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Playing The Poverty Card

March 11, 2016




Written By: Shahid Wafa 


One pleasant morning in last spring, when Arshad, a middle-aged lecturer set off for his college, he was very excited. He was joyous because, he had not to go through the exasperating experience of travelling on public transport anymore. Now he was the owner of a brand new car.

As he started driving towards his destination, thoughts started pouring in. “How much struggle I have done to accomplish this dream of owning a car,” Arshad took a deep breath. After spending money on everyday needs from his pay, he was never left with an amount that could be set aside. To earn extra money, he would give private tuition in evening and walk miles every day to save few more rupees.

Car’s window shield was down. A sudden gust of wind ruffled his hair and brought him out of his thoughts. He was enjoying the drive but didn’t know that a mishap was waiting for him just round the corner. The moment he took the right turn on next road his car banged into a delivery van approaching in the wrong direction. Collision crushed the head lights and bumper of the car and damaged some parts of engine as well. Luckily, Arshad did not receive any serious injury. He gathered his senses and came out of the car in rage.

“Are you blind, look what you have done to my car,” shouted Arshad. Van driver did not pronounce a single word. “It is your fault. You have to pay for my loss,” demanded Arshad in a loud voice. He was going hysterical over his loss.

Saab Janay Do, Main Ghareeb Aadmi Hun. (Let it go Sir, I am a poor man)

Van driver defended himself very plainly.

Arshad was left speechless on the logic.



Meantime, by-passers had gathered at the spot. They wanted to help Arshad and van driver resolve the issue. But all of them had the same logic that van driver had presented already. “Let it go, he is a poor man.”

Arshad looked at the crushed parts of his dream scattered on the road in disbelief and uttered those two words in lost tone: Poor man…??? Perhaps he wanted to scream that those who wear clean office dress and drive cars are not always privileged and wealthy people.

Several incidents like these happen every day in our society where people belonging to lower strata of society emotionally black mail others in the name of poverty and try to evade the responsibility of their blunders. They not only use their weak financial situation as a shield but do not hesitate in using it  it as a justification of their wrongdoings. When individuals from labor class or blue-collar occupations do not perform their social responsibilities and cause harm to someone better in financial position, society immediately associates its sympathies with the former.

The mindset of our society has shaped in the way which considers sympathy with the  underprivileged as their moral duty. Whereas wrong doer can be from any group of society. We need to understand that it is not the social position but the level of education and family training that defines the character.

blame game

A long history of social injustice in our country is also a factor that people immediately become sympathetic with offenders belonging to deprived sections of society. In this scenario, only the prevalence of justice and across the board enforcement of law is the best answer to such social inconsistencies.


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