Saturday, June 29, 2002

Now is the time to choose the right path
Ginjinder K. Bindra

THE present times are seeing a downfall in the moral values of society leading to frustration, gloom, corruption and poverty. No aspect of society—social, economic, political or religious— has escaped the all-round degradation.

Value means to prize, esteem, apprise, or estimate. It means the act of cherishing something, holding it dear and also the act of passing judgement upon the nature of something. Anything that leads to perfection is valuable. Our society is today, faced with a crisis of values. People are losing faith in the values this nation stood for in the past. There is a complete erosion of social, moral, cultural, economic and political values at all levels. And this has led to callousness, selfishness, greed, violence, destruction and injustice. One shudders to think the kind of world the future generations will inherit from us.


Today we are living in a state of political tension, economic stress and fear. There is chaos, turmoil and disharmony. There is lack of true leadership. Politicians, motivated by party politics, exploit the masses to achieve their selfish ends. National interests are sacrificed for petty personal interests. Politicians consider themselves above the laws of the land and constitutional directives. The police, too, at times abuses human rights and commits atrocities on people. Human rights organisations cannot guard our interests if we do not pledge to not let ourselves be exploited at the hands of politicians. We have to see to it that we safeguard our political values.

Social values are evolved by the society to make life more safe and comfortable. Although man has made tremendous progress in technology, he is not at peace with himself or his environment. He has become so materialistic that he has forgotten the art of living with others in love, peace and harmony.

The caste system has been a serious obstacle to social progress and the establishment of a democratic society. The society is fragmented because of provincialism and communalism. It is such thinking that leads to communal riots, like the recent ones in Gujarat. A resurgence of fundamentalist organisations proves that communalism has taken root in the society today. Fundamentalist values imparted to children sow the seeds of bigoted adults.

An increase in the incidence of dowry deaths, divorce rates and suicide cases has been noticed. A daughter-in-law is rarely given the respect she deserves. There is lack of social courtesy, discipline, sensitivity and respect for elders. Love, industriousness, equality and fraternity are disappearing from the society.

Man is so busy in amassing wealth that he has discarded honesty, social service, perseverance and patience.

The growth of industrialisation and urbanisation has been instrumental in man acquiring a materialistic outlook. The traditional joint family system is disappearing and nuclear families are more the norm. Man has become a slave to his desires and is losing touch with values. Cut-throat competition can create discord even among siblings.

Culture refers to the refinement of intellectual, aesthetic and moral aspects of one’s personality.

India has been known from time immemorial for its cultural values. Loss of faith in God has led to selfishness, hatred and aggression. The ideal of non-violence given by Mahatma Gandhi has been disregarded.

Our implicit faith in tolerance, too, is dead. People do not think twice before harming others by word or deed or thought.

Simple living and high thinking is no longer what people aspire for. Social service has lost its meaning and become a mere status symbol. Nishkama Karma which the Bhagavadgita preached is no longer adhered to.

Moral values are the bases of one’s character and human interactions. Morality is the only balm which can heal the wounds of humanity. Compassion, good manners, sympathy, humility and self-discipline are the values which our society ignores.

We owe it to our future generation to stem this rot right now. So you have to decide whether you want to take an initiative to change the present system or be a part of this system which is ruining your life.