Nearly each household in rural Sindh portrays a depressed picture of darkness, destitution and deficiency. Despite the poverty, the people have learnt how to live happily and are hospitable, simple and innocent in nature.Recently I come across a 21-year-old student of intermediate named Abdul Salam. He resides in the rustic hamlet of district Badin and has led an interesting life. He routinely experiences apprehensions regarding his family and their constant struggle against poverty and deadly communicable diseases. With piercing eyes, Salam tells me: “One of my brothers is unable to speak; our life is limited to earn enough to survive the day. Sometime we even work nights. If one day is missed we have nothing to eat.”“Our lives’ purpose is to survive in this egocentric, vain and selfish world, pure and simple.”This is the district where the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has been ruling for decades. Natural oil and gas is found in abundance here and the district is the biggest producer of tomatoes in the country. Despite this, Badin has been completely disregarded and its people face complex problems. As indicated by the Pakistan Human Development Report 2017, the district falls in the category of low human development index at 87. The Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) and Severe Acute Malnutrition is 9.8 and 3.9 accordingly. The village that young Salam inhabits is devoid of fundamental human amenities such as electricity, gas, education, health, access to market, etc. He and his family might be living in the dark ages in this enlightened world. His family’s limited source of earnings is livestock rearing. They are complete cut-off from the external world and are not bothered about what is happening in the parliament or cabinet. They do not fret over what takes place in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Israel and Sub-Saharan Africa.Salam and his family are busy extinguishing the extreme hunger and poverty that has been created for them, owing to bad governance, institutional corruption, and politicians’ unwillingness. He states: “Our lives purpose is to survive in this egocentric, vain and selfish world, pure and simple.” After intermediate, young Salam bought three sheep for Rs 7, 000 each. He was not interested in further education and decided to be a shepherd. Now after five years, he owns than 30 sheep and sells milk and wool to survive. “Being a shepherd is one of the hardest tasks because my daily meal usually consists of onion and water. Furthermore, after grazing in the meadows, I also buy grass and chaff from market,” he adds.There are hundreds of young Salams who are willing to contribute socially and economically to the society but the callous environment puts hurdles, preventing them for doing something positive. Now, Salam is no longer interested in education and says that his main aim is to own a huge flock of sheep and is content to remain a simple shepherd. “I love these sheep, now these are everything for me,” he states. There are hundreds of young Salams who are willing to contribute socially and economically to the society but the callous environment puts hurdles, preventing them for doing something positiveExtreme inequalities and structured poverty looms all around this deprived sect of society. Even though, they are taxed more than their incomes they are not given basic services like proper education, health, social protection, and to top it all are facing alarming malnutrition.According to Salam’s father Ishaque: “It is our fate to face hardships and adversity, our life is a constant struggle for survival. It is rare that we have meat, fish and chicken, to eat. Every day we buy one kg flour. We sleep under the open sky and possess no land to construct a house or a toilet.” Salam smilingly murmurs, “We have learnt the skill of how to live in poverty and hunger and are content, independent and self-made.” He has a message for the concerned authorities: “We don’t require luxuries just fundamental needs which being citizens of the country is our constitutional right.”The writer is a socio-economic development professional and possesses eight years of experience in the development and humanitarian sector.Published in Daily Times, September 9th 2018.