An Essay on Social Inequalities and Social Services

Right through the realms of human history, the more privileged group has been exploiting a large segment of the population, without 'ouch of human consideration. Over the centuries the style or method of exploitation may have changed but, the extent of exploitation has remained much the same. It is not that, our becoming civilized has led us to becoming aware of the needs of others. In reality, it may be said that, the more civilized we claim to have become, the more selfish and self-centered also we tend to have become.

In the early part of the history of the human race, feudalism in the form of dynastic rule supported by groups of warriors, merchants and the intelligentsia oppressed the majority of the population in the name of religious beliefs and superstitions. This oppression gave way to colonialism and now, in the modem era, led ecological 'evolution has vested a lot of manipulative economic power in the ruling class, which has contributed in the growth of the modern scenario for the rich growing richer, and the poor becoming poorer. If we analyze history, the entire canvas of political development can be traced to the panorama of struggle between the 'haves' and the 'have- nots'.

The position in Bangladesh is that, even in the last two decades democratic movements have not been able to alter the equation between the rich and the poor, and the national wealth is in the tight grip of 10% of the population. This dehumanizing disparity has got to be removed, if the country has to progress in the real sense of the term. The solution to this disparity lies in, the 'Haves' accepting that they are the real cause of such a large section of `Have Nots' still existing in the country. Now, it is the responsibility of the 'Haves" to initiate action and contribute to the reversal of the economic system and causing a flow of the net wealth from the grip of the 'Haves' to the 'Have nots'. This needs an attitudinal change of the 'Haves' as trustees of the wealth of the country. Excessive dependence of our social life on institutions of the government, without any social consciousness Ow privileged group has been the basic inhibiting factor in an attempting to bridge the gap between the two classes of the `Haves' and the `Have -nots'.

In this task, social pressure, service clubs, women's organizations and the mass media have an important role to play in educating the 'Haves" to appreciate and understand their responsibility of giving respect to human dignity and helping the 'Have nots' to progress.

In the scenario of the modern industrialized society, the improvement of the lot of the working class should be our main concern. This task of improving the lives of the people in neglected villages and the urban slums should be the aim of work for the social welfare organizations. To bring about this social enlistment is termed as social welfare, which is the work of multitudes of social welfare organizations. The raising of the standard of living in the villages, the finding of alternative occupations which would give agricultural mass an extra income, should be the target of all social endeavor. Similarly, the workers who form the backbone of any industry should not be deprived of elementary human rights. It is now, high time for the people to realize that industry is no longer the monopoly of a single class, but of the masses.

Since education remains to be the most important work of the society, social organizations can be more effective if they can bring up mature, educated and active members of community. We see an abysmal rise in the crime rate, and this also can be mainly attributed to the curse of unemployment and exploitation of a big chunk of the masses. If social organizations could try to create jobs for the jobless, exploitation would hence be automatically checked. This would in turn bring down the crime graph. Hence, what the social welfare organizations should do, in the present scenario is first to understand the basic problems of the less privileged class, giving an impetus to all services. Sharing ideas and experiences among different organizations would enable them to evaluate the requirements, and then steps can be taken forward.

Bangladesh is a country that provides for the social welfare organizations an immense scope lot work and a very large spectrum to be worked upon. However, more often than not, this social service is on the ground, only a pair of high sounding words. What it is in reality can be well understood when we go to the crux of thy system of the working of these organizations. The work of most of the organizations can be defined in one sentence as, "saying is one thing and doing is another'. Why this aura around the social organizations is something that we should analyze and study at some length.

It is felt that this difference between saying and doing is because most of the social welfare organizations are manned by the 'Haves', who, naturally do not have much insight into the depth and extent of work really required to have a dent on the 'Have Nots', and convert them also into the 'Haves'. However not knowing is one thing and understandable but, not being interested in knowing is yet another. The basic cause of the social welfare organizations lagging behind is their inherent lack of interest in helping the 'Have Nots' rise form the dumps.

The next obvious question that now arises is that, if people are not interested in helping the downtrodden, then, why do they join such institutions. And for this, the answer is simple. Just as all other things revolve round 'show biz' so does this joining these organizations. By doing so, we remain in the limelight, our photographs appear in magazines and we have the honor of belonging to the elite class. So, if this is the hollow target of most of the members of social welfare organizations, never realizing the targets is a foregone conclusion.

It is not that these organizations are not doing any work but, not as much as they can or they should. The reason for this is that, not more than 5% to 10% members of any organization are real workers on the ground, and the rest being the category just described. With this fact coming to be realized, the targets have obviously to fall short by 90% and if this 90% would also be done then we would be able to see more prosperity. There is no dearth of sincerity and service but the hands are so few that they get lost in the oblivion, and the impression of social work done is that, most of it is a farce.

In order to scrap this poor impression of social work from the minds of the public we have to be more alert and attentive to the needs of our society. For a while, we have to forget ourselves, our families, and our homes for, all these are 'Haves', and we must now look towards our duties for the society, and the larger perspective of humanity. This is what we should strive for now, if we want to really dedicate ourselves to any work. Only with more positive work can we march forward in our fulfillment and thus contribute more substantially to out lesser brethren, and only then will the words 'social service' will have a meaning.