Saturday, July 13, 2002
M A I L  B O X

As you sow, so shall you reap

KHUSHWANT SINGH, in his write-up "You don’t always reap as you sow" (June 29) has asserted that for every instance of an evil person paying for his sins, he could adduce 20 where evil persons went unpunished. But even that single instance is enough to deter a person from going astray. The observations of the writer may be true in case of misdirected politicians of our country. For the general people, these are misleading, rather damaging. Does he, through his scholarly piece of writing, want to convey that the common man, who is fearful of God, should also choose the path of delinquency and say good-bye to moral virtues of honesty and good conduct?

New Delhi


As is his wont, the writer is quite vehement in ridiculing morality. His conclusions may sound plausible on the surface, but they can’t be considered the last word on the topic.

While testing the verity of the concept ‘you reap as you sow’, may need a full-length treatise, the concept should be evaluated and accepted for its sheer utility. The combined police force of the world will not succeed as well in checking the misdeeds of mankind as this concept. So what if it is false!




The writer has cited examples of evil-doers who flourish and those of good people who suffer. The children of evil-doers may not suffer. They have their own destinies. No one suffers for the sake of another. We are so full of hatred towards evil-doers that we want them to be punished immediately. God has infinite patience and gives them enough time to atone for their sins. The divine law does full justice which may not be visible to our limited vision.



I am afraid the writer is preaching the gospel of the devil. We are already infested with Sukh Rams, Ravi Sidhus, Harshad Mehtas, Laloos and hordes of others like them. At least Khushwant Singh should have mercy on this unfortunate nation and keep the figures of his census to himself.



The writer says, "There seems to be no justice in the world, as we observe that wicked man flourishes while a just and righteous man perishes", but, actually, this is half the truth. Outworldly, it seems to be so but, as Abrahm Maslow says, "If we do something we are ashamed of, it registers to our discredit. And if we do something good, it registers to our credit." The law of karma is not some philosophy, some abstraction. It is simply a theory which explains something that is true. Every moment we are creating ourselves, either a grace will arise in our being or a disgrace. This is the law of karma. Nobody can avoid it.

Further he says, "My friends! don’t be deluded that people suffer for their misdeeds". We are punished by our misdeeds and not for our misdeeds. As the saying goes, "Virtue has its own reward. So, a misdeed or a sin is its own punishment. That ‘for’ has created great misunderstanding for the mankind. Because, ‘for’ means in future. And if some ways and means can be found to avoid the results, we try to find out some strategy like going to the priest and confessing or taking a dip in the Ganga to get rid of our sins or misdeeds. But, there is no way to get rid of the consequences of karma. The results are instantaneous. It is not afterwards. It is then and there. It is immediate.



The writer — a journalist — must realise that he should provide healthy food to young minds. By writing such a thing he has tried to water the weeds in the young minds who are already losing faith in the long-cherished virtues.

Had these words ‘as you sow so shall you reap’ been a mere myth, virtues like sympathy, humbleness and compassion would have been long disappeared from the face of humanity. By calling it a myth, the writer has tried to challenge the laws of nature; it is like saying that one can get a rose plant by planting a cactus in the soil. Regarding men not being punished for their evil deeds, no action, good or bad, goes without a result. Here I would like to include a few lines from The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda. " The majority of us cannot see beyond a few years, just as some animals cannot see beyond a few steps. Just a narrow circle — that is our world. We have not the patience to look beyond, and thus become immoral and wicked. This is our weakness, our powerlessness".


A question of interpretation

I remember when Giani Kartar Singh was the Local Bodies minister in Punjab, a question arose whether an Administrator of a suspended municipal committee was an employee of the committee and whether he could be removed from service like any other employee.

The then secretary of the department gave the opinion that the administrator was not like any other employee but the municipal committee itself and, therefore, could not be removed or suspended. Some time after there was a reshuffle and Pandit Mohan Lal became the minister of the department. He took a different stand and felt that the administrator was like any other employee and could be suspended or removed. He accordingly sent the file to the legal remembrancer for advice. The latter agreed with the minister and the file was sent to the chief minister Sardar Pratap Singh Kairon.

Kairon was angry with the secretary earlier on certain issues and wanted to take serious action against him. He sent the file to the chief secretary Mangat Rai for making a reference to the Government of India for reverting the officer from the IAS to the provincial cadre.

Mangat Rai was a very thoughtful and considerate officer. He wanted the matter to be thoroughly examined before any drastic action was taken. He sent a note to me on a separate sheet of paper asking me to examine the case. I, after consulting various HC judgements, fortunately came across a SC ruling holding that an administrator was not an employee of a municipal committee.

Mangat Rai sent the file to the advocate general who advised that the SC judgement should be taken as final decision on the matter. Rai submitted the file to the chief minister noting that the LR’s advice was incorrect and action should be taken against him rather than the secretary of the department. When Kairon read the file, he closed the matter for good and the reversion of the secretary was averted.