, by PROF. M.A. HAQUE
In this Section
Our country is celebrating 60 years of our political independence. It is a fit occasion to take stock of our performance during the long years vis-a-vis targets set for the period. It is said the three colours in the flag signify important national inspirations. The saffron is supposed to represent the high ideals of sacrifice, detachment and renunciation whereas the white colour stands for purity and uncontaminated and unadulterated truth. The green colour represents prosperity, abundance, environmental cleanliness and freedom from vices. Together all these symbols stand for the lofty national ideals of peace, progress and prosperity. Indeed a combination of all these noble objectives, if achieved, can place our country on the highest pedestal of morality, motivation and achievement.
The 60th anniversary of the independence of the country reminds us of the gigantic efforts made by the country in various fields of national endeavour. Like a man at 60 years of age, nations also are supposed to be mature enough to be capable of reviewing progress in the background of then avowed targets while fully appreciating the enormity of problems encountered and solutions worked out thereof. It is a pity that after 60 years of independence the nation is not able to ensure a dignified life for all its citizens and about one fourth of its citizens still live below poverty line. We have not been able to realise our cherished ideals of peace, progress and prosperity for our teeming millions for whom life is a suffocating experience, drudgery and burden to carry. Future appears to hold no promise for their betterment; their dark lives seem to be devoid of sunshine and fresh air.
PROGRESS IN MANY FIELDS
Eradication of some diseases has been achieved and cures for diseases hitherto considered incurable have been discovered. Prediction of weather and control on elements of climate, synthesis of different natural constituents to near-original quality, mind-boggling researches in the fields of atomic energy and space, and discovery of marine wealth have been achieved and many things impossible earlier have been made possible. India also has made a name in these fields despite this marvellous feat; our society seems to have taken to the path of violence which has taken roots among different sections of society. Mutual mistrust, suspicion and bitterness, often due to misunderstanding because lack of social interaction or effective communication, create the ugly situation where an Indian is arrayed against another. Though man has set his foot on moon, he does not know how to conduct himself on earth. The struggle for existence in cutthroat competitive society is so acute and clash of economic interests so severe and intense that when one fails to reach out to good things in life, one takes to knife. When one feels wronged for long, one uses the gun. When criminals go scot-free in spite of using weapons such as guns, common people too adopt this wrong path. The national trends of crime, in absence of timely delivery of justice, lead one to take the law in one’s hand. Consequently one apprehends that these dangers will increasingly assume frighteningly large proportions if not effectively checked. Under these conscience-stirring circumstances each one is duty-bound to act immediately, effectively and decisively to preserve, protect and defend the nation’s unity, integrity ideals and peace which are in peril. The current scenario must stir every patriotic person into well-thought out, appropriate and swift action to defend the country with all mite at one’s disposal.
ne will have to take note of the fact that want, misery, neglect and suffering are still writ large on the faces of vast sections and segments of society. The fruits of political independence converted into economic well-being and prosperity have not been distributed fairly among all citizens. The economic affluence has not percolated to those at the base of the pyramid, the neglected, the downtrodden and have-nots. The skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, lives of affluence and vulgar display of wealth on one hand represent ease and comfort in life due to spectacular rise in standard of living and five-star hotel culture. On the other hand sub-human living conditions of masses reveal the dirty face of widely prevalent poverty. It gives a stunning blow to all our claims of successful governmental action to improve the lot of grossly disadvantaged sections of society. While lush green lawns attached to lavishly furnished bungalows, like islands of prosperity in the sea of abysmal poverty, depict progress, dry public taps in agonising summer flash an entirely different message.
OTHER FACTORS PUTTING PEACE IN PERIL
It is not only the violence which is an ill-omen or the only factor which poses a threat to peace. The widely prevalent corruption in all walks of our national life is sending distressing signals of impending disaster. A deeper study of the conduct of man on earth reveals that real cause of man’s wayward conduct is because of his polluted thinking wherein he has given a go-by to justice and fair play. Righteous conduct follows from a firm belief in God and in man’s accountability before Him for all his actions. One is not a Muslim until one believes in the Day of Judgment when everyone’s actions in this world shall be scrutinised and weighed to decide whether one will go to heaven or hell.
NEED TO RESTORE PRISTINE GLORY
Our national character seems to have touched its lowest ebb with our moral and ethical standards remaining open to question. Though there have never been absolutely perfect characters even in the past with the exception of the character of God’s messengers (peace and God’s blessings be with them) but the present day decline is too glaring to remain unnoticed. The character is the biggest casualty in the present day ‘machine age’. Ingredients of character – discipline, respect for the law, courtesy towards the elderly, sympathy towards the infirm and weak, love for children, truthfulness, sincerity, dutifulness, obedience of the authority, understanding for peers, consideration for the poor and the like – have been neglected. Fear of God which is said to be the beginning of wisdom in man seems to have made way for love of the materialistic acquisition. Nobler qualities of head and heart are rarities. Today an honest person is a rare species threatened with extinction. No doubt then that there is a world of difference between practice and profession. Corruption has assumed such a wide range with its infiltration in almost all aspects of our lives that it is impossible to eradicate it fully. Adulterated food stuffs, hoarding, black-marketing, smuggling, faulty weights and measures, offer and acceptance of bribe or ‘consideration money’ are widely prevalent today. What is stunning is that with onward march of time newer evils are finding currency. Donations at the time of admission to educational institutions and exorbitant fees charged by the coaching classes, some of which guarantee admission into medical and engineering colleges, arranging for leakage of test papers, impersonation by experienced and knowledgeable persons appearing for examinees whose admission has been guaranteed, generation and consumption of black money in building constructions, by builders and public; evasion of sales, excise, trade customs, income and entertainment taxes, perception of 73 per cent of general public (as inferred by Transparency International that corruption is rampant in courts which were and ought to be considered holy precincts of justice), online fraud in banking, large scale scandalous profits in the field of medicine manufacture in the form of spurious drugs (even life saving drugs not spared), hefty commission of doctors on clinical test prescribed by physicians (insisting on these being conducted at the clinics and laboratories of the treating physician’s choice), substandard construction of roads, bridges, buildings, etc. by civil engineers, transmission and distribution losses, in power sector no more remaining transmission and distribution losses but more aptly becoming theft and dacoity losses.
