Essay No. 126:
Beggars Are Not The Choosers: The maxim deals with a bare reality of life. Beggars depend on the alms of others. They are not in a position of dictating their terms of the alms givers. They have to remain contented with the quantity of alms given to them. The alms may be in the form of a few token coins or a ten-rupee. A beggar cannot force an alms giver to give him a hundred rupee note.
Beggars are devoid of self-respect. They have to bear the taunts of people. They are subjected to great humiliation. They don’t feel small in extending their bowl to people. People call them names and they have silently to put up with them. Beggars thus are shorn of self-esteem/dignity.
This prevents them from having their choices in life. Their only choice is begging to silently bear the recriminations of the people. Once begging is adopted it goes deep into the psyche of beggars. Even if some beggars are economically well off, they do not like to give up begging.
Nations that develop the habit of begging in the form of foreign aid to raise the level of development, find it, in the long run, to dispense with aid for one reason or the other. The debt-servicing problem rises which consumes a large proportion of their budgetary resources. The inflow of foreign loans is off-set by the servicing of loans which debtor countries have to repay.
Most of the inflows of loans are utilized to pay off the external debt, and only a small percentage of aid is utilized to finance development projects. The poor developing countries are caught in a debt-trap, out of which they cannot get out. Top of all, they are enslaved permanently by the creditor developed countries.
They are forced to toe the lines which the developed countries wish them to follow in the formulation of their domestic policies. They cannot follow the independent foreign policy to promote their interests in the global context. The poor countries, willy-nilly, have to accept the conditionalities of the developed lender countries.
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They cannot dare to defy their wishes. The poor countries placed under heavy debt, thus do not have the independent will of their own. They cannot pursue independent policies, free of foreign dictation to promote national interests. Hence if Pakistan wishes to assert its will in the sphere of international relations, it must break the begging bowl for all times to come.
Beggary is an evil which robs an individual / a nation of its self-respect. If we wish to revive our selfhood, we must stop taking foreign aid. We must depend on our internal strength. What we need is the dedicated leadership which could set the nation on the path of self-reliance.
February 15, 2020