Not lazy, they aren’t materialistic - GulfToday

Not lazy, they aren’t materialistic

Shaadaab S. Bakht


Shaadaab S. Bakht, who worked for famous Indian dailies The Telegraph, The Pioneer, The Sentinel and wrote political commentaries for, is Gulf Today’s Executive Editor.


Photo used for illustrative purpose.

A good number of people, including a large number from the province of Bengal, strongly feel that the people of the state are very warm, very hospitable and compellingly intelligent (they have had Nobel Laureates and an Oscar awardee), but slothful in nature.

North Indians often attribute the sloth to the state’s food habit. “In Bengal, they have rice for breakfast and go off to sleep,” a friend says half in jest. He goes on, “Hold on, not at home. They do it in suburban trains, crowded buses, minibuses and tramcars. They find it impossible to overcome the soporific effect of rice,” which sometimes they have twice a day.

Everybody in Bengal tells us that a Bengali believes that there are only two reasons to be alive

My friend is not entirely off the mark because years ago our professor was lecturing on John Donne’s poems. Our classmate, a self-styled romantic revolutionary, and now a professor, began to snore. No, it wasn’t a comment on the teacher’s skill. It’s another issue that the professor did make things difficult for us with his peculiar accent.

Our classmate told us later that he had ignored the lecture because he had decided not to answer the questions on Donne for the examination.

But he did subsequently disclose the real reason behind his snoring. It was the huge plate of rice and fish curry he had had for breakfast. The combination is perhaps the most effective form of cure for insomnia in the world of alternative treatment.

“That, however, doesn’t mean a Bengali is lazy,” a Bengali friend hit back. And I agree with him. In my humble opinion, he is easy-paced because by nature he is opposed to what he feels is self-destructive materialism. He ignores or does not fancy middle-class credos like work is worship and there is no substitute for hard work.

He argues that something that involves manipulation, something that involves politicking and something that involves a high dose or often an overdose of sycophancy, should never be equated with worship or hard labour.

Even though most in Bengal, unlike other places, do not really have the luxuries of life, they have the emotional courage to live without them. They argue that there are families in a good number of “spurious” cities, where 60 per cent of the family-income goes towards the payment of instalments for “keep up with the Joneses” items.

Everybody in Bengal tells us that a Bengali believes that there are only two reasons to be alive. The first is reason and the second is freedom. And a Bengali has both. He has the reason to appreciate the futility of joining the rat race and he has freed himself from the pressure of materialistic wants.

Well, slothful or laborious, one has to treat them with respect because the strongest of the species comes from the state — the Royal Bengal tiger. A roar is enough when thousands act funny.

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