A wish-list for the super-rich
A young woman passed away alone in a flat in Dhaka’s Gulshan district last week. Media reports said she had killed herself. A son of a super-rich person of Bangladesh has been named, who might have a role in the alleged suicide. A court case has also been filed against him for vitiating the woman for committing suicide.
However, the objective of this piece isn’t discussing the death of this unfortunate woman. I would like to imagine myself in the shoes of those people who bask in the glory and comfort of their parents’ wealth with the least contribution to our societal progress.
My question to myself: How would I have led my life if I were the son of one of the wealthiest people in Bangladesh? Belonging to the super-elite segment of the society, what would be my responsibilities as a citizen?
I’m not quite certain that my current consciousness would match the one of a “super-rich.” But, I’ll take my chances and would like to express a small intellectual wish-list on how I expect the super-rich to behave.
Looking at the photograph of a super-rich son, I could gather that he kept himself very well. He looks quite aristocratically handsome. Laudably presentable. Unlike most Bengalis, he looked like a regular gym-goer. He wears the costliest brands. He has a gratified smile on his face. He looks happy with his life. He has everything that a human may seek from life.
However, getting involved with a young woman, promising to marry her and renting a flat for her seemed overwhelmingly shallow to me. It showed that the man doesn’t have a real purpose in life. He just wanted to enjoy his life by spending his wealth on carnal greed. Pity!
Most of the children of the super-rich in our society are like this. They only earn money, employ some people, take credit in saying that they have been helping many families by providing them work.
If I were him, I would educate myself to become a leader for advancement. Real advancement. The first thing that I would do, apart from enjoying my life, is that I would get in touch with the children (of my age) of the super-rich in Asia and organize a workshop in Dhaka which could be titled, say, “The future of Asia.”
That would serve two purposes. Bangladesh would be in the limelight for creating a new bond of cooperation among the Asian states, and two, I would bask in further glory of newer heights of wealth. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
If I had that much wealth, I would spend some on the internationally reputed publishers. I would invite them to Bangladesh and pay them for translating about 50 selected works of literature written by our authors in different languages and disseminate those works across the globe.
Well, I’m not really sure if I would think of literature if I were super-rich. But I would certainly want my name to be written in the history of literature to have achieved such a feat. I would do that because I know that 100 years from now, I won’t be remembered as super-rich, but if I work for a cause that involves the country’s history, culture, and literature, the future researchers and authors would certainly give me the credit to have contributed to literature.
Hope I’m not expecting too much from the super-rich. Many across the world have accomplished this. There are many instances. And those patrons of literature are still fondly remembered. Only enjoying my wealth wouldn’t be enough to achieve a shrine in people’s minds.
If I had such an enormous conglomerate, I would create a foundation through which I would contribute to the society. It’s quite simple and not at all a Herculean task. Many business entities have done that and they are nicely contributing to various sectors. Well, many super-rich may already have such organizations, but we don’t know about them.
Social contribution is a vast arena -- I would have chosen health care. I would use my foundation in health care research, developing skills for our health care-providing professionals. Or at least, I would build two or three hospitals for the marginalized people. After all, I made my wealth by selling my goods to the people, didn’t I?
If I were an MD of one of the biggest business groups, I would be very sensitive to my own image in society. All humans have vices. However, I would stay away from the vices that may destroy my lifelong work in a second. I would have always kept the fact in mind that wealth always accompanies vices, and my true achievement would be to manage my vices in order to keep me going and be respected in the society.
Respect. Yes. As a human, I would always be serious about earning the respect of the people in general. And a shallow mind is not capable of earning respect. A thinking mind is.
Now, you must forgive me for my wish-list. The children of our super-rich may be already doing all this. If they are, I thank them; if they aren’t, it’s time to make your wealth meaningful.
Ekram Kabir is a yogi, a story-teller, and a communications professional. His other works are available on ekramkabir.com.