-Jan-2022 Reference:View Original Link