Extravagant! Divine! Majestic! , thought Akruti as she walked into the first shop for selecting her Ganesha idol. With only a week until she would bring her very first Ganpati home, Akruti was as excited as she was nervous with the amount of preparations that were left to be done to welcome home the God of power and wisdom.
India, a diverse country that propagates religious tolerance, is the birthplace of many of the world’s religions; namely, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. These community festivities engage individuals of all faiths and encourage celebrations of all citizens.
However, over the years, religion has been commercialized to a great extent, with artificial shortages created at the time, resulting in soaring prices and inflationary impact on other essentials. In addition, places of religious worship are easily accessible to the rich, who receive top priority, are able to get the nearest to offer prayers and receive blessings from the priests. The poor, on the other hand, are at the mercy of circumstance, and make do with this unfair discrimination at the hands of God.
This inequality between the rich and the poor, is characteristic of all sectors in India. The divide, only worsens with time and has resulted in economic instabilities.
Similarly, the construction and housing sector in India, suffers from the same fate. With incomes generally lower than the urban areas and seasonal unemployment, many households find it difficult to gain ownership of homes. This has implications for social sustainability of rural communities and is causing increased polarization as younger people migrate to the urban areas in search of jobs leaving behind their old folk and children resulting in negative impact on rural enterprise and economic viability.
In the rural areas, there is a general practice of ownership of property and self-help. Due to the lack of resources, people find it more convenient to build their own houses, arrange for finance, cultivate the land for crops for consumption, etc. Thus, making it hard to crack this segment.
Talks are on to develop sustainable homes for India’s rural poor, by advocating the concept of a PowerHouse. The house, will run on renewable energy, generate excess power and earn for the occupants in the bargain.
Initiatives like PowerHouse possess the potential of turning around the economic divide and providing equal opportunity for all. Celebrations are a time to be grateful, humble and full of cheer! The Gods don’t see rich or poor, they look for respectful, honest and noble individuals. Let’s begin to propagate these virtues.