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, 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,
Therefore, the essential attribute that classifies humans is ‘haves and have-nots.’ For all practical purposes, there are only rich people and poor people and no other people.
The relationship between these two classes is exploitative, and according to the conscious minds it can be resolved by fostering a change in the social psychology. Too many people spend their money for 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 the 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. The pomp and show of money does not just establish the financial supremacy of upper class, but it also wounds the tender desires and emotions of the poor and innocent. Innocence offers them delightful possibilities for exploitation.
Nothing can be more vicious and outrageous than the intentional abuse, and exploitation of the most vulnerable people of our society, and I firmly believe that we need to reflect the seriousness of these acts. All exaggerations are evil but some are graver than others. It can also be so, that people are unmindful of what they do and they may not have any evil intentions. But their attention needs to be drawn to the social framework and be not lead astray.
Those who are mindful may lead by example. There is a dire need of demonetisation of social evils. Earned money needs to be spent for the present, saved for the future and invested in business to keep going in life. Borrowed money must be returned. Similarly inherited money must be passed forward. Money does make a difference in life. All important goals in family say, education, health care, well being, welfare, fun and adventure are settled with money. It also gives access to some intangible assets of life such as freedom or independence.
Money is essential to run the life but if allowed to overrun, it can actually ruin. We need to know where to draw the silver line. According to lord Buddha, money is the worst discovery of human life but it is the most trusted material to test human nature. 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. 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 livelihood to others brings perpetuating richness to the rich.
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 in eternal craving. If earning money is important, 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. Such 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!
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. All gods of money and might were challenged to the core. The affairs of economy were streamlined by accountability, both moral and social. 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. So 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” intending to make a purposeful move in this direction.
Dr. Qudsia Gani, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, Cluster University Srinagar