This morning we were at a friend's place watching the rough cut of his new documentary film. Some one in the film says "given the amount of money in the city we really dont have to treat our poor so badly" This was in reference to a sloppily executed(as they all are)slum rehabilitation scheme. In response, George said, but there can be money in the city only if the poor are treated like this.
Stark and cynical, George uses this idiom often to make a point.
I got back to work and was nudged towards this link by some friends. Ofcourse it made me laugh out loud, but the chilling and accurate look at ourselves made me sit up.
We belong to a class that has a sense of entitlement that is probably unparalled in history. I deserve what I earn, I worked hard for it, implying you deserve what you get, thats probably how hard you worked for it. This view denies the privilege of class, education, even the basic nutrition that we take for granted. Two years back I was doing research in a cluster of villages where the HB levels of pregnant women was commonly below 5 ( the normal level should be above 12), and new born babies were considered healthy if their birth weight was above 1.5 kilos ( the normal level is above 2.5 kilos). It is absurd to say that my child and the child born in that village would be equal if given the same education. There is a difference and it goes way beyond these two little children. It begins with the mother's health, and a million other small details that seem inconvenient to us while discussing maids'demand for higher salaries and their unprofessional work ethic.
And I find a strange way of getting around this moment in history- a personal narrative of benevolence, of giving of one's free will but refusing to be cheated, or coerced into parting with what rightfully belongs to us. We have worked hard for the house we bought, my parents have worked hard for the house they bought. What they took for granted and so did we are some "small" privileges, access to the best education available at the time, and on the basis of that we now have the privilege of being called by our bankers offering loans, benefits and all kinds of perks available to their "dependable" customers! Ofcourse we are dependable, our mothers were not malnourished, four generations of women in our families have had access to education, our friends and family are the teachers, the law makers, the law enforcers, the bankers, the producers of goods,the marketers of these goods, the producers of the desire for these goods!
It is our perspective that defines our times. Ofcourse,we will have a complete sense of entitlement!