In Indic thought and practices, Arth (wealth) is for Parmartha (virtue). Many case studies in Jharkhand among women demonstrate how the Samaj in Bharat still believes so and does the same
The proclivity which individuates Manu from rest was his compassion for the small fish whom he had put in a small pot to save it from the bigger ones challenging the ‘Matsya Nyaya’ to establish a civilised world. The western worldview conceptualises life from one (birth) to zero (death), a person is born, and he lives and dies, whereas Hindu worldview circulates between zero and one in a constant pursuit to attain the third state of infinity, i.e. becoming one with the Supreme leaving the circle of life and death. Manu’s compassion and the Hindu worldview subliminally ascertain the intent of our actions.
Dhanteras also known as Dhanatrayodashi or Dhanvantari Trayodashi, is the first day that marks the festival of Diwali in Bharat
While Max Weber in his “Protestant ethics and the rise of capitalism” propounded the West’s need for accumulation of wealth is to decorate God's Kingdom, we believe that ‘Arth’ (wealth) is for ‘Paramarth’ (virtue). We welcome Devi Lakshmi along with Sri Ganesha. Devi Lakshmi brings wealth, and Sri Ganesha brings wisdom (elephant head) and contentment (large belly) which together brings Sammriddhi (prosperity). What is of concern is the purpose of accumulating wealth which can change our destiny. The business community in India credits their cash book with the cash in the name of Sri Ganesha while starting a new enterprise.
Welfare-State in Bharat
The practice of patronising art and literature by the wealthy kings are substantiation to their understanding that if the physical needs (hunger and safety) of an individual are taken care of, he can work to attain his potential in self-actualisation. Same was later propounded by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in his ‘Theory of human motivation’. We got the beautiful collection 2381 poems of Sangam literature which was patronised by the Pandiya Dynasty, and Kalidas earned a parable of ‘upama kalidassya’, for his works, who was at the court of Chandragupta Vikramaditya. There are innumerable such examples in Indian history where had it not been the patron's no one would have known the patronised and had it not been the competence of the patronised no one would have known the patrons. The purpose of wealth is significant in creating intangible intellectual resources which brought virtues to both the patrons and the patronised.
Binita Devi, who supported by her husband, runs ' Basanti Mahila Kalyan Sangh' employing 15 women making sanitary napkins with the turnover of 12-15 lakhs per year
Economic pursuit is a province of both men and women. Vedic women were engaged in teaching, spinning and weaving. From the Satyabhama and Draupadi samvaada, it’s evident that Draupadi’s management of the economic affair of Indraprastha earned her Pandava’s respect. It saw a decline after the invasion of Islam which dragooned the pathetic condition of women. Sister Nivedita recognising the potential of Indian women, when women education was 1.5per cent, was the first to start the SHG for women to start a business.
Swarajya and Welfare
Swawlambi Jharkhand Micro welfare Development centre inspired by the swadeshi jagaran foundation has extended the loan of six crores to 2300 women in the state and had a zero default rate. It has supported women like Binita Devi, who supported by her husband, runs ‘Basanti Mahila Kalyan Sangh’ employing 15 women making sanitary napkins with the turnover of 12-15 lakhs per year. Similarly, Smt Hemlata Singh, a widow, has shifted from selling vegetables to a Kirana shop and sells for rupees 4000 to 4500 per day which has significantly changed her fortune. There are innumerable big stories of women's economic success, but these women are bringing change at the grassroots.
Smt Hemlata Singh, a widow, has shifted from selling vegetables to a Kirana shop and sells for rupees 4000 to 4500 per day which has significantly changed her fortune
Bill Gates and Milinda Gates started the “Giving Pledge” in 2010 wherein they would ask the wealthy individual to donate their excess wealth for philanthropy. Recently in an interview Bill Gates said that Indian’s contribution to philanthropy is lesser in comparison to its potential. In India, most of the households have a member residing in it from the extended family due to lack of means to sustain them in their own family. We live by our entire ecosystem and not just by ourselves. Mahabharata says that one-third of our wealth should be used for philanthropy whereas Bhagwat Purana propounds that we have no right to claim more than what is required. It seems that neo philanthropist of the neo-capitalist society is unaware of our age-old concept of ‘Daan’ which is now replaced by ‘philanthropy’, and we don't need a signboard of a 'Trust' to perform it.
Bhartiyas have inherited the essence in the reply that Nachiketa gave to Yama “No man can be made happy by wealth, shall we possess wealth when we see thee?"
The developed economies of the world have vested with the Indians the fate of more than 21 companies worth more than 530 billion USD which is more than the Indian Government's budget of 300 Billion USD. From Sundar Pichai to Indira Nooyi to Anshu Jain to Padmasree Warrior are few names in the list. 30 per cent of Fortune 500 companies have Indian CEOs. This fact in isolation doesn't make much sense, but an additional fact that no other country shares the same credentials makes one ponder for a reason behind this. The world is subconsciously experiencing our inherent pursuit of the infinity which makes wealth, not an end, but as a means for creating value. Our proficiency in handling the world diversity was acknowledged by Sun in Global Times “They [Indians] grow up in a diverse culture and have the great adaptability to varied kinds of cultures, which earn them points in large international companies with a similar environment”.
Gender Emphasis on Wealth Darsan
Bhartiya philosophy to overtly enjoy worldly pleasure while keeping our spiritual pursuit intact has been personified by the Mohini Avatar of Lord Vishnu. One has to keep hold of the inner spiritual being (Sri Vishnu) which can be covered with the veil of materiality (beautiful women) and sstill attain moksha. One doesn’t have to submit to materialism but become aware that its accumulation is for creating values for all stakeholders. Cyrus Mistry was not ousted from TATA group for his financial incapability but his disconnect with the ethos, values and spirit of the 148 years old group. Ratan Tata said that it was the poor governance, conflict of interest and tendency to concentrate control which formed the ground for such decision. No matter if the corporeity is achieved or not but the resolve of the corporation cannot be compromised. Offering values and not just steel has made Tata Steel as the largest private steel-making company in India and one of the largest in the world. The group's tagline of “values stronger than steel” comprehends their actions and beliefs.
A yagna to bear desirable fruits requires the best of ingredients to be offered with the pious intentions. The means are rendered more important than the ends. If means are taken care off, then the ends are certain. When Vineet Nayar, CEO of HCL, in 2005 came up with the vision of “Employees First Customer Second” as a human way of transforming his company, the world was shocked to see that the customer who is considered as God was given the second place in such a competitive market. Vineet Nayar inspired by the vision of his grandmother, to do well, knew the importance of ahuti in yagna. The better the ingredients (employees) of the ahuti, the more are the chances of Gods (clients) bestowing their blessings. Fortune magazine regarded it as “the world's most modern idea” which made HCL as the number one company in customer ( God ) satisfaction. The top line (turnover) and the bottom line (profit) were not the focus, but the focus shifted to the means (employees) of achieving them. Whether we accept it or not but certain attributes are inherited from our forefathers and instinctively reflects in our actions. Bhartiyas have inherited the essence in the reply that Nachiketa gave to Yama “No man can be made happy by wealth, shall we possess wealth when we see thee?”
(The writer is an alumna of XLRI, Jamshedpur)