Economics Of Mahavira ► 02 ► [02.01] The Economic Concept of Development - Poverty Is Not Desirable

Posted: 21.12.2005

It had been maintained from time immemorial that adhanam nirbalam - whoever is without money is weak. The poor were always considered an unregulated segment of the society. Poverty has always been condemned. It was not considered good from any point of view.

A Brahmin pandit started from his home to meet King Bhoj. He was very poor. While resting for a while in the jungle, he fell asleep. A man coming from the opposite direction noticed him. He found that the Brahmin was carrying pieces of sugarcane for presentation to the King. He took out the pieces from the cloth and replaced these with pieces of wood. The Brahmin woke up and proceeded towards the King's palace carrying the pieces of wood tied in the cloth. When he untied the bundle with the intention of making the present to the King, he was stunned to see pieces of wood in it. He got highly disappointed. The great poet Kalidas then realized that somebody has robbed him. Managing the situation intelligently he said, "Maharaj, the kind of present that has come today had never been offered by anybody. It is a wonderful present."

The King asked 'how?'

Kalidas replied

Dogdhan Khandava marjunain balina ramyadhrumey arbhu shitam,
Dagdha vayusuten hemnagan lanha punah Swarnbhuha,
Dagho lokasukho harenmadanah, kin ten yuktam kritama,
Daridrayam jog tapkar kamidam kanapi dogdha na he.

"Khandava forest was set on fire by Arjuna. The Golden Lanka was set on fire by Hanuman. Kamdev was burnt by Shankar, but nobody has been able to burn poverty which burns everybody. This Brahmin is presenting firewood for burning poverty, you alone are capable of burning it."

A poor person has never been liked, poverty has never been considered desirable neither in the ancient times nor in the modern times. Everybody wants that nobody should remain poor; the society should not torture anybody. And yet this is a difficult task.

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