My domestic help, Rajkumari, 34, has been working at our home for the past 10 years. She lives in an urban slum with minimum facilities provided by the government. She is a widower with two sons, one being her step son has abandoned her after using her resources. She lives with her 17 year old boy, Monu. Now Monu is a young chap, who quit school after 10th grade because he “didn’t want to study anymore.” He has become a victim of drug addiction. He often threatens Rajkumari to commit suicide if she doesn’t give him money to meet his addictions.  With whatever income she gets, she runs monthly expenses and meets her bills. She has no savings. The added stress of her son makes her depressed. She says “even though I have enough to sustain my single life, I don’t have peace to sleep at night after a tiring day.”

The background to Rajkumari and her son’s life is important to see how lack of resources and opportunities can make life strenuous.  
Is Monu responsible for the pain that Rajkumari goes through? Should he be given full responsibility for it? This situation opens our eyes to various grave problems existing in the society.
If we look at Rajkumari, after her husband’s death who she was financially dependent on, put pressure on her daily life. She became the woman with no voice, who was not respected by her own sons. She chose not to live alone because she was afraid what would happen if a single young woman lived unaccompanied in her locality. This is a classic case of the helpless situation of uneducated, illiterate women.
Now, if we look at Monu, the 17 year old kid, ignorant as he may be, chose not to educate himself. But if you look deeper, he says “nothing ever happened in his school.” Is he to be blamed for this lack of education?  Is it his fault that he was not given quality primary education which could have made him pursue further studies and not waste his life?
Poverty, lack of quality education and lack to basic resources has ruined many such lives in India and countries around the world. Hence it is important to achieve the Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs) which aim to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity becomes important. It is vital to improve individual’s quality of life.
We can find many such Rajkumari’s and Monu’s spread over areas, not able to live a good life due to lack of resources and opportunities. It is important to create an atmosphere where individuals are living  quality life rather than just passing each day for the same hardships to be faced the next day.

Supraja Mahesh

Picture Credits: Kunal Raj