Here is the rough recollection of my essay that i wrote in 2016 Mains. The actual exam performance might have varied but overall the draft remained on similar lines.
Report from Amnesty International states that wealth of 62 richest individuals equals wealth of 3.2 billion of population. Quite similar revelations have been made by WEALTH X International on rising in equality in societal discourse.
But what is this inequality? Is it the result of greed? How have we come across a situation where our needs have transformed into excessive greediness? Is the impact on breed really that significant? This essay represents an attempt to explore the multidimensional aspects associated with need and transformation of the same into associated greed.
To begin with, Need represents requirement, necessity and manifests individual aspiration. It represents an urge to fulfill certain deficiency arising out of day to day requirements. Even notable thinker, ABRAHAM MASLOW regards needs into 5 types like PHYSIOLOGICAL, SECURITY, SOCIAL, SELF ESTEEM AND SELF ACTUALIZATION. Thus in a comprehensive fashion, NEED can aptly be described as foundation stone of human civilization.
Further moving ahead, GREED should not be viewed in negative perception. Greed simply signifies the individual motivation to progress, to improve and to work upon the existing issues. It is only when the greed exceeds beyond a threshold that spoiling of breed begins. Such breakdown of equilibrium results in undermining of existing governance, societal and human values at large. It gives rise to vested interest.
Subsequent paragraphs will be attempt to decipher the stated deductions in a multidimensional paradigm. Beginning with HISTORICAL aspect, the emergence of VEDIC age and associated demarcations into BRAHMIN, KSHTRIYA, VAISHYA, and SHUDRA was the result of need to divide the work in societal discourse. However it was the extreme greediness of BRAHMINS to upsurpe the power which resulted in entrenchment of exploitative tendencies.
Similarly, rise of MUSSOLINI in ITALY, HITLER in Germany, slave trade in America and exploitation of African nationals during 18th century very aptly reflects the notion of excessive greediness destroying the breed. Even, the GLORIOUS REVOLUTION OF Britain reflects how rise of absolute monarchy created upheaval in society. It disturbed the balance; it broke the equilibrium resulting into distracting the breed. The role and initiatives of East India Company in India, the DRAIN OF WEALTH THEORY, very emphatically elaborates that Need bring greed; if greed increases it spoils the breed.
Even from POLITICAL perspective, ADR revelations on criminalization of politics reveal that the percentage of criminals in electoral arena has been on increase (2003: 23%, 2009: 30%, 2014: 34%). The need to secure stability arose in 1969, the year which YOGENDRA YADAV regards as 1st Democratic upsurge. However, the urge to maintain congress dominance got slowly converted into extreme greediness which has today broken the foundation of entire electoral system.
Similarly issues like SATYAM, SAHARA, SHARDHA, OCCUPY WALLSTREET MOVEMENT etc. emphatically present the negative repercussions of extreme greed destroying the breed. Crony capitalism has today acquired institutional shape only because of such transformation. Hence, Need brings greed but when greed exceeds, it destroys the breed.
From societal perspective, there is emerging a rising tide of fragmenting the knowledge. Focus on secluded traditional learning has created multiple issues. The murder of NARENDRA DHABOLKAR, MM KALBURGI, the withdrawal of PERUMAL MURUGAN book etc. expresses the same. Here greed is not about materialistic pleasure but the aspect of cultural homogeneity. RABINDRANATH TAGORE very enthusiastically stated that,
“Whatever we understand and enjoy in human products instantly become ours, wherever they might have origin. I am proud of my humanity when I can acknowledge the poets and artist of other countries as my own. It makes me feel great that all the great glories of man are mine”
Hence, need brings greed but if greed exceeds it destroys the breed.
Moreover the greed is very well visible in women empowerment agenda. AMARTYA SEN regards Indian situation as “The country of first Boys syndrome”. In gender Inequality Index, India stands at 142/148. NCRB statistics reveal that 15 individuals commit suicide every hour out of which 17% are house wife. The role of women getting restricted to household chores was initially parts of division of work i.e. every actor contributing equally towards sustainable management. But today, complex pre dispositions have got associated with feminine discrimination. Certain initiatives like women reservation in POLICE etc. have been undertaken.But the greed of maintaining male dominance has exceeded to such levels that breed has been subjected to vulnerability. Hence need brings greed but if greed exceeds it destroys the breed.
Similarly, RELIGION is considered as the medium to connect individual with supreme self. It is the manifestation of individual need to purify one’s soul and establish absolute congruence. However today an element of fragmentation, divisiveness and seclusion has been infused. RIG VEDA in this context states that-
“Leave this chanting and singing and telling of beads!
Whom do you worship in this lonely dark corner of temple with doors all shut?
Open your eyes and see your God is not before you!
He is there where the tiller is tilling the hard ground
And where the path maker is breaking stones.
He is with them in sun and in shower,
And his garments is covered with dust”
Hence today we need religion which is just, equal and accessible to all. We need it for fulfilling the basic necessities and not for satisfying the ulterior motives. The extreme greediness needs to be curbed else the MUZAFFARNAGAR RIOTS like situation will keep on influencing our societal discourse.
In today’s world there have been multiple reflections of extreme greed destroying the intricate balance. In sports domain, LODHA COMMITTEE report reflects the domination of BCCI and how the extreme greed has infused the element of corruption. In ENVIRONMENTAL domain, post DIWALI FOG and impacts of climate change reflects the negative influences of extreme greediness. While Need and Greed represent critical element of human progress, it is the transgression into domain of extreme greediness which is the result of present upheaval.
On concluding note, a short incident from SHAHJAHAN life deserve acknowledgment-
In order to assess the progress of TAJMAHAL construction, SHAH JAHAN camouflaged himself and went outside to get 1st hand experience. He asked workers, what they were doing.
