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ETHICS IN PUBLIC LIFE OF INDIVIDUALS

ETHICS IN PUBLIC LIFE OF INDIVIDUALS

  • So far as his private life is concerned, almost everyone is agreed that ethical norms and moral values must govern it. Even in respect of public life, the view is not dissimilar, though in actual practice different yardsticks are applied.
  • We, in India were fortunate to have been led during the struggle for Independence by one who apart from being an astute leader, was also a great moral crusader who has his place in history along with the Buddha and Christ.
  • For him, means were no less important than the ends. There was in the personality of the Mahatma a subtle, indescribable, magic touch, for all the different persons who come in close contact with him turned into men of gold, be it J.L. Nehru or Patel, Azad or Rajendra Prasad.
  • Since the death of the Mahatma, except for observing his birthday as national holiday, we have remembered him in no better way than by riding rough shod over the principles of truth and moral values that he propagated all his life.                  ETHICS IN PUBLIC LIFE OF INDIVIDUALS
  • No one can deny that in the rough and tumble of politics, there are bound to be heated discussions and public controversies. These by their nature are an integral part of a democratic set- up.
  • Despite all the heat and controversies, despite all the frayed tempers and strong adjectives which are bandied about and occasionally add Colour to the fierce debates, we have to think seriously whether it is not possible to evolve a principle that whatever shape we give to the policies of the parties and the programmes of the group, it should always be ensured that no act of ours harms the national interests.

What else can one make of some of the happenings on the national scene? Parochial interests, party interest, group interests, regional interests, individual interest are on occasions pressed and advocated with vehemence and fury in utter disregard of other considerations.            ETHICS IN PUBLIC LIFE OF INDIVIDUALS

Only a few think of national interests and in this grim and sordid interplay of conflicting interests and clash of personalities, no holds are barred and no scruples held sacrosanct.

  • There is quite often an element of inconsistency between the ideals to which we profess allegiance and the impact of our act and policies.
  • Man, it has been said, is the kind of lion who both kills the lamb and also dreams of the day when the lion and the lamb shall lie together. We cover up this trait, which smacks of hypocrisy, by a smoke-screen of catch words and by playing upon emotions with regard to some momentary issues.
  • Those momentary issues are used to whip up our passions and cloud our thinking. There is a great need for wise and courageous men to warn us of the danger which underlines the disposition to take the transitory for the eternal.                    ETHICS IN PUBLIC LIFE OF INDIVIDUALS
  • Ethics and moral sentiments are as much relevant and significant in public life as they are necessary in the private life of individuals: It is a mistake to suppose that the banishment of ethical norms and moral values from public life would stop merely at that; soon such banishment is bound to afflict the individual and private life of the citizens.
  • Corning to the question of how far ethical norms should actuate the policies and programmes of different national groups, one cardinal principle, which must be kept in view, is that a party or group is greater than the individual and the country is greater than the party or group.
  • If in no circumstances should we sacrifice the interest of the party or group for the sake of the individual, there is all the more reason why we should not sacrifice the interest of the country for the sake of the party or individual.                            ETHICS IN PUBLIC LIFE OF INDIVIDUALS
  • When England was passing through critical times during World War I, Kipling came out with the words which electrified the whole nation: “Who lives if England dies?” The same thing was stressed by Pandit Nehru at the Lahore Session of the Indian National Congress when he concluded his presidential address with the words: “Who lives if India dies and who dies if India lives?”

ETHICS LECTURES

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