Pragya Singh

Editorial Writer

“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity”         ~NELSON MANDELA

What are human rights? The very basic definition of human rights is that they are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, or any other status. They are a set of moral principles for certain standards of human behaviour and are regularly protected in municipal and international law.

But can we really relate this ideal interpretation of human rights with how things work in our not so ideal world. The answer is far from yes. At present, we are witnessing a sky-high rise in financial inequality. People who are already rich are getting astonishingly rich while the ones who are trapped in poverty have a little chance to climb up the social ladder. Though governments and world organisations are doing their bit to pull them out of this vicious cycle of poverty but, sadly, these efforts are overpowered by the unequal distribution of wealth across the globe. Unfortunately, this leads to the exclusion of poor from the most basic human rights everyone is entitled to. Right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education are some of the basic rights of every one of us. But extreme poverty doesn’t allow some to enjoy even these. For instance, such a dehumanising practice like manual scavenging is still prevalent in our country even after lawfully banning it. Don’t they deserve a life of dignity? Is the job of dealing with human excreta without any protective equipment, any less than torture? Do they freely choose it or poverty makes them do it? Apart from the critical health issues generally faced by manual scavengers, social discrimination is another aspect highlighted by this practice….

There is no doubt that we, as a society, have been successful in eradicating discrimination on the basis of gender, caste, religion, but this has been possible, mainly for the upper and middle strata of society. For lower class, limitations in financial assets and lack of general awareness, still push their comparatively weaker sections like females, lower castes and religious minorities, to the levels from where they can’t access these rights. Poor and the backward are always on the agenda of the government but still the efforts have never been that successful. It is necessary for the government to work with the big corporates of our country in a synergic way and make the wider population of our country financially robust. With financial prosperity, eventually all things will fall into place and we will have a nation where every citizen would proudly enjoy their basic rights.