When Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that the tendency to earn unlimited wealth is but a kind of sickness of the mind, she could not have been closer to the truth. Only a person who stands on a strong moral ground can come up with such a brusque comment. No doubt psychologists would agree with her observation that the uncontrollable desire to earn wealth stems from some kind of insecurity which such people try to overcome or compensate with wealth.
Wealth gives them security, power and social position which their family lacked before. Wealth provides them with a ladder to climb up to the upper crust in society, and to find a place in the political arena. But when they cannot stop at a certain point and keeps amassing wealth much beyond their ability to spend on a good cause, it is considered a mental aberration. Unlimited wealth gives unlimited power and that is when most of them turn to criminality to enjoy their acquired power.
Sheikh Hasina has surely seen many such people in her long political career since the time of her father. She has seen people who remain preoccupied with the goal of earning more money then what they needed in life and she must have been convinced about the poor intellectual state of such persons.
At the same time she must have seen a different genre of people to whom money was the secondary need while intellectual pursuit came first. She does not have to go far to find the best examples of such persons. Her own father, the father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was a man who had no unnatural desire to earn millions using his political clout. He definitely had the need for money but that was limited to the amount required to meet his daily expenses. But he had the scope to earn more money than what he needed to run his family. There are reasons to believe that the Adamjees, the Bawanees and the military governments of the time had offered him large sums to leave politics. They would have made him the richest Bangalee in this part of the world only if he would stop making their life miserable. But Bangabandhu was not someone who could be bought with money.
In the real world as well as in the world of literature there are dozens of stories on how greed for wealth brought about the downfall of many rich and powerful persons. At the same time there are examples of rich men giving away most of their money to charitable organisations opting to lead a simple life. Money did not bring the inner peace they have been seeking all along. At one point in life these people could perhaps comprehend that there was more satisfaction in giving than taking. Today’s richest man Bill Gates has decided to donate his wealth to charity. But our millionaires who earned 500 crore from illegal casino business and extortion, prefer to keep their money in foreign banks. If not stopped they would have earned 500 crore more by now. What is the value of their money?
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is one head of
government in the world who has a clean slate
as far as her personal moral standing and integrity
are concerned. So, she does not only
preach morality, she practices it too
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, with her maturity in politics and family life, can now read human mind with a greater degree of accuracy. She understands who around her are real friends, and who are only fair weather birds. She could identify people in her party, and even in her extended family, who are known for their uncontrollable greed for money. And she has taken action against some of them.
She also said very recently that it is better to eat rice with salt with your honestly earned income than to eat rich food with illegally earned money. Can we hope that people who are still busy amassing wealth through grabbing private and public land, collecting extortion money from trucks and buses, collecting tolls from markets and shops and factories, and squeezing money from poor job-seekers in the name of giving them jobs are listening to her good words.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is one head of government in the world who has a clean slate as far as her personal moral standing and integrity are concerned. So, she does not only preach morality, she practices it too.
Shahnoor Wahid is Advisory Editor of Bangladesh Post