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Morality and society

 

 

There is difference between morality and moral policing by social/ political/religious institutions. Morality is concerned about self -discipline, and leads to self-restrictions on one’s behavior, while moral policing forces others to remain in discipline. Morality leads to peaceful co-existence, while moral policing generates agitation in people’s minds. Morality preaches individuals to exercise self restraint and self discipline in all respect, be it in the matter of daily routine, occupation or social relationship. It sets code of conduct through customs,traditions and rituals.

Morality believes in decentralized self-regulated system – be it in social, political religious or economic life of an individual and sets code of conduct for individuals living in a society. It guides him/her to improve ones own behaviour by making conscious efforts for self-control, self-direction and self-discipline rather than forcing others to behave. 

Modern generation has lost faith in moral values and traditional culture. Its aversion to traditional systems and values has created confusion evrywhere. A human being has lost faith not only in one’s fellow-beings, but also in himself/herself. Erosion of traditional values and decay of ‘community life’ has been a matter of concern Western countries. Now people and leaders in western world preach to restore traditional values. No doubt, children brought up and educated there learn to stand on their feet more firmly and become politically and economically independent better than their counterparts living in eastern world, but quite often they end up “Bowling Alone”( in socialogist Robert Putnam’s memorable phrase) and unhappy.

In ancient India, social status of different sections of society known as ‘caste’ was dependent on their relative purity, morality, knowledge and spiritual standards. Considerations of self-discipline, hygiene and cleanliness on the basis of climatic conditions of the region were given importance, while ranking their social status. Higher a caste ranked, purer its code of conduct was and greater self-restrictions on its behavior were imposed through rituals. Brahmins, the most respected people, occupied the highest place in the society. They were put under maximum restrictions and were denied accumulation of wealth. They were directed to lead a simple life, devoted to the spiritual and intellectual pursuits. Their stronghold was centers of learning. Instead of holding others responsible, Hindu Dharma taught that Adharma” (immoral behavior), “Alasya” (laziness) and Agyan (ignorance) were to be blamed for all evils, exploitation and miseries of people. Observance of such value-system had developed such an atmosphere, where different sections of society co-existed most of the time in peace. At times, there had been rifts, contradictions and discords, but they somehow managed to get over it and developed an attitude of reconciliation rather than refutation, cooperation rather than confrontation and co-existence rather than mutual annihilation.

At present, with no faith in maral values, there is centralization of control systems in the hands of a few persons, having money or muscle power. They control destiny of millions of people and try to reform people, the way they want. Their reformative attempts to bring in social changes have made narrow loyalties of class, caste, creed or religion a virtue and generated sub-cultures like favoritism, lure for easy money, nepotism, in-discipline as well as sectional and regional imbalances. All around, there are different kinds of social and psychological tensions, which lead to ever increasing conflicts. Charm for easy money has degenerated work culture. Rule of law has been adversely effected due to under-currents of sectarian politics, which has made the task of governance difficult and ineffective.

Gradual disappearance of traditional value system along with chase of materialism based on ruthless competition, favoritism, in-discipline, violence, corruption has weakened the social fabric everywhere. Scientific progress has endowed man with tremendous power both to preserve and destroy. At slightest provocation, he does not hesitate to unleash destructive powers accessible to him. Sometimes it appears that due to violent and terrorist activities, the life of common men is becoming “nasty, brutish and short”.

 

 

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February 16, 2009 - Posted by | General |

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