The social media was all abuzz with citizens of J&K welcoming the order on Imposition of restrictions on injudicious use of Essential Commodities in social/Govt./private functions under the supervision of Secretary to Government, Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs. Undoubtedly this is a welcome move to restrict the ostentatious display of wealth and more towards putting a coma to the wastage of resources. After all both create undue pressure on society.
What made me think was not the issuing of the order but the reaction of people (including myself). It reflects that how shallow we have become as a society that what could have been self-adopted by mere moral checks had to be enforced as a law. I would like to cite an in-depth analysis of the situation for those who still fail to understand that how undue consumption of resources from personal wealth can be problematic for Government and what incites them to pass an order like that.
We arrange for a party be it a social gathering, Government organized or private one. The grandeur of the event passes through the eyes of hundreds who attend and thousands who get to know about the splendor of the party by word of mouth. This creates a chain reaction in the society to surpass each other in the magnanimity of the event when held next. Result? With every upcoming party, the amount of wealth and resources consumed shows an upward trend and eventually flown down the gutter. While some may be wealthy enough to bear an exorbitant cost, for others it creates a peer pressure and challenge to keep afloat in the society. And that causes them to indulge in corrupt practices and untoward means. What seems to be mere spending from personal pool of wealth actually becomes burden for the society as a whole.
Unfortunately we are blind folded to such realisations. In fact in most of the cases which need us to be community conscious and well-wisher, we innately have a blind spot. May be that is a part of evolution which Darwin would too fail to explain. But no wonder that if an issue as objective like this can go unnoticed and needs law to put things in place; we need stricter laws on civic policies, communal subjects, national integrity and sovereignty. Though that is a sad state of affairs. Because while we claim that more and more of our populace is getting educated, the need of laws should be on decline for we as a society expect maturity from each and every one. Contradistinguish, we are in the need of having more and more laws in place.
If that is the need of the hour, I think the one that must be in place is community building. While we are good at making money, personal assets – we clearly lack on the front of community efforts. Since ages, whether pre-historic, medieval times or modern times – history clearly tells that transformations have taken place only when the community (the people) have come together. A single thought held by cohorts can be a life-changing. And to be able to live in a better and progressive society; we should take this order as a precursor and put checks and balances in place. In most of my articles, I have highlighted the fact that how J&K is bestowed with many things good and we need to nurture them collaboratively. Let us all create an ecosystem together for it to prosper and grow.Because if not today, then when?
(The writer is an IIM Shillong Alumnus)