The Light (Pakistan), 1st August 1925 Issue (Vol. 4, No. 15, p. 3)
History has recorded a number of ugly truths, but in our vanity we care to look at them through coloured glasses only. Acts and deeds in which we take the greatest pride are nothing except cruel carnage and relentless depredation [plundering]. He amongst us is of the bluest blood whose forefathers spilled the largest quantity of human blood and committed the most daring and horrible raids.
The scions [descendants] of Jangiz [Genghis] Khan are considered to be the noblest heritage of humanity while the descendants of a wheel-wright who made an honest livelihood are mere nobodies. The misdeeds of the progenitor [ancestor] have enabled the son in the one case, and the peaceful live-and-let-live policy of the father in the other has demeaned his offspring. The only credit the former can claim is for the heaviest bag of their fathers’ killed, and the greatest fault of the latter is that their male-parents did not make the life of their neighbours uncomfortable and full of misery. What preference has otherwise the nobleman’s son over that of the artisan who is not considered fit even to rub the former’s shoe, although he is more industrious, skilful and is mostly blessed with equal if not better brains?
The man who stays at home and supports a family by the sweat of his brow certainly serves humanity and society better than the one who kills and robs and makes people homeless and penniless, yet the king’s treasury and medal are reserved only for those who are enemies of peace and humanity. Nobody has ever seen a selfless labourer who feeds and clothes half a dozen children and a wife and perhaps an old mother, an incapacitated father and maybe more than one widowed sisters on twelve annas a day called from his roofless home and a semi-nude family and awarded a Victoria Cross.
If a man deserves decorations to his breast or a monument on his grave for staying out an hour in the trenches, the one who braves this greater amount of strain in his home continually till he descends into the grave deserves it still better. If the one strikes a blow for the sovereign lord, the other suffers ever so many of them all his life for a family of the sovereign people.
But Heaven help the poor labourer! He ought to have been the first care of the king for more reasons than one, but it is he who gets the least of his bounty. The loaves of the king are exhausted before they reach him. His widow does not receive even the soldier’s widow’s scanty sympathy of a black-edged letter [in Victorian times, a letter edged in black notified family or friends of the death of a loved one] and yet there is one cry which is renting the high heaven: Bolshevism [Communism]!
Russia throws off the yoke of tyrant Tzars [Czars] — she is Bolshevik. Turkey would not be dictated to — she must be Bolshevik. Afghanistan would prefer to control her own foreign affairs — Bolshevik influence. Persia does not want an unpopular Shah [Reza Shah] inflicted upon her — Bolshevik, of course. Abdul Karim does not respect the self-assumed headmanship of the Spaniard and the Frenchman — Bolshevik indeed. The little Chinaman would not suffer the foreigner Jap kill his brethren with impunity — Bolshevik propaganda, without doubt.
In short, any situation which the capitalist does not want to meet honestly is called Bolshevik, and anyone who would not take off his hat to him is branded a Bolshevik. The word has acquired a sinister and wonderfully elastic significance and is adaptable to any set of events which the capitalist thinks fit to treat by his give a-dog-bad-name-and-hang-him policy.
But this impossible state of affairs cannot continue. The labourer is bound to win, and what the capitalist is unwilling to part with today will be wrenched from him tomorrow. He should not, therefore, lose the grace of “giving away.” He should not act like the Christian churchman who would not recognise the principle of divorce simply because it is Islamic, but would look on with equanimity [calmness] at the decrees of the Divorce Courts in hundreds of thousands and the ignoble [dishonourable] practices by which they are obtained; who would denounce Islam as polygamous but would suggest no solution for the overwhelming excess of women who perish husbandless and homeless.
He should meet the labourer halfway and pass to him 2½ [two and a half] percent of his annual savings with brotherly affection and humanely feelings. This is what Islam has ordained [i.e., Zakat or Obligatory Charity]. This will improve the condition of the labourer and desist him from outright destroying. Victory of Islam is assured either way. Give away and raise the labourer to your level. Islam wins. Don’t give — be destroyed (which is inevitable the way you go), and come to the labourer’s level. Islam wins. Let it. That is the only way out. What cannot be cared must be taken cheerfully. There is a grace in that.