MAN’S EFFORTS TO SEEK SOLUTION
From times immemorial countless persons have offered numerous solutions to this vexed problem of corruption, based on varying asocial and other conditions in a particular place or age. The variation in suggested solutions depended on angles of approach to this ever- alive problem of the entire human-kind. Various prescriptions after numerous diagnoses have been prescribed and the treatment continues. But the problem lingers on. In this context it is relevant to look into the solution to this chronic problem authoritatively given by the Qur’an according to which God the Creator, the Master and the undisputed Monarch of all His creations has created human beings in this part of the universe called planet earth with some definite purpose. Human beings have been endowed with vast capabilities of acquiring knowledge, observing happenings around them, pondering about the facts of the universe and comprehension. Furthermore, He has enabled man to differentiate between the right and the wrong, good and evil, truth and falsehood. Moreover, He has given man the freedom of adopting any of many alternatives in all matters. Man has been bestowed with the power of exercising option, selection or rejection of a way of life depending on his deliberate and wilful choice. Thus he has been provided with the power to do an act and/or desist from it i.e. in a sense, he has been given ‘autonomy’ to use his natural talent and physical, mental and emotional energies to perform or abstain from acting i.e. follow the path of virtue and righteousness or get lost in the jungle of human desires. It was with this ‘autonomy’ that man was designated as God’s ‘viceroy’ on earth.
ANSWERABILITY TO CREATOR
While enabling man to utilise vast resources made available to man by God according to his sweet will, it was made abundantly clear to him that God alone, besides being his Creator, is to be worshipped by man without associating any partner(s) with Him and His laws alone are to be obeyed. It has been expressly ingrained in his psyche that beyond God, along with Him or above Him, there is none and that it is the only right thing for man to worship Him alone, obey Him in all matters and that having been given vast potentialities of action, he will have to return to God the Lord after the end of this worldly life. This life being the period of probation and test is required to be spent successfully i.e., in accordance with the commandments of God. Thus ultimately man’s obedience or rebellion with the commandments of God will bring eternal reward of highest order or man shall find himself thrown into Hell. The passing of the test shall open the gates of everlasting peace, bliss, eternal luxuries, fulfilment of all his desires whereas a failure will ensure inexpressible woes, agonies and torment no end. On the Day of Judgment God will be the sole Arbiter, His judgment not open to any revision or appeal. It shall be inescapable, unavoidable and final. This severe punishment shall be for the reason that the man chose to flout God’s order wilfully, mutilated it mischievously and trampled it under his feet fearlessly. Man was ordained to act according to his guidance sent through his Messengers (peace and God’s blessings be with them all) from time to time and thus the deal was quite clear and unambiguous.
Man’s actions were required to conform to the understanding to mould his conduct keeping in view the fact that this world with all its fascinations and charm, wealth and resources, material comforts and economic benefits, children and all support is transitional phase while the life hereafter is eternal. Thus the success in the life hereinafter is the real success whereas the failure therein is the real failure. In view of this fact man must strive for earning God’s pleasure which comes only from obedience of God’s commandments and following Holy Messenger’s instructions. He will be blessed with peace, harmony, happiness and contentment in life, otherwise strife, conflict, tension, tribulations, agony, disorder, discontentment, disturbance, turmoil and upheavals – social, economic and psychological, of severest intensities and magnitude – shall be his lot. A disobedient person shall not find solace in grand palaces, strong forts, magnificent gardens, prosperous agriculture or beneficial trade, commerce and industry, nor shall grandeur of high elected offices or administrative jobs or honours conferred for distinguished achievements or noteworthy services rendered to the society. If one is adjudged a defaulter, there is no way to avoid treatment which will be deservedly meted out to man in the world hereinafter for his gross misconduct of not surrendering before the wishes of God but following the path shown by his own nafs overpowered by Satan.
MAN’S GUIDE TO RIGHTEOUS PATH
Man can follow the righteous path if he sticks to adl (justice) in his conduct and does not usurp others’ rightful property, nor harms others by his tongue or other parts. A true Muslim always remembers that God does not like transgressors. If one were to keep in mind what the Holy Qur’an says ‘so establish weight with justice and fall not short in the balance’ (Surah Rahman, LV, Verse 9) and act accordingly i.e., according to the Lord’s commandment which was pronounced centuries prior to the worldly acts such as Weights and Measures Act or similar Acts which to this day are incomplete and require frequent amendments by insertion of new clauses, sections and sub-sections. The spirit of Iman i.e. belief in unseen, omnipotent, omnipresent Allah along with firm belief in Day of Judgment prevents man from going astray. Practising this philosophy develops society in a way where there is no exploitation or usurpation of others’ rights and hence no individual tussles or different groups waging a war against each other. Such a society booms with flowers and bears fruits.