Friday, April 5, 2013

Where there is a way, there's often no will

Yesterday, my Dad was having an argument with the watchman and his wife. They wanted to go to their native place for some personal work and asked for a leave and when asked about when they'd return, both of them gave contradicting answers and didn't give a commitment clearly. This upset my Dad and he told them not to give vague answers since he's not stopping them from going but just asking when they'd come back so we can plan for the work with other people.

This is a recurrent problem with any watchman he hires and other staff from that economic level. Dad has dealt with people from almost all classes and I've seen him tackle everybody else quite easily despite some misunderstandings and arguments occasionally. But when it comes to the daily labour, it gets difficult. They quit very soon, sometimes without even informing. Often for a minor increment and sometimes because of sheer laziness. Yes, we've seen people who quit who needed the money but quit simply because they didn't want to do so much work. They don't want to hang around long enough to benefit from the professional relationship and seek a hike or growth.

One of the guys that Dad hired had an infant boy, and my parents made sure he was cared for well. His father was a drunkard and wasted money on drinking all the time. Mom used to feed the boy nutritious food because his Mom would rarely give him anything good. He grew up in my house for a year, taken care of by all of us. But again, his father couldn't stay long because it was too much work and moved to an apartment as a watchman. When we saw the kid after a couple of months, he was malnourished and didn't have the energy he had when he was at my place. He lacked the enthusiasm and didn't eat properly.

Whenever I think of populist schemes like NREGA, this is what comes to my mind. There are a lot of such people who need to be incentivised to work, to earn and respect themselves, to provide better for their next generation. Instead, they take the easy route of banking on populist schemes and claim victimhood most of the times. Agreed that a class of society was entirely neglected for centuries and the rich exploited them, but the current form of correction harms in the long-term rather than benefit them. These people need skills and respect from others, which comes only when they know their craft and earn their livelihood. As long as they can get stuff cheap without hard work and without any contribution, they have no incentive to move out of that state and aspire for more. You rarely see any aspiration in that strata, if at all, it comes from those who are street vendors.

I know there will be arguments about where such populist schemes have benefitted the poor. I don't deny that, maybe there are cases where the poor benefit from these schemes and are lifted out of poverty in a generation or two. But to a large extent, all we see is youth without a direction, which is being wasted in drinking and other addictions. If this continues, honestly I think we'll only end up with more 'useless' population which will continue to claim victimhood no matter what opportunities we provide them. A whole generation (or even more) might end up being a burden on the country.

1 comment:

chomskyist said...
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