A Dialogue

Me: I am fed up Dad....I mean all these quotas and all.....They disgust me a lot. I mean I never got an extra chance. I studied hard and you, Dad  had to go through many sacrifices to make your children get a decent education but look at these people who are having cars and all are touted as OBCs and are getting benefits whereas the poor so, called High Caste suffers. Look at the Pandits in the temple, ready to be your Brahmin and read "Shlokas" on your behalf just for a paltry sum and the boy is just fifteen . I am sure he cannot go to the school, but he won't get help. Why? because firstly he is a "General" secondly he is technically"Above Poverty Line". Look at Shakuntala's Aunty's kids (Our House Help's Kids) they are so bright and technically they go to the school but learn nothing from the government school. Where is the benefit reaching Dad? It is not reaching to the masses.

Dad: What do you mean? Do you want extra benefits? Are you jealous? Why are you so negative? See just because someone is getting an added advantage you cannot grow bitter. By growing negative you are harming yourself the most. You are just complaining. These people were subjugated for years now the government is giving them a chance by the charity of the Reservation system. What do you mean that they will continue to live in the darkness while we grow. It is not possible and not right.

Me: Father look I am not saying that the people who are really in need should be in the dark. We see people in our country still being discriminated. How has charity help them. Even the NGO's help them through money which lasts them only for a certain time and then they again plunge into the darkness. They are not evolving. Growth is just like a forced operation, a revolution and this growth is useless. Growth should be an evolution, it should be in the DNA of the nation. It should be natural. Charity disrupts the regular flow of the growth.

Dad: Elucidate with examples?

Me: Suppose a dear is running to save its life from the Tiger. Charity is when we kill the Tiger to save the Deer or we catch the deer and place it in a "safe environment" which sounds good after all the deer is safe but did it actually help the deer? No, it actually made it more dependent on external factors, it in a way made it week because now when in trouble it won't think to save itself but simply look in the direction of the help. Empowerment on the other hand is selecting the Deer, now this deer has a potential to run so, we focus on that and teach it life skills and tactics to learn and leave it in the jungle.So, now when it faces the tiger it knows how to save itself and doesn't need help. The deer is empowered and will surely pass this knowledge to its calves. The entire Deer clan is empowered and knows that if the Tiger scales up you too have to scale up as The Help Lies Within You and it won't come from the outside.

Dad: OK so, you want the rule of the jungle?

Me: No, I want this reservation to be eradicated. I want a system:

1. Register all those who are poor and cannot afford quality education. Poor doesn't mean BPL but people who cannot afford good schools.
2. Take the children to the schools or ensure that they are taught at par with the same quality as we, "The Creamy Layer" is taught. The Bright of the lot, segregate them and give them scholarship and newer challenges to sharpen their skills. Aptitude Test every year. The average, well there are no average. They are good in some other work focus on their strength and for the week focus on a skill set they are good at.

3. Now let them sit for the entrance, now let them crack the test without any reservation. The reservation is no longer needed because they are no longer week, They are empowered with an education at par with "The Creamy Layer". What about those who couldn't make it. Well there are people who from the "General" category who couldn't make it to the top because others were better than them. Simple "Survival for the Fittest". But since their skills have been recognized early on they will be a quality human resource in their field.

4. Now when they come out and are ready to work for the Nation we know for sure that these are the products of empowerment and not a product of charity. They deserve to get the High paying Job because of the degree and education earned through merit and hard work and quality and not due to some qouta bias.

5. The caste discrimination will end. No, one can grumble of being discriminated. All will be  "The Creamy Layer."

But the Vote Banks will suffer massively. The NGOs have to work and strategize more that is the only flip side. We won't be worshiping Mediocrity any more that is a big loss. We will be focussing on excellence...Oh! the poor politicians! But then every medicine has it's side effects and so, I guess we can bear it.

Dad: You have answered your own grudge.

The alarm bell rings and I see my husband by my side and realize my Dad has been long dead but then his DNA always speaks. So, much for the empowered DNA to whom Charity was never an option.

Submitted In Response to Indispire Edition 31

Ridhima Bhandari

Charity or Empowerment? Are charitable donations to feed and house the poor really the way out of the mire of poverty or do NGOs need to focus more on skill development? Should we as donors be more proactive rather than merely donating money? #CharityorEmpowerment

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