The Underprivileged Syndrome

November 02, 2009 Pune, India - The housemaid had almost everyday seen the plump little baby yelling over the milk bottle. She had been working there for close to a couple of years. Although an integral part of the family, she had the feeling of being detached - for the very own reason that she was a mere maid within the family. Of course, she had her own roles to play in there but her most important role in life was not very different than the role being played by the baby's mother. She was the same is the very basic aspect - the role of being a mother. The only difference the maid could think of was that her baby cried due to the want of milk, whilst the other cried to evade drinking it. That's the irony of her life.

The reasons why an underprivileged despises the privileged could be many and many-a-times born due to shallow thinking or lack of the same. Yesterday, I happen to come across a mob from the slums thrashing a couple of metro sexual guys on the road. The dispute nearly disrupted the traffic on the road. I really do not want to learn the background behind the dispute. Unfortunately, all I could make out was that the whole thing had a blend of the poor despising the rich.

As a tiny kid, I played with Jeetu, a playmate from my neighborhood. I was always passionate about Jeetu's new toys that always inspired me for a new demand to my father. Thanks to my papa for standing true towards most of my demands but a feeling always dwelled into my mind that always reminded me of the envious state of Jeetu. May be that is the reason why I kinda hated him in those days. When it comes to the society, a similar feeling emerges into the minds of the underprivileged. It is present all over - in the mind of a localite when a group of IT professionals walk towards the Bannerghatta Road in Bangalore after a movie at the PVR in Forum mall, in the skanky language spoken by the grocer or a fisher women in the market when a big fat lady refused to buy her product at the quoted price and in the eyes of the hungry beggar who is pathetically looking at the beautiful college girls and boys having a lavish bucket chicken at the KFC, Gold Adlabs Mall in Kalyani Nagar.

For some, it may sound as envy but I believe it is something that has a deeper sense to it. I always had a very different feeling whenever I look at the construction workers who build skyscrapers but do not own even a hut to live in. They keep on moving and building temporary huts at the construction sites and live the life of gypsies. We do remember the name of the builder who built our houses but the worker who had literally carried bricks on his head cannot be even forgotten - just because he was never remembered at all. This is how it has always been.

The differences between the rich and the poor have always been existed. It hurts to see the pits and heaps among the varied sections of our society. Something that is a necessity for some is a much deprived privilege for many. Wealth and riches is not always a result of unfair practices. Almost all of the times, people secure their social statuses by their own merits. To be able to enjoy the view at the top, you must have dug your foundation strong. That's all an underprivileged must understand. The Pareto's principle will continue to hold true to the extent that the 20 percent of the population will hold 80 percent of the wealth. However, both have always been the two sides of the same coin and one cannot really exist without the other. Things will certainly change when the rich and the privileged understand the sentiments of the majority - that they still have to sail in the same ship, the very existence of which is based on the poor, laborious rowers down under.


  1. Wonderful, wonderful thoughts and neatly put to words.
    The thing is that the society right now is in a great balance, there will be occasional sparks like the one u noticed, but the fact is that this unbalance in wealth is very imp for the balance of society. I agree with you, if we need to keep this balance the rich and the poor both will have to understand each others sentiments

    Thanx for such a thought provoking write

  2. the society needs its poor, if there arent any poor, the whole economy will crumble

  3. @Shahid, thats true. Thanks for your comments. Glad you liked it
    @Uncommon sense, Agreed. If everyone is ought to become doctors and engineers, we would still need someone to do other not so dignified jobs.

  4. Thank you pra! This is one social issue closely linked to human perception rather than poverty and often cornered.

  5. Very touching post Neeraj...

    //Things will certainly change when the rich and the privileged understand the sentiments of the majority//

    I hope the same, as you said much is changing these days, just look at the number of NGO, i mean some of them are not so good, but then atleat there are NGOs and that meant people still care.

