Rule of Mammon in the USA

A letter to Dr. Mirza Yaqub Beg from his son, Mirza Daud Beg

The Light (Pakistan), 1st August 1925 Issue (Vol. 4, No. 15, p. 1)

Here is an extract from a letter headed, New York City, 19th June, 1925, which our brother, Dr Mirza Yaqub Beg, L.M.S. [Licentiate in Medicine and Surgery], has received from his son, Mirza Daud Beg, who recently crossed from England to the new world on a holiday trip. The letter pithily depicts the money craze, deplorable absence of home life and complete spiritual bankruptcy which is prevailing in America. One may pertinently ask the American Missions in India what they are doing here when their own home is going from bad to worse.

“You doubtless know the geographical position of this city so I need say nothing about that.

This is probably the best planned large city on the globe. In popula­tion it is the second largest, and in extent the largest city in the world.

Here the streets and lanes have no names but they are numbered. I am told that this is true of almost all the cities of the United States. New York has about a dozen or more large streets called Avenues (11th Ave., 12th Ave., etc.), which run parallel north and south through the entire length of the city. They are separated from each other by a single block of buildings and connected with each other by Streets which have these blocks on either sides of them. These Streets also run parallel to each other and are at right angles to the Avenues. There are about 150 (1–150th Street) or more of these Streets.

The mode of locomotion is trains, overhead or elevated railway, sub­way trams, buses, taxies, and other convey­ances.

The people are to be seen in a mad rush all the time. They are too busy mak­ing money. Their only concern and ambition seems to be that of making money — by means fair or foul does not concern them.

There are to be seen men of all nationalities and all colours.

The life is too artificial; nothing seems to be natural; in fact, they live too artificially to be really happy.

Our civilisation may not have so much of the outward show, but it has, I am convinced, a sound basis, and there I think it is more stable. There seems to be hardly any family life here. Why, there is hardly any­body who eats at home; nobody cooks. The restaurants are packed and they are to be seen at every step, every nook and corner. They are too busy — both the men and women work.

Work is a good thing, but this kind ruins the home life, and a proof of that can be seen in daily divorces. Both the parties are too independent to pull on properly. There is nothing that can beat our family life at its best. I am convinced it is not showy but it certainly is stable.”