1st replied: do not disturb, I am working—showcased individual devotion
2nd replied: do not disturb, I am doing work of art—showcased pride in individual work
3rd replied: do not disturb, I am building TAJ MAHAL—showcases the power of shared Vision.
Today, we need this power, in order to restore the balance and maintain due coherence between Need and Greed. Either we can wither away as society of past or we can set our home in order and set the foundations for upcoming future. The choice is completely ours to make!
While need and greed are essential, the transformation of same into extreme greed needs to be checked. Hence, need brings greed but if greed exceeds, it destroys the breed.
Every incident happening around us is a part of a story. Even every individual surrounding us are the characters in the multiple stories surrounding our heavenly body Earth. This essay represents an attempt to narrate one story from the bunch of thousands of stories and to analyze it multiple dimensions.
A small town farmer named RAMU had two sons i.e. RAMESH and ABHISHEK. Both of they were very active lads showcasing keen interest in their father’s work. However, RAMU having lived his entire life in town areas had recognized the importance of education and the rich dividends it can reap in the future. He decided to admit both of his wards into a nearby government school. And here began the vicious cycle of dilemma and skepticism. RAMU shouted, “You two are back again, don’t you have anything to learn in school”. The honest and quite fearful reply was, “MASTERJI is absent owing to the harvesting season. He is busy in his fields.” The same story continued for some time.
RAMU finally had to succumb to his dreams, his aspirations of making his children highly educated. He could not afford private schooling not could he afford to move out of his place of residence. What is most amusing is that RAMU’s story is not a standalone version. The issue is widely prevalent and visible in poor learning outcomes from government run primary and secondary institutions.
An innovative solution to such issues lies in the concept of “school choice”. What if RAMU gets the option of switching his children to another school without paying any extra charge? He will definitely be able to fulfill his aspirations. School choice concept aids in doing the same. Government in this initiative will provide education vouchers to parents. This voucher will be used to admit students into educational institutions whether private or public. If a private institution charges more than average fees then the balance needs to be payed by parents out of pocket.
The core philosophy behind the initiative is to combine market economy with welfare agenda of state. By giving discretion in hands of parents to select school, element of competition has been given a significant push. Whereas by providing voucher having average value, state is also fulfilling its welfare agenda. The positives of the initiative will be visible in personality of RAMESH and ABHISHEK. Depending upon their parents income they can now opt for school having better performance, the discretion of exit makes institution to improve its performance and develop competitive economy around the educational curriculum.
However, try recalling initial dilemma of RAMU. He was not having sufficient economic potential to opt for better institution. It indicates that RAMU choices will increase within limited fashion i.e. he can opt for institution with in same price band. This illustrates the classic issue of vulnerable sections of our society. The optimum solution for this lies in universal development of primary institutions. Even though Govt. has taken multiple initiatives like RTE, SARV SHIKSA ABHIYAN etc. the results are far from visible. The ASER, 2015 report continues to illustrate the dilapidating condition of government run schools.
Clearly, the proposal has both pros as well as cons. But at the heart of entire debate lies one issue i.e. serving the needs of vulnerable and weaker sections of society. The proposal can be very nicely elaborated via “VOICE and EXIT” principle of Albert O. Hirschman. It is the core of market economy i.e. you raise your voice and finally exit if the services provided are not of desired standards. But the classic dilemma with RAMU is exit to where?
Thus, to conclude on an optimistic and pragmatic note, there is no magic wand which can solve basic governance issues. Health and education have been identified as basic parameter of human development. It is high time utmost priority is attributed to reforming the public institutions working in the said domain. The benchmark set by public institutions will ultimately boost private sector to raise its standards. But the master i.e. state has to take the first step. Concluding with Gandhian philosophy:
“The soul of nation is fulfilled not by the achievement so of higher class but by the fulfillment of basic needs desired by downtrodden and vulnerable class.”
We daily wake up in the morning, indulge in daily chores and finally lie down on bed. The cycle keeps on repeating whether it’s for a common man or for any honorable dignitary. What creates the difference is the work we do in the space between waking up and sleeping. By now you would have already guessed that this article once again pertains to life management i.e. how we must deal with daily issues and moreover how we can derive larger meaning out of our lives. Whether working in a MNC on a hefty package is sufficient? What do we seek by indulging in charity work? More over how we should live our life extending across decades and touching lives of many more around us?
On the starting note let me sound very clear that we all are mortals and our bodily fragility has its own limitations. Yes we will die some day or the other. But what creates the difference is how we can achieve that larger purpose? To answer the same let me quote a text from movie Peaceful Warrior, “there is no larger purpose, only the present moment is the reality and nothing else”. Confusing isn’t it? All our lives we keep on running behind targets. Initially focus is towards landing into descent job, then finding suitable bride/groom, getting promotion, new car, new home so one and so forth. But does that encapsulate all that life has given us. True that we must be competitive and ensure complete realization of our dreams but remains equally crucial that we enjoy what we do.
Steve Jobs has beautifully and emphatically presented the statement that one must devote his entire time towards finding what one really loves and that then truly madly devote himself for it. Point that I wish to make is to urge the youth for coming out of the mechanical aspects of seeking job and subsequently continuing with life cycle. Due attention must be paid towards pursuing the path we actually love. No work is small or menial provided we love it.
Thus what we have at our disposal is present moment. There is no past and no future. What matters is what we do in the present. Choice is ours on how we really wish to utilize it i.e. procrastination, jealousy, competition or simply doing the things we actually love. So folks, enjoy every moment there at your disposal, make sure of appreciating what we have presently and let’s devote ourselves towards things that we are really crazy about. It is only then we would have ensured justice has been done towards the task that we were assigned for.