  6. @Srivats - NGOs is truly an apt example of the rich and the privileged helping the needy. Joining an NGO, however still remains a thing to flaunt for most of the privileged ones. eg. a few of the politicians and celebrities publicly declare donations most of the times for publicity. I am sure, some people won't agree to it. I do not deny that there are many kind hearted ones who do it for themselves. It is just our positive perception towards others that counts.

  7. This is evident, more than ever in today's circumstances!!

    And truly - life's biggest hypocrisies too!

    Good observations Neeraj! Very well written!

  8. Thanks Rakesh. So it is! Sad but true...

  9. If a person is born poor, its not his mistake but if he dies a poor man then its definitely his mistake! :)

    Well written!

  10. Hi Neeraj

    Good articles....and an AWESOME blog template. Can you PLEASE tell me if you got it from some free site or point me to good sites which teach how to customize our blog templates.

    About this blog in particular and other articles as well, phrases like "We do remember the name of the builder who built our houses but the worker who had literally carried bricks on his head cannot be even forgotten - just because he was never remembered at all", "the very existence of which is based on the poor, laborious rowers down under" seem to patronize poverty rather than a strong desire to conquer it. Poverty is not the cause but the outcome of our actions. Do you think the laborer would decline more money and a higher post if offered, just because the foundation of the building lies on his shoulders? Why don;t we remember his name. Simply because our brains remember what counts. Why do you remember Bill ates everytime you think of Windows - why not thousands of the 'poor' engineers who are slogging to get the latest version released. Because the latter is 'replacable' - the former is not. The engineer would WANT to become the next Bill Gates but might not just be intelligent or hard working enough: EVEN IF GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY. True - some people do not even get an opportunity. But again, opportunities (like reservations) should be given only once: not at school, college, under grad, AND grad level :-) Then they become freebies - not opportunities. If people's heart goes out to the poor ST student who missed a college seat because he scored 5% less than the Brahmin student due to LACK of reservations; my heart would go out more to the Brahmin who missed his seat to the ST student EVEN if he scored 5% more - due to the PRESENCE of reservations. I think it is more unfair to take away opportunity from a person who has ALREADY proven that he deserves it.Of course this is a long and perennial debate. Compassion beyond a certain point turns to acceptance of the disease. There will always be poor people, because all men are neither created or WORK equal. And that's OK :-) But we can surely eliminate poverty - reduce the devide between the rich and the poorest of the poor. The only reason I felt like writing a long comment is that poverty needs to be treated like the disease it is, and not the cause or aid to the prosperity of the wealthy.

  11. @ThinkTank - Thanks for pouring your valuable thoughts on the topic. I agree to the fact that the phrases you have referred above do patronize poverty. But I believe that you have overlooked other phrases viz. 'Almost all of the times, people secure their social statuses by their own merits' that I have tried to emphasize. The post intends to put forth the perspectives from both the sides. I have tried to place a neutral opinion about the perceptions that exists in the mind of the privileged and the underprivileged person. An engineer glaring at the glorious state of a CEO is what is common at the underprivileged side. Unfortunately, the person at the top knows the hurdles he had to cross and face consistently to maintain his current position. At the same time, it cannot be denied that a CEO and his board of directors cannot really exist without the genius and hardworking troop of the company's engineers and workers.
    Talking about reservations, I agree to your points. Read my post on racism and the comments thereon to know more...

  12. Hey! Nice blog! Happen to come across while surfing my frnd's blog.

    Anways.. this subject has always been in my mind. Since you can see it so evidenly in India. Rich vs Poor. But sometimes to overcome my guilt, I donate few things to them. But then that doesnt change their lives. But one thing which I try my best is to be humble with them. Not harsh.. they too deserve humaneness.

  13. @Vineeta - Aptly said and righteously practiced. You are already practicing what I was making a point about. That's truly humane.

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  15. A very Nice post....brings you to a stop and makes you think at least once.....

    but what i think is the poor is very stubborn...they refuses to change...they will love to live in a slum then live in a government provided house....

    ya i also agree the rich are also the same down there somewhere but it all comes to balance somehow......
    so lets hope it balances itself...and knowingly or unknowingly let us be a part of it....