Ramzan and Capitalism

by Taimur Rahman

Ramzan is supposed to be a month where one is supposed to abstain from the material and other pleasures of the world. It is a month when we are supposed to find out what it feels like to have little or nothing. Those who have plenty are supposed to know what it feels like to have nothing. The rich are supposed to give alms to the poor. The general feeling one gets is that it should be a period when the rich abstain from consumption and help the poor.

But in Pakistan the opposite is the case. During the month of Ramadan, demand for commodities goes through the roof. People are not abstaining and consuming less. In fact, they are consuming more. All major corporations in Pakistan know that in the month of Ramzan overall consumption rises. Hence, they spend incredible amounts of money advertising their products with massive billboards and TV adds that invite more consumption under the sanctimonious garb of promoting the Ramzan spirit.

The overall result is that prices of all commodities are going up. And this causes the cost of living to go up. And inevitably means that those who are poor become poorer. Those on the poverty line descend into poverty. Those in poverty descend below the hunger line. All the charity in the world cannot compare with the affect of the overall rise in cost of living. Whatever the rich are giving in terms of alms is an insignificant portion of what is being taken away from millions of families by the rise in prices.

At the end of the day, this Ramzan, instead of being a month of abstinence for the rich and alms for the poor, is a month of super-consumption for the rich and increasing poverty for the poor.

Such is the reality of Ramzan under the influence of capitalism in Pakistan.

5 Comments

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5 responses to “Ramzan and Capitalism

  1. Ahmed Chowdhry

    @TR – It’s the consumption of goods and services which drives the modern economies of the world. No matter how much the left leaning ideologues blame Capitalism and Globalization, the fact remains that during the last decades millions have been lifted out of poverty in China and India just because of economic reforms which have raised the income levels in these countries.

  2. Puzzled

    I do not believe that Capitalism is to be blamed.

    I simply can’t get over the fact that Ramadhan comes every year without any surprises, yet there are no plans in place for the availablilty of the basics.

    And agreeing with the author, one can notice that there’s too much emphasis on ‘sahri’ and ‘iftaar’ and ‘parties’ as opposed to the true spirit of fasting. During the normal days, people don’t eat samosas every day, but in Ramadhan for some reasons, ‘samosa’ becomes our no.1 snack.

    The idea of Ramadhan is to keep the original diet in smaller quantity and the emphasis on “Eiman” in larger quantity, but unfortunately the reverse has taken it over.

    Ramadhan has been hijacked by pretenders!

  3. Mustafa

    i compltetly agree with you taimur rehman….we need to change this…i do not blame capitalism that much but it does have a role…the problem is finance capitalism…neoliberal policy and curroption…..remember there is not only one kind of capitalism or communism…there are different kinds..some are good oters are bad…but the good capitalism used to be there but it dusnt exist anymore in the world….and socialism is also good….and so is the khilafat system…uf you guyz want i will elaorate on what i mean by the different types of capitalism and how one is good and other is bad

  4. Mustafa

    btw..taimur where can i find books about your ideology…..what r ur basic views of economic system in pakistan..what are views of your party?? where can i get this info…i m curious.

  5. Dear Sir,
    Good colom.

    Best Regards,
    Javed Iqbal