Muhammad Azam |
Eid-al-Fitr is upon us once again. For generations, it has been a time of celebrations and thanksgiving for Muslim communities but over the years the forms our celebrations take have evolved.
2 to 3 decades ago Eid celebrations were a modest affair. Families would gather for delectable meals and enjoy each other’s company; Kids would be bought new shoes and clothes for the special day; Adults gave children a relatively minimal amount of money as eidi, now, however, things have changed.
A society that is increasingly captivated by the capitalist principles of status and material gain has suppressed the spirit of Eid.
Eid is amongst the many victims of the unchecked capitalism that has taken a hold of Pakistan.
Today, Eid is all about the latest fashion trends and shopping sales. Eidi is no more a token gift but rather a boast of one’s affluence. From being a family centric, Thanksgiving affair Eid has been contorted into a Black Friday-esque holiday where the simplicity and joy of what it stood for have been replaced with a crazed race to accumulate more.
It may sound harsh but nonetheless, it is true.
Eid is amongst the many victims of the unchecked capitalism that has taken a hold of Pakistan. It is astounding how in a nation where almost half the population is below the poverty line, the media and corporations aggressively push their agenda of wealth equals happiness. It may appear normal and this criticism may seem to slant towards unfounded cynicism but this nation will face major repercussions if the current paradigm continues to progress.
Whenever in a society a sizeable amount of population is made to feel hopeless, charged emotions are bound to flame.
While the middle and upper classes continue in their wild race to sate the desires induced in them by corporate overlords, the vast population of the poor and unprivileged is being subjected to a deep sense of un-fulfillment which has given birth to an exponentially growing resentment over their socio-economic status.
The cauldron is brewing and it will not take much for it to boil over. Whenever in a society a sizeable amount of population is made to feel hopeless, charged emotions are bound to flame. If an individual or organization harnesses these charged emotions, the result is chaos and breakdown of the social structure.
We have ample proof of this in the modern world. Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt all of these nations have fallen victim to internally or externally induced revolts.
Coming back to Eid, it is not inherently wrong to enjoy yourself or to lavish a little on yourself. But it is of the utmost importance for the wellbeing of individuals and the societies they form to recognize that the accumulation of material wealth will by no means satisfy their urge to expand beyond themselves. For satisfaction and harmony, one must seek within one’s self, not the local shopping mall.