June 2, 2013

Don’t wait only to receive, let’s earn!

While we are fully aware that what someone gives to us is less of worth than something we buy with our hard earned money. However, it is very easy to fall into this trap of expecting for that takes much less effort from us, and as expected, this is the folly we fall into even when our politicians promise us gifts and freebies in the garb of promoting social and economic development. We have grown up over the years, especially as affluence pervades our families to be giving a lot of gifts. The businesses promise it and families lap this up as developmental ethic, and follow the Joneses in mimicking this behavior. This is capitalism in action, tingling the ego strings within us and sparking our competitive spirit as if it is the right thing to do. 

This was sparingly so in the more distant past when we were given our new clothes in alignment with some festival like one of the Eids - to don when we go for the days prayers or a function of the day. It was a moment for celebration and of course valuing this gift also because we knew we would not get another till the Eid next year. But now we get presents whenever we ask for it and even supplemented by the need of parents to allay their increasing neglect of their children of quality time with them, yet without a hope they will value what's given. Boredom soon sets in and they ask for more and the cycle goes on. As adults we don't fare any better.  In such a social habituation politicians make hay by extending that giving to whole communities -- a harbor here, a mosque there, airports, schools, roads, reclamation, and subsidies everywhere, are some of the gimmicks we fall for. Of course behind this culture of political giving and acceptance is our vestige of authoritarian rule of the past - of kings, queens and strong individuals who have used this approach to keep people continuously mesmerized by their benevolence. 

But now in a democracy should this be so? How does this culture of largesse measure up to the democratic principles of independent behavior we need to nurture if we do not want democracy to die on our door-step. By our very acceptance of gifts and largesse we are forfeiting the power given to us by our democratic principle.  By acceptance we acquiesce to the whims of another because we feel indebted and compelled to vote in that direction. How ironical is this situation. We want to eat the cake and still keep it also. We want what gifts we can get but we would like to keep our independent stance also? That is impractical both in reality and in morality. We need to be true to ourselves and learn to live to earn our gifts rather than these to be just offered to us for the taking. Accepting this state of affairs must indicate to us the immaturity of our polity to practice true democracy, rather what we dabble in is self deception.

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