Exploitation of any kind is wrong.  When it comes to exploitation of the so-called depressed and suppressed people, then it becomes a hot topic.  Almost everyone rises to defend the exploited’s rights, myself included.  However, when we fight for the rights of suppressed people against all kinds of exploitation upon them, we cannot underestimate their share in their plight.

When those living at a marginal, very low level are exploited, sympathy is naturally raised for them; sometimes anger is also raised against the very rich, who are criticized for their luxurious life.  Recently, a Tamil program (Makkal Arangam, conducted by Visu in Jaya TV on 05-02-2012) featured a young man talking very powerfully about the plight of farmers, fishermen, and other poor people.  He held everyone spellbound as he compared the plight of the poor with Ambani, who constructed a house spending several crores (8,000 crores?).  But why should we judge Ambani for spending his hard earned money the way he likes?  I am not supporting this kind of (criminal) luxury to parade one’s wealth and status, but it is left to their conscience and choice.  If they cheat the government by not paying taxes or they make money by exploiting others, particularly the marginalized, then we can raise our voices against them.  There is no point in comparing Ambani with Bill Gates for the latter’s charity or Narayana Murthy for his simplicity.  Socialism is not distributing poverty equally among all people.  If this is what socialism is, then the very poor would not accept it when their turn comes to share their material, however meager it might be, with another who is living below ‘their’ poverty line.  Above all we don’t know what the Ambanis are doing on their part for social justice and eradication of poverty.@  They may do it silently without letting others know about it.  I write this not to support the Ambanis, or people like them, but without encouraging the poor to participation, we will only create parasites that will drain resources.

My next point is about those in the middle class who are equally affected by [another kind of] exploitation.  As they do not have much time left to fight for their rights and there is no one to voice their concerns to, they silently suffer exploitation upon them by all—both by the rich and the poor.  Just to maintain their middle class status, dreaming of becoming rich and in between this trying to enjoy life, they silently bear all kinds of exploitation against them.  Like the poor and suppressed they cannot come out to the street to fight for their rights, nor can they influence the rich political class to bend in their favor.  Occasionally they will join some movement like that of Anna Hazare to let out their anger and frustration, or participate in programs like Makkal Arangam and pour out their heart’s burden.  Many times such activities remain a kind of entertainment to have a break from their monotonous middle class life.

Of course I am not saying that such programs are a mere waste or that they serve only as entertainment; at least such programs bring out those people who struggle and swim across the current to come to something in their life, which could inspire many more.  However, attacking those who have reached a higher position through hard work, or supporting those who are exploited without recognizing their equal part in such exploitation, we should try to find the cause of exploitation rather than making it part of our entertainment.

05-02-2012. Gurukulam

@ In fact Ambani Foundation is doing lots of charity work.