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'Excessive materialism leads to crass value system insensitive to plights of others'
Monday March 3, 2014 2:31 PM, Staff Reporter

Union Minister Kapil Sibal on Sunday while addressing a seminar organised by New Delhi based Alhikmah Foundation termed Materialism as the most glaring detriment in the welfare of the humans and warned that excessive materialism is leading to a crass value system insensitive to plights of others.

Al Hikmah Seminar

"The greed and instinct to amass treasures for one's own sake have gripped the Man ever-since he made attempts for the survival on the earth. Materialism is the most glaring detriment in the welfare of the humans", Union Munister Kapil Sibal said.

"Excessive materialism ultimately leads to crass value system that is insensitive to the plights and sufferings of the other fellow human beings", he said.

The national seminar on 'Materialism: Boon or Bane' was organised by Alhikmah Foundation on the occasion of its 23rd Annual Function.

"I believe materialism and ethical standards are necessary in today's world. We never spare thought that its not we who are not only beneficiaries rather the coming generation do also need these resources. Alhikmah Foundation is the harbinger of peace and development. There can be no spiritual life without materialistic life. That is to say materialism is superstructure and spiritualism is infrastructure", he said.

"Enhancing assets is not denounced rather at the expense of others is definitely a sin in my belief and judgement", Sibal said.

"The pressing need of our times is peace. I am glad that Alhikmah Foundation continues to keep Peace close to its heart and as the central theme of its intellectual debates and discussions", he said.

"A series of seminars on Peace – spread over six year's period stretching from 2005 to 2012 organised by brought out the importance of peace. The deliberations, over the years – by leading intellectuals, public figures, religious leaders, civil servants, bureaucrats, diplomats, academicians and social activists – have focused on peace, national development, healthy values and inter-faith partnership", he said.

He also released books on Peace and Development, book on Hakim Mohammad Tayyib of AMU, compiled by Hakim Fakhre Alam.

Guest of Honour Ashok Sajjanhar (IFS) and Secretary, National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH), Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India while stating that Materialism is a philosophical concept that lays stress, said, "The real clash of civilisation is not between Islam and Christianity as popularised by Samuel Huntington. In philosophy, the theory of materialism holds that all things are composed of material, and all phenomena (including consciousness) are the result of material interactions, that things are built not found as in the historically important but scientifically unimportant physicalism".

"Materialism is not to be confused with the idea that there is such a thing as reality which has defined states of energy and matter which the intellectually simple idea of physicalism falls into. Materialism belongs to the class of monist ontology", he added.

"As such, it is different from ontological theories based on dualism or pluralism. For singular explanations of the phenomenal reality, materialism would be in contrast to idealism, neutral monism, and spiritualism", he said.

Swami Nikhilanada Saraswati, Regional Head, Chinmay Mission, Delhi and an internationally famed person in the field of interfaith partnership and dialogue speaking on the occasion said, "In our Shastrai it is written that every visible object in this world is matter. The invisible element in our body is soul. Our body is like a kite, our breaths are like string of kite, however, the one controlling the non-living string is invisible."

"When we die, we leave everything here in this world. Judging humans from the outer paraphernalia is what I call materialism. Hence, it is vice. But from the other angle it is appears not so bad. Our Shastra emphasises that matter should be used for spiritual purposes. This will change the world and for the benefit of the mankind", he said.

"The boon or bane aspect of Materialism relates to utilisation of resources. Materialism is a source for outer comforts whereas spirituality gives us inner satisfaction. He released a book Quran Ka Shanti Sandesh (Hindi) prepared by Alhikmah Foundation", he said.

Stating that everything has both – positive and negative – aspects, Prof. Shakeel Samadani of Aligarh Muslim University and President of Sir Syed Awareness Forum stressed for striking a balance between earning wealth and our desires and wishes.

"Wars are imposed to manufacture crises. Earning money is denounces per se but we must take care to share with the less fortunate beings", he said.

Quoting from the Islamic history to drive home his point, he appealed the forum to start campaign against the food adulteration. It is root-cause of our unhealthy society and underdevelopment.

"We should not be too materialistic to abandon our parents", he said and made a case to preserve the Urdu language.

Maulana Asghar Ejaz of Aligarh Muslim University quoting a Quranic verse stressed that Quran declared Human as the supreme creature.

"The elements of materialism include philosophical underpinnings that emphasised that the universe is composed only of matter. This concept is totally devoid Allah and the Hereafter. It was propounded by the Greek philosophers led by Desecrates. A look around reveals both materialistic as well spiritual tendencies", he said.

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