Nov 27, 2010
A few days ago I was purchasing some vegetables in the market. On my way I happened to meet an old man. He was begging for money. I had another friend with me who gave a coin to the old man. But the old man still urged us to give him something. We refused.
Later we went ahead talking about our business. We had completely forgotten about the old man. After a long time we met the him again. He was expecting some more money from us. My friend told the old man that we had already given him a coin. But he did not go away. He practically fought with us as if he had a right to demand. We were a little surprised and irritated. We left him and went ahead.
Recently when I was going through the new leader in the editorial the words of St Basil the great struck me as an eye opener.
“The bread that soils in your house belongs to the hungry.
The shoes that are mildewing under your bed belong to those who have none. The cloths stored in your trunk belong to those who are naked.
The money that depreciated in your treasury belongs to the poor.”
I think the money that I had saved bargaining in the market that day belonged to the old man. I realized that the food that I waste just because I feel satiated belongs to the poor. The cloths that are lying in my cupboard unused also belong to the poor. I realized that the poor had the right to demand every thing that I had in excess.
Poor are not poor because it is their fate. Poor are poor because the rich have deprived them of what they have right over. A poor Siddi (Siddi is an African Negro tribe who came to India may be during the time of Portuguese, as slaves. Later they escaped into the forests where they lived until recently) cannot cut a tree in order to build the roof of his house. On the other hand the rich businessmen right under the eyes of authority, breaking all the legal procedures, can cut trees only to make more profit.
The omnipotent God shared His generosity by creating earth and giving it in the hands of humans. Earth was a gift to humans to be shared with his fellow beings. Today if the poor are around us, it is because we have failed to share the gift of God. Poverty is the outcome of human selfishness. It is the human contribution to the world.
Every beggar that comes to our door is a reminder that we have not shared God’s gift enough. A beggar who comes with his humble stretched-out hand to us reveals the truth that he or she has the right to demand.