A Millionaire! And then even a multi-millionaire! These words, though frequently heard, always seem to be very unfamiliar and fresh to me. Especially when I want to use these words to identify myself, the unvoiced utterances tickle me in the ears and electrify my brain as though they were lulling me to a sleepless dream. To be frank, that is dramatically true. After all, who does not want to be a millionaire? Though some people do not want to be so at the cost of their humanity, principles, and values, they too do want to be wealthy. But alas, I am not a millionaire, nor do I know how to become one. Anyway, for the time being, I can forget about the regrets or how-tos, and, as far as a reliable “If’ supports my imagination and gives me franchise, I can boldly consider myself as a millionaire and make a clean breast of my intentions and dreams.
In this phase, however, it should be told out that when I really become a millionaire, I may not nourish the same intentions and dreams that I do now. Because money or wealth may change a man completely. Therefore, I would humbly request my reader not to conduct imaginary experimentation with the “If I am allowed to cover myself with. When asked the question “what would you do if you were a millionaire?” an idealist, who is not at present a millionaire, would perhaps begin his answer with strong and flamboyant commitments to give away money lavishly with both hands standing in the public square. Maybe that is a good idea, but, I think, not perfect. As far as I am concerned, the thing that I will consider first is how I (can satisfy and build up my own family with a portion of the money I have. I will utilize the necessary amount of wealth for the survival of life and the improvement of the mind. And this will perhaps necessitate me to shift on to a new capacious house in a good residential area from the narrow squalid locality I live in now. That will elevate the minds of my family members to a great extent. They will be more energized mentally and will develop better personalities in themselves. There will be essential arrangements for a balanced diet in every meal. There will be good dresses to look good, good furniture to feel good. But it must be mentioned that I do not really want to eat voraciously like the gourmand, dress flamboyantly like a meretricious coquette, and be busy with myself and my family like a narrow-minded miser. Yet I must have to prioritize my personal and family needs. But at the same time, since I am a millionaire, I will also bear in mind some other duties of mine—both as a citizen of an independent country and on humanitarian grounds. For example, I will start a reliable business that will not only bring me profits and strengthen my financial position more, but also provide employment opportunities for some unemployed people. Moreover, when any amount of money remains idle, I will not pad-lock it in the hermetically closed safe in my closet; on the contrary, I will keep it in a bank to facilitate its investment elsewhere. This may sound ordinary and normal. But I think that doing such simple things consciously can help society a lot. As a matter of fact, if my money is always active, it will undoubtedly do some good to the economy, not only to me. However, I have other specific intentions too. I will spend some money from my savings in activities that will accelerate the spreading of education in our country. To be more specific, I will provide financial aid for some of those brilliant and promising poor students who for want of money can not continue their studies well enough •to utilize the full potential hidden in them. If there is more money in savings, and if my business pays me well, I will offer financial assistance to those who are conducting research on Bengali literature and economics, the two disciplines of knowledge that interest me the most. I believe that our literature can keep our identity and traditions intact and a better economy can build a successful nation for us. There is one more thing that I will do if I have money enough left. That is the establishment of a number of libraries in my own village and around. I am, I confess, not a philanthropist or altruist. I can not at all disregard my own happiness and well-being. But I have some dreams which are a part of the stuff I am made of, and perfect happiness can not occur of me with these dreams unfulfilled. Thought from this angle of view, it can be said that, though not instigated by a benevolent patriotic feeling, I will do these things for my own happiness and satisfaction. These have become my obsessions.
Even if I ever become a millionaire, I do not know actually how much that million will amount to. If the amount happens to break the average record, then I will perhaps devote myself to such humanitarian activities to a great extent. If, on the other hand, I happen to be mediocre among the “high”, I will have to be too much selective in undertaking such humanitarian activities. In fine, I must say that even if I become a millionaire or multi-millionaire someday, I will never consider money worth all in life; I will not try to equate money with happiness and pleasure in the strictest and rudest sense. Rather, I will take it as a means of fulfilling my goals, and that is all. Actually, a man is not equal to what he has, but to what he is. I want to BE something, not just HAVE something in my hands.
MEANS ARE AS IMPORTANT AS ENDS
If a wayfarer who wants to go a long distance thinks only about his destination and does not enjoy the traveling or the way, he will ail himself too much by being too busy during his indifferent journey in an ascetic mood. No doubt the destination is desirable, but it does not mean that the way should not be enjoyed. In fact, means are no less important than ends. Everyone has long-term goals of life, which we may call life-plans. To make this life-plan successful, one has to work hard in the right way. This work is a means to achieve the goals or ends. Many people. while working towards the achievement of those ends, eagerly keep an eye only on the ends, with the result that their interest and pleasure are rooted in those remote ends. As a result, they are always in tension longing for what they want to get; and as long as they are not able to have their desire fulfilled, they cannot be happy. Happiness for them is always in the future, unattainable. Pleasure for them is always in the days to come, untouchable. But the pleasure of achievement is momentary: it is felt only when the desire is fulfilled, not before or after. Consequently, even if such people do get what they want, they are not much happy after they have got it. Now, the wretched people are happy neither when they work towards an end nor when they have already finished achieving that end. Unhappiness awaits them always. But they would not be unhappy if they learned to love the means—that is, the work—rather than the end. Work is worship. It puts man in the mainstream of continuous pleasure, regardless of the fruit that the work brings about. We should be happy that we work, that we can work, that we are provided with ample work. Desire leads one to the end, and not through the void, but through work. In other words, the desire for achievement must lead to the desire for work; otherwise, such desire is bound to make one lazy; capable only of building castles in the air. “We know what we are, but we do not know what we may be.” That is why, over and above keeping an eye on the future, we should have the sincerest eagerness to enjoy the present. And enjoying the present means enjoying the work. Being able to do something the right way is itself a pleasure. Rather than being mad about living in the future by thinking always of probable achievements of what we do now, we should, like all successful people of history, learn to live continuously—both at the present and in the future. And the art of living and remaining always alive lies in the ability to love what one does. So far we have argued in favor of the psychological value of work. We have maintained that work itself should motivate us, not just the achievement. But considered in light of the importance of the end, too, it is again the work or means that should be given more importance. For it is only when we work well that we achieve good ends. And it is not unknown to anybody that it is not possible to work well without loving the work itself. So, means are no less important than the end.