Guwahati, Jan 30: Poverty is a cruel joke, truly.
Probably, many in mainland India have never heard about picturesque Lumding in Hojai district of Assam. It's a far-off land and its problems hardly resonate with the governments both in Delhi and in the state capital, Guwahati, which of late has seen haphazard development with various 'shining' malls and five-star hotels.
So, when a mother of three daughters, fed up with her never-ending cycle of poverty, decided to kill her three daughters and commit suicide afterwards, it says something horrific about our society.
On Monday, when experts on television debates were busy dissecting the Economic Survey 2018 tabled in Parliament by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, the news about the alleged killing and suicide in Assam was lost in the din of the Narendra Modi government's performance to make India one of the most powerful economies in the world.
According to reports, on Sunday the poverty-stricken woman first hanged her three daughters before committing suicide. Call it fortune or misfortune, one of her daughters miraculously escaped death to narrate her story to the rest of the world.
Mother allegedly hanged her three daughters & then committed suicide herself due to poverty in Hojai's Lumding yesterday. Out of the three, one daughter managed to survive #Assam pic.twitter.com/HjJHAAa2zN— ANI (@ANI) January 29, 2018
The neighbours of the ill-fated family said the woman was facing severe financial crunch and was unable to arrange for basic amenities.
"This forced the mother to take the extreme step late on Sunday night in Lumding. All four were found hanging on a tree, but one of the girls managed to untie her rope and call for help. By the time rescuers arrived on the scene, the women and two of her daughters had died," reported ANI.
The news reports about poor and poverty never make it to the headlines, because they are not considered to be "saleable"--a bizarre theory formulated by stalwarts of journalism in India and gaining momentum with each passing day.
However, recently a report on state of poor people in the country was carried by almost all the news outlets. The latest report by Oxfam, a group of international organisations focussed on the alleviation of global poverty, showed richest 1 per cent in India cornered 73 per cent of the wealth generated in the country in 2017.
The report can't be called an eye-opener to a reality--growing divide between the rich and the poor in the country--which we like our politicians and journalists see every day but blissfully ignore it as it does not concern us.
Nonetheless Oxfam survey puts figures in black and white to show that India is a country where rich are getting richer and poor poorer. Is it a systematic failure? Or, poor are doomed to die lonely and horrific deaths like the mother and daughters in Assam's Lumding?