by Dr Qudsia Gani
The pomp and show of money does not just establish the financial supremacy of the upper class, but it also wounds the tender desires and emotions of the poor and innocent. All exaggerations are evil but some are graver than others. There is a dire need that civil society plays a role in launching a movement of social demonetisation.
People can be grouped in many ways, say, ugly and pretty or weak and strong or dull and smart or villagers and city dwellers or locals and foreigners and so on. But these distinctions are superficial and diffusible.
With money, the ugly turn beautiful. With money, the average minds enslave the intelligent minds. With money, villages outgrow the cities. With money, the borders and nationalities become irrelevant. With money, the whole world is ours. From money, stems the power. Capitalists hold the democrats. Money holders are the key holders.
When money talks, nobody cares what kind of grammar it uses. Having or not having money matters, despite all riches. Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor. As the poet says,
Toot Jata Hai Ghareebi Main Woh Rishta Jo Khaas Hota Hai.
Hazaron Yaar Banty Hain Jab Paisa Paas Hota Hai.
The Basic Division
Therefore, the practical attribute that classifies humans is ‘haves and have-nots.’ So there are only rich people and poor people and no other people. The relationship between these two classes is exploitative, and according to conscious minds, it can be resolved by fostering a change in social psychology.
Too many people spend their money on things that they don’t want, but to impress those who they don’t like. One such miserable example in the context of Kashmiri society can be seen in the live streaming of lavish weddings on youtube. It is very trendy these days and is doing a great disservice to society. This is essentially a concern because we are a money-deficient society and not a surplus one. In the overwhelmed societies, this may be a non-issue to be overlooked. But here at our place, it is corrosive.
The class distinctions get still more contrasting and more divisive. The civil code gets the most uncivil. This is because, the pomp and show of money does not just establish the financial supremacy of the upper class, but it also wounds the tender desires and emotions of the poor and innocent. All exaggerations are evil but some are graver than others. There is a dire need that civil society plays a role in launching a movement of social demonetisation.
Earned money needs to be spent for the present, saved for the future and invested in the business to keep going in life. Borrowed money must be returned. Similarly inherited money must be passed forward. Money is essential to run life but if allowed to overrun, it can actually ruin.
According to Lord Buddha, money is the worst discovery of human life but it is the most trusted material to test human nature. We need to know where to draw the silver line. Money does make a difference in life. All important goals in the family say, education, health care, well being, welfare, fun and adventure are settled with money.
Money also gives access to some intangible assets such as freedom or independence. But the rich people need to figure out the values with which they can align their money. Money needs a channel to be utilised not a flow to be wasted. When the needs are fulfilled at the first place, it is followed by a great deal of joy and satisfaction. On the other hand, luxuries keep us eternally craving.
Building a hospital in a wretched society is far more a priority than building a hotel or a vacation resort. Investing in a project of public interest can be far more cherishing than making a world tour. Being entrepreneurs and providing a livelihood to others brings perpetuating richness to the rich than its usurpation by luxuries. Earning money is important and so is the feedback in the form of charity and tax, to bridge the gap between rich and poor. When this gap grows or the divide gets deeper, there is a call for revolution. Sch calls are responded well by the poor and have earned a great deal of success in the past. These will always do. As the poet says,
Utho! Meri Dunya Ke Ghareebo Ko Jaga Do
Kakh-e-Umra Ke Dar-o-Diwar Hila Do
(Rise, and from their slumber wake the poor ones of My world!
Shake the walls and windows of the mansions of the great!)
The Rise of Communism
It was in the same context that communism had popped up as a special form of socialism to counter exploitation. Islam begins with communism i.e La ilaha, meaning there is no God (only to emphasise that ‘but the God’), which is the essence of Communism. All Gods of Money, Might and Material were challenged to the core. There are many Marxists who believe that Islam can accommodate or guide the social changes Marxism hopes to accomplish.
Once the prophet of Islam was asked about what he cherished the most before entering prophethood. He talked about his role in the formation of a confederacy created by the Meccans in the year 590 AD to establish justice for all through collective action, especially for those who had no connections to the powerful. This alliance was known as Hilf al-Fudul. With all humility, I too have one, on a digital platform. It is called the Cosmic Guidance. All of us in general but the social reformers, in particular, are obliged to pool their heads to make a significant move in the aforesaid direction.
(The author teaches Physics at the Cluster University Srinagar. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Kashmir Life.)