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ইংৰাজী প্ৰবন্ধ, Mindfully Maximising Minimalism, Sukanya Bharadwaj, ৪ৰ্থ বছৰ ৩য় সংখ্যা

 Mindfully Maximising Minimalism




 How much is enough? In our quest to make our presence felt in this one big world, have we ever stopped and asked ourselves this one question? Perhaps for most of us the answer is ‘NO’. We're always chasing more, aiming for a better life, and wanting endless comforts. Terms like progress, prosperity, development etc. have become cliché over the years, yet we cannot ignore their deep impact on our lives. We are influenced to the extent that to stay away from the impact of modernity, sounds next to impossible specially to the urban population. 
Almost 80 years ago, renowned economist Lionel Robbins proposed a highly influential definition of economics which attributed to the adjustment of our unlimited wants to limited means. Decades hence, is his theory relevant, especially with consumerism dominating almost every sphere of our lives? The whole idea of wants is now maneuvered by some unseen force that works like an undercurrent influencing our consumption patterns. We are as if in a race to acquire more. In essence, while Robbins' theory still holds true, the dynamics have shifted. The challenge now lies not only in managing limited resources but also in navigating the relentless pursuit of material possessions in a world where consumption is constantly encouraged and amplified. In such  circumstances, ‘minimalism’ has become the need of the hour.
 Nobody recollects the pandemic with fondness. However, it forced humanity to confront a new reality, prompting reflection on our needs versus wants. With routines disrupted and priorities shifted, people had a chance to re-evaluate what truly matters in their lives. This period highlighted the importance of essentials like health, family, and community, while shedding light on the excesses of consumerism. It encouraged a deeper understanding of personal values and a reassessment of what brings genuine fulfillment and happiness. In essence, amidst the challenges, the pandemic offered an opportunity for introspection and a reconnection with what truly matters. Prof. Stuart Edmonds of a University in California, recollects, “With a few hours to go before the total lockdown, like everyone else crowded in the department store I too tried to grab groceries to last us through the crisis time.” He added, “As I stuffed into my car everything that my money could buy, leaving only the space for the driver’s seat , a strange question hit me. Will this be enough?” Then the thought of people who went hungry for days together came to me . The next few hours I was haunted with the reflection on this one vital question. For mankind in general it was indeed a reality check on their consumption patterns. As Michelle Obama stated about the quarantine “It’s a good exercise in reminding us that we just don’t need a lot of the stuff that we have.” With millions of people losing out their source of livelihood, minimalism became an inevitable choice. Minimalism is about living with the bare minimum that is needed to carry on life. Minimalism is indeed about living intentionally, focusing on what truly matters, and decluttering both physically and mentally. By eliminating distractions and unnecessary possessions, we create space for what brings us genuine joy and fulfillment. The happiness quotient varies as every individual lives and grows with his set of interests. It's a lifestyle that encourages mindfulness and deliberate decision-making, valuing experiences, relationships, and personal growth over the accumulation of material things. When it comes to material possessions clothes accessories etc. it certainly deserves rethinking. What we hoard, may be someone’s need. Moreover, who would like to be valued just by his appearance. The essence of being human lies much above all. Being simple, we may touch lives, show our compassion and give hope to others to live.  

‘Sustainability’ has become a crucial focus worldwide, especially as we recognize the impacts of human activity on the environment and the finite nature of our resources. Over exploitation of natural resources, pollution, climate change, and other environmental issues pose significant threats to not only the planet but also to human civilization. The United Nations, along with many governments, organizations, and individuals, has emphasized the urgent need for sustainable practices to mitigate these challenges. This involves promoting responsible consumption and production, conserving biodiversity, reducing carbon emissions, and transitioning towards renewable energy sources. Therefore, much importance is given to incorporating the SDGs (sustainable development goals) in our daily lives. Being a little watchful of what we want for ourselves, recognizing and avoiding the excess can be a starting point. By prioritizing sustainability, we can work towards preserving the health of the planet for future generations and safeguarding the well-being of all living beings. It requires collective effort and conscious decision-making at all levels of society to address these pressing issues and ensure a more sustainable and resilient future.
 Minimalism encourages a deliberate approach to all aspects of life, from the items we own to how we spend our time and energy, as well as the quality of our relationships. By embracing simplicity and rejecting the pressures of consumerism, minimalists prioritize authenticity and meaningful experiences. They seek to uncover the beauty and purpose in everything they choose to keep in their lives, fostering a deeper appreciation for what truly matters. So, next time we buy just because its time for a shopping spree, PAUSE and THINK AGAIN



Sukanya Bharadwaj
Assistant Teacher
Upperdani High School
Rani Block,
Kamrup (Assam)

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