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“Why is it that we are rich and they are poor?” I asked. “You’ll understand these things when you grow up” people replied. But as the days pass by, I’ve come to realize that it is a question I can never answer.

Being born into the small portion of the privileged class in a developing country, poverty was all around me as I grew up. My standard of life is the best that this part of the world can offer- there are servants in my house to do my stuff, we have private cars with chauffeurs, a large three bedroom apartment and so on. It’s the kind of life one can only dream of. The only sound as I lose myself in the seductive comfort of my pillow is that of the air-conditioner. The occasional touch of its chill on my arms seemed to me the most delightful sensation in the world. But the feeling of guilt struck me when I figured out just down my window there was a beggar holding her child, crying to people to give her some money for his treatment. And yet again I asked myself- “Why?” Why is it that the curse called poverty plagues such a great portion of this world? Why is it that we belong to the same society and at the same time we belong to worlds so greatly different? Can we do nothing about it? Are we not willing to do anything about it? Every limb in my body wants to scream out the words “unfair” at times when I think about things as such- things which some say are far beyond my understanding. As a kid my teachers taught me that work is the pen with which I write in the paper called life. Lies, all lies. I would have loved to believe that actions make a man but growing up I have seen that it’s the privilege of birth that matters more. The rickshaw puller who starts working at dawn and works till midnight hardly earns enough to feed his family- let alone to educate his children so that they could have changed their lives.

The word ‘education’ strikes me- only, oh only if they could have educated their children. Perhaps, if destiny would have pulled my strings differently I too could have been the child of a poor man, screaming for food in a house that can barely fit the oversized family; And as I would have grown I up I would have seen all my dreams being crushed in the vicious grip of poverty or maybe, just maybe- there could have been this ray of hope which would have changed my life, the ray of light which would have ignited the way to my dreams- the light of education. This is where the secret is, the secret to a life of opportunity- the ladder which leads out of the vicious circle. Spread it across the world and our world will be level playing field it was always meant to be- “equal opportunities for everyone”, even the mere sound of the phrase is like music to the ears, imagine how wonderful it would be if we could implement it in real life! Give the people the equipment they need to fight in life and it’s the people who will emerge as victors. There will be no poverty.

There are many who tell me that I dream too much and I admit- I do dream a lot. The realities of today were the dreams of yesterday and the dreams of today will be the realities of tomorrow, therefore I dare to dream on. Once upon a time, who would have thought in his wildest dreams that man would reach the moon? It would have sounded impossible. But man dreamt nevertheless, and man acted upon that dream and man achieved the impossible. So let us today come up with the vision that fifty years from now, we shall build a society free of poverty, a society in which all are free to hold their heads high in dignity and I believe if we act upon that vision, there is no reason why we cannot achieve the impossible yet again.



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