These the multiplication of wants but in their

These things were luxuries once, and their use was confined to the economically upper crust of society. Today, they have become absolute necessities. If, by chance, people were to run out of deodorants or scents they would see it as a calamity. They would either take leave from their work or go to their work-places feeling terribly self-conscious.

Maybe they would keep an uncustomary distance from their colleagues for fear that they might be caught smelling unpleasant! And without their hair-dye, they would either be mistaken for their actual age, or consigned to the garbage heap of people who were out of tune with the times!

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That is one aspect of the matter. Business houses today promote their products so aggressively that relatively trivial objects begin to seem indispensable. People with a so-called capitalistic frame of mind welcome this development, insisting that increased market demands lead to greater production, which in turn generates jobs and boosts economic growth. However, there are those who disagree. Gandhian thinkers, for instance, maintain that the essence of civilisation consists not in the multiplication of wants but in their voluntary renunciation. The more one gets, the more one craves and desires.

Of course, there is another facet to the issue. With the passage of time, the mode of life changes. Things that were done in a certain way are no longer done in that way. At a certain point of time, people spent three hours walking from Point A to Point B. They did not have a choice. Today, using a vehicle, they can cover the same distance in, say, twenty-five minutes. It would be stupid of them not to do it.

Technology has revolutionised the world. The world would cease to be what it is but for inventions like the television, the computer, the mobile, and what have you! They may have their share of disadvantages, but all said and done, there are more reasons to celebrate their arrival than mourn their shortcomings. After all, they are integrally tied up with man’s quest for knowledge and a better life.

However, whatever way we look at it, it remains an undeniable fact that the luxuries of today, some of which we may accept and some decline, if not resist, are indeed the necessities of tomorrow.