Poverty is a curse of any civilization. But poverty is a 'fait accompli' of the so called civilized society. It exists in every country all along. In our country the reference to it is found in the 'Bhagavatham' through the sketch of Sudhama/Kuchela, in the ancient stories of 'Sathya Harishchandra & Nala etc' who even after being kings had to undergo the condition of abject poverty. Poverty also variously described as 'penury, destitution, indigence, pennilessness, privation, deprivation, impoverishment, neediness, need, want, hardship, impecuniousness, impecuniosity, hand-to-mouth existence, beggary, pauperism etc is arising out of the disregard for the social obligations, greed etc of a portion of the population. It is arising out of the mind set of people.
It will be nearly impossible to reduce not to speak of eradication of poverty, unless and until the thinking about it is changed in the minds of the haves to the have nots. Religions are supposed to be a guidance or philosophy to the followers for the proper practice of life. All the religions, without exception, prescribes a way to reduce the effect of poverty on the poor. The suggestion of all religions is for all those who earn or having means to set apart a portion of their earnings/income to be distributed as charity, poor feeding, gifts etc to the needy. The followers of all religions are following this in letter but not in the spirit. We can find lavish and pompous functions being arranged to feed and give gifts to those who may not need the same, ignoring the needy. If we attend any function of any religious sect like the weddings, birthdays, festivals etc we can find this aspect.
The Governments are bringing out some social measures in various names which are supposed to benefit the poor and needy. But this also, in our State and country, if not the entire world itself is more of a channel to siphon off the crumbs by the greedy and cunning.
Ramanathan A R