Saturday, January 17, 2009

Republic Day Week Special - A recap of our fundamental duties - 1

From the Bhagwada Gita, consider the following conversation at the beginning of Chapter 18.

अर्जुन उवाचा
संन्यासस्य महा-बहो
तत्त्वं इच्छामि वेदितुम्
त्यागस्य का हृषीकेशा
पृथक केसी-निसुदाना।

"Arjuna said: O mighty-armed one, I wish to understand the purpose of renunciation [tyaga] and of the renounced order of life [sannyasa], O killer of the Keshi demon, master of the senses."

श्री-भगवान उवाचा
कम्यानाम कर्माणं न्यासं
संन्यासं कवयो विदुः
प्रहुस तयागम विकाक्षनाह।

"The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: The giving up of activities that are based on material desire is what great learned men call the renounced order of life [sannyasa]. And giving up the results of all activities is what the wise call renunciation [tyaga]."

त्याज्यम डोसा-वाद इत्य एके
करमा प्रहर मनिसिनाह
न त्याज्यम इति कपरे।

"Some learned men declare that all kinds of fruitive activities should be given up as faulty, yet other sages maintain that acts of sacrifice, charity and penance should never be abandoned."

निस्कायम शृणु में तत्र
त्यागे भरता-सत्तामा
त्यागो ही पुरुष-व्याघ्र
त्रि-विधः संप्रकीर्तितः।

"O best of the Bharatas, now hear My judgment about renunciation. O tiger among men, renunciation is declared in the scriptures to be of three kinds."

न त्याज्यम कार्यम एव तट
यज्नो दानं तापस किव
पवानानी मनिसिनाम।

"Acts of sacrifice, charity and penance are not to be given up; they must be performed. Indeed, sacrifice, charity and penance purify even the great souls."

इतनी अपि तू कर्मणि
संगम त्यक्त्वा फलानी च
कर्तव्यानीति में पर्थ
निस्सितम मातम उत्तमं।

"All these activities should be performed without attachment or any expectation of result. They should be performed as a matter of duty, O son of Pritha. That is My final opinion."

नियतस्य तू संन्यासः
कर्मानो नोपपद्यते
मोहत तस्य परित्यागास
तमसः परिकीर्तितः।

"Prescribed duties should never be renounced. If one gives up his prescribed duties because of illusion, such renunciation is said to be in the mode of ignorance."

दुह्क्हम इत्य एव यात करमा
काया-कलेसा-भायत त्यजेत
सा कृत्वा राजसं तयागम
नैव त्यागा-फलं लभेत।

"Anyone who gives up prescribed duties as troublesome or out of fear of bodily discomfort is said to have renounced in the mode of passion. Such action never leads to the elevation of renunciation."

कार्यम इत्य एव यात करमा
नियतं क्रियते ’रजुना
संगम त्यक्त्वा फलं किव
सा त्यागः सात्त्विको मतः।

"O Arjuna, when one performs his prescribed duty only because it ought to be done, and renounces all material association and all attachment to the fruit, his renunciation is said to be in the mode of goodness."


न द्वेस्टी अकुसलम करमा
कुसल नानुसज्जाते
त्यागी सत्त्व-समविस्तो
मेधावी चिन्ना-सम्सयाह।

"The intelligent renouncer situated in the mode of goodness, neither hateful of inauspicious work nor attached to auspicious work, has no doubts about work."


न ही देहा-भरता सक्यम
त्याक्तुम कर्मण्य असेसतः
यस् तू करमा-पहला-त्यागी
सा त्यागिटी अभिधीयते।

"It is indeed impossible for an embodied being to give up all activities. But he who renounces the fruits of action is called one who has truly renounced."

The above passage elucidates the virtue of renunciation. Renunciation aids us in the quest of our duties, and in this case, I'm going to talk about the fundamental duties enshrined in our Constitution. Now consider the fundamental duties . These are:

  1. To abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem;
  2. To cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;
  3. To uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;
  4. To defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;
  5. To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;
  6. To value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;
  7. To protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures;
  8. To develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;
  9. To safeguard public property and to abjure violence;
  10. To strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement.

It is now high time that we realize some of these. Just because there is no law guarding our fundamental duties, we have simply left them out of our 'to-do' list for today.

What is our standing on these fundamental duties at the moment? We haven't even been able to put into effect the first fundamental duty of our constitution namely:-

"1. To abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem."

When we saw Pakistan flags being raised in Kashmir and Assam, what do we do? Why weren't all the buggers arrested on charges of treason? We do respect the National Anthem, yawning with mouths wide open on national festivals and often overexceeding the time limit. But why is it that only the National Anthem is respected and not the National Song? Why have we not approached the 13% of our population who disregard the Vande Mataram out of sheer paranoia and misjudgement? Do we know why they do this? Is there some genuine reason or is it just because they are told to not sing the National Song? When are we going to... bell the cat?
(An analysis by pioneer journo Kanchan Gupta to be found on this page.)

Let's look at the second duty.

"2. To cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom."

As per me, two noble ideals that inspired our national struggle are selflessness of struggle for the motherland. Today, we are hardly selfless. While creation of wealth is but a natural tendency of mankind, we should have been aware that a newborn nation like India would not be able to make everybody rich instantly. Yet, our government servants are all willing to earn money by any means possible (read corruption). And we, to have our work done, are but abetting them in their quest of money. Myself included, bribed some of them to get my work done. This can be nothing but detrimental to the well-being of the nation.

"3. To uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India."

This has fallen on the shoulders of none other than - guess who? The common Indian soldier. For I doubt that apart from the Army, there is anything that keeps the fabric of Indian society bound.

Trouble mongers often take refuge in the distorted history taught to us that India has never been one country to deny us the privilege of no internal strife to spread their propaganda. Today, when Naxalites ravage our southern and eastern states, Ulfa in the north east, illegal Bangladeshi immigrants create situations in the east and north east, what has the common Indian done to avoid these problems? On the contrary, I have seen reports stating that these Bangladeshi immigrants being used as cheap labour.

The common Indian has thus by and large done nothing for upholding the national integrity of India. By nothing, I mean in the terms of action, though the sentiment might be there in most of us.

More fundamental duties to be analysed later. The post seems to have gotten too long.

1 comment:

Gandaragolaka said...

I like this. This is really simple and clear to a layman-- Starting from the Geeta and ending at the Constitution. Nice.