Morality vs. Law

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When I was a school student, for years we studied a subject named Moral Science. The Moral Science books were full of stories and examples to illustrate what constitutes a good act and what makes an action a sin. They spoke at length about God and His expectations from us, His children. There were Points to Remember listed after every lesson and we were supposed to mug them up.

At that point in time, we had no realization of how important that subject was or how it was helping shape our morals. Mechanically, we would read the chapters and mug up what was to be mugged. It was one more subject for us.

Today, after decades, I realize that the subject was of utmost importance. Perhaps it was more important than any other subject. In a subtle way, it instilled in us a sense of right and wrong. It was perhaps educating our conscience.

Moral Science attempted to define sin. I remember an example cited in one of the books – Robbers have entered a house. In fear the whole family is hiding in a small room located at a remote corner of the house. The robbers locate the maid, who is hiding at a different place and they question her about the whereabouts of the family members. The maid tells them that the family members have gone out of town to attend a marriage and have taken all the cash and jewelry with them. As such, there is nothing of value in the house. The robbers believe her and leave. Since lying was a sin, has the maid committed a sin? We kids brainstormed and reached our separate conclusions. Subsequently, the teacher informed us that it was not a sin as the purpose was good.

Moral Science never spoke of the law or what was lawful or unlawful. It spoke of what was right and what was wrong.

Today most schools do not teach Moral Science. The subject does not find a place in the school syllabus. Schools prefer to teach subjects like Sanskrit and regional languages, which, at best, have only academic applications in most people’s lives. However, imparting morals to our kids is no longer the responsibility of our education system.

The result is that we Indians have become brazenly immoral and India has become the land of scams. Corruption is tolerated, if not accepted, by our society. We have corrupt people occupying the highest places in our society and in our administration. They taunt others by saying – “Go to court and prove me guilty, then I will consider relinquishing my position”. The bad state of our judiciary makes it virtually impossible to get justice. There have been hardly any convictions in corruption cases.

The worst part of all this is that such corrupt people become glorified examples for other potentially / temperamentally corrupt people of our society. Each unpunished scamster breeds thousands of corrupt people.

The voices of reason of our society have become quiet. They can no longer challenge the corrupt that cite examples of people in authority who stole millions and move around freely enjoying their ill-gotten wealth. The law of the land is not getting enforced. It is a desperate situation.

Now we are transforming into a society of immoral people who have not or can not be proved to be unlawful. Immorality is becoming fashionable. At this rate, the day is not far when people with morals will be declared an endangered species and found only in films / plays or in the cages of Zoos.

Let us ask ourselves – do we want our kids to be wealthy, immoral people who can hire unscrupulous lawyers to manipulate the law and play games with the law? If  the answer is no, we must ensure that in our kids morality is a dominant guiding force.


Rajesh Chaubey, Guest Contributor, PatnaDaily.Com

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