By Sikandar Azam
India’s former Chief Statistician Pronab Sen, in his interview to Karan Thapar for The Wire (December 2), focussed on aspects of the recently released Q2 GDP results. The eminent economist, who is presently the country director of the International Growth Centre, said, “We have serious problems with private consumption, MSMEs and employment, because we do not have easy or effective ways of tackling these problems,” and added: “The economy needs God’s help.”
Notwithstanding Sen’s deep insight into economic affairs, one wonders why he used the name of God. The question arises: Is it only economy that needs God’s help? The fact remains that each and every person needs God’s help at every step. Can we take a single breath without the help of God? We can make questions like this about every human action and see if we can do it without God’s help. It appears we do our work on our own, all the time. But when we reflect thereon, we can realise that we work with the intellect and wisdom, with the mind and eyes, with the hands and strength, with the infrastructure and opportunity that God has blessed us with. Also, there was a time when we were nothing; it is God Who gave us life and we are now walking on earth with all His favours and all the strengths He has bestowed upon us. The Qur’ān (67:23) says: “Say: It is He who has brought you into being, and given you hearing, sight and hearts.” The power of hearing and seeing are in fact two great miracles we are enjoying without paying attention to them.
This is true not only with human beings; other living beings and even particles of Nature also obey God. God asks: Who has equipped birds with wings to fly? We can think likewise about other beings.
The Qur’ān (67:30) says: “Say: Just think: if all your water were to sink underground, who would give you clear flowing water?” Such verses only knock at our conscience and invite us to reflect on our own physique and the vast universe.
Coming back to the question why the learned economist has used the name of God, we can say that God is the ultimate reality, and this truth is innate in human nature. At difficult times like when the ship or boat is sinking, the name of God comes to the tongue of even those who do not believe in Him. The Qur’ān (17:52) says that in the Day of Judgement everyone will rise praising God in response to His Call. The believers will be pleased to hear the call of God and they will come with the praise of God on their lips; this praise of God will be emanating from their conviction while unbelievers will praise God since it is innate in their nature.