ethics and politics

Topics: Ramayana, Morality, Political corruption Pages: 5 (1609 words) Published: October 29, 2014
Tempeungthe ruthless and relentless politics with the healthy spirit of ethical values has been a dream project of many idealists from the ancient times of Plato down to the freedom struggle launched by Mahatma Gandhi in the Twentieth Century. Both Plato and Gandhi won many adherents to the ideals of introducing ethical considerations in practical politics. But the ground realities disillusioned them both even during their lifetime. Plato had to witness the unseemly spectacle of tyranny of the rulers in Greek city states, while Gandhi saw with his own eyes the great communal divide in the Indian subcontinent which claimed lakhs of lives thus making a great mockery of his doctrines of Ahimsa in the lives of his proclaimed followers. Ethics gets lip sympathy from the practitioners of Realpolitic, but rarely influences the political behaviour of the rulers, who will not allow considerations of justice and fair play to soften their relentless pursuit of power. In practice, politics has treated citizens as means and instruments to be used to keep them in power rather than as an end which the political leaders hypocritically declare while claiming to orient all their actions to subserve public interest In order to fathom the dimensions of the moral degradation of present day politics, it would be instructive to juxtapose it against the polity of ancient India as reflected in our great epic Ramayana. Politics today has become synonymous with unlimited greed and hunger for power. In the Ramayana, we find newly married Rama gladly renouncing his right to the thrown of Ayodhya to enable his father, Dasratha, to honour his word given to the queen Kaikeyee. Not only that he leaves for the forest to undergo 14 years of Banvaas as desired by Kaikeyee to assure her that her son will have unchallenged reign in Ayodhya. Contrast the situation with the present day rulers. One Prime Minister of India resorted to the bribing of the Members of Parliament to win a Vote of Confidence and so to retain his prime-ministership. For nearly three and a half months in the later part of the year 2000, a nation of one billion souls witnessed with horror the total helplessness of 2 big state governments in rescuiing the matinee idol of the South, Rajkumar, from the captivity of the sandalwood smuggler Veerappan. The state governments of Tamilnadu and Karnataka were all set to release hundreds of TADA detainees and meet many other unreasonable demands of the fugitive but were prevented from doing it through the intervention of the Supreme Court of India. The rulers of the two states exhibited total disregard for upholding the law of the land. The Ramayana shows a healthy contrast in Dsaratha's attitude to the menace caused by the Rakshasas in the forests. At the request of the sage Vishvamitra, the king of Ayodhya sent his teenage sons, Rama and Lakshmanato the forests to give battle to the notorious Taraka and Marichi who used to desecrate the Yajna rituals of the rishis living in the jungles by throwing bones and flesh in the Yajna fire. Dasratha took a great risk in exposing his young and inexperienced sons to the magic and machinations of the Rakshasas. Rama and Lakshmana killed Taraka along with many others and drove away Marichi from the forest and ensured peaceful existence of the rishis in the forests. The forest brigand Veerappan is still eluding the security forces of the two states that are unable to risk anything to establish the rule of law by eliminating or capturing the criminal. Politics seems to have become synonym for moral depravity of the rulers. The general conduct and poor reputation of the present day politicians should not blind us to the basic ethical assumptions of politics in democracy namely Freedom, Equality and Fraternity .A high moral conduct on the part of all the constiuents of citizenry, including the government functionaries, is a pre-requisite to realise these democratic ideals. Will a corrupt political executive allow...
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