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The empty stomach

POVERTY: An English newspaper June 2, reported that in Sheikhupura a woman jumped into the Qadirabad Baloki Canal with three baby girls. Her identity was not known. The police believed that it was a bid to kill herself and her three daughters.

A bystander saw the woman jumping. He informed the police. The policemen rushed to the scene and jumped into the canal. They fished out the woman and a year and half old girl. The woman was alive but in a coma. The baby had died. The other two girls could not be found. It was suspected that the woman had taken such an extreme step because of some family feud or extreme poverty.

Had the by stander who incidentally saw the jumping woman not been there, the tragedy would have remained a secret. It would have been known only to the fishes and the fishes would never have reported it to the police.

It can be safely believed that the woman jumped into the canal because she believed that the canal would not charge her any money for killing herself and her babies.

Obviously, she was too poor to buy some poison for the purpose. Had the canal not been available free of charge what would have she done to unchain herself and her daughters from their misery? Only heaven knows!

Almost every poor country has a law according to which a suicide attempt is a criminal offence. If you lack the means of feeding yourself and you are utterly miserable, don't try to kill yourself. Let starvation kill you bit by bit. If starvation kills you, there is nothing criminal about it. But if you try to kill yourself because of starvation it is a criminal act.

If you let starvation kill you, you respect the law. And as an appreciation of your conduct, the law would give you a pat on the back. But if you try to commit suicide because of starvation, the law would put you behind bars. And there you would be fed by the state.

So the anti-suicidal law is a blessing in disguise. If continuous starvation makes your life miserable, try to commit suicide in such a way that you are easily caught by the police and the police can easily prove your offence in a law court.

You would be imprisoned for a specific period of time. And the state would guarantee you bread for the entire period of your imprisonment. What a blessing in disguise is the anti-suicide law for those who cannot afford to feed themselves but who can afford to make a suicidal attempt.

It is common knowledge that numerous poor citizens of numerous poor countries of our world keep daily ridding themselves of their economic misery by committing suicide. These suicides are rarely reported.

They are rarely reported because they are not regarded as tragedies. On the contrary, they are regarded as an emancipation from the miseries of life. A country is a bit of land inhabited by some human beings. A jungle is a bit of land inhabited by some animals.

According to the law of the jungle, the jungle does not owe even an iota of responsibility for the survival of its inhabitants. An animal must survive all on its own or perish.

Most of the countries of the world have adopted the law of the jungle for their citizens. Like the jungle animals, the citizens of such countries must survive all on their own or migrate to some graveyard of their own choice.

The woman who jumped into the canal did not have the means to survive on her own. She had only one choice. If a citizen commits suicide because of starvation, ethics demands that the rulers should be dumped at the bottom of the sea for the entertainment of the denizens of the deep.

A ruler who does not know how to feed the masses is fit only to be fed to the carnivores. In almost every poor country of the world the masses are starving. But the rulers are utterly insensitive. Perhaps every ruler is born with a rhinoceros's hide. The situation is extremely alarming. But it is curable.

A clause should be added to every poor country's constitution, which ordains: "One cannot become a ruler unless one has had personal experience of starvation. Before taking oath of his office, every would be ruler must undergo a starvation course for a weak or so."

The rulers of a poor country do have a knowledge of the starvation of the masses. But a mere knowledge of someone else's starvation is a mere absurdity. Only a personal experience of starvation can reveal the nature of the agonies which starvation inflicts upon the starving individual. Only a ruler who has had personal experience of starvation agonies can understand what starvation really means.

The animal's world is a world of equality. The human world is a world of inequality. The rulers of a poor country hate the equality of the animal world. They love to feast their eyes on the misery of the starving masses. The masses don't disappoint the rulers. They believe that it is their patriotic duty to die of starvation so that the national money thus saved could be spent by the rulers for their jollifications.

O poor masses of a poor country! Why did you choose a poor country for your birth? You committed a heinous offence by being born in a poor country. You deserve no mercy. Bear your misery with patience. You can only pray that your life under ground be not as horrid as it is above the ground.

The Nation (Pakistan)

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