Whenever I read the parable of the Good Samaritan I visualize Mother India in the place of the wounded traveller who was attacked by the robbers. Till Independence Mother India was attacked and looted by foreign rulers. Even after the country obtained Independence, the attacking, robbing, looting and raping of Mother India are being continued mainly by our own rulers or the so called political leaders who have a strong network with very rich people, bureaucrats and criminals. Independence Day Celebration on every August 15 has become a meaningless and a dead ritual. Today we live in a situation where there is no or less peace. This has been caused by value-less situation or degradation of basic human values.
The value-less situation had been very meaningfully described by Mahatma Gandhi in his writings as well as speeches through the Seven Crimes namely Pleasure without conscience; Politics without principle; Wealth without work; Worship without fellowship; Commerce without sincerity; Science without humanity and Education without character. The basic human values such as honesty, hard work, concern for others, forgiveness, tolerance, simplicity and contentment etc. are never given priority in our lives and they are brushed aside or rather they are buried. It is worth reflecting on the seven crimes.
Pleasure without conscience: In the past a tribe called Charvaka lived and their only motto was – Eat, Drink and Make Merry. After many generations the same mindset has come back. Everyone wants selfish enjoyment without having slightest concern for others. To enjoy life one needs money and how does it come? People today are willing to do any type of crime – smuggle, loot/robbery, corruption, drug/substance abuse, rape, kill and violence etc. just for the sake of money with which they want to have selfish enjoyment. Do such people have any conscience? Yes, they do, but they bury their conscience and involve themselves in various crimes keeping pleasure as their only target. That is the reason why Gandhiji called Pleasure without conscience as a crime.
Politics without principle: Today we can succeed in counting the stars in the sky but it is very difficult to count the number of political parties. It just means that there is a mushroom growth of political parties. What do they want? Do they wish to serve the citizens? Never, they just want two things - power and money. By hook or crook they come to power and as long as they rule, they loot our money and disappear from the scene. In the climax scene of a Hindi film, Madari, the politician makes a public confession like this: “Politics is for corruption. We politicians, intimidate people by using laws and constitution. We use the government machineries to make money for ourselves. We stoop to any level for this sake.” This is what we witness in our country. An interesting WhatsApp message reads like this: “A mother tells her son, Beta, do not tell lies, do not cheat, do not rob anything and do not involve in any crime, because all these are done and taken care of by our politicians.” For this very reason Gandhiji called Politics without principle a crime.
Wealth without work: There was a stage in the human history where the dignity of labour was valued and upheld. People tried to work hard and with the fruits of their hard labour they lived happily. But today majority of the people want to earn money as fast as possible and that too without working hard. Today’s culture can be called as Instant Culture. People want instant success, instant power and instant money. People wish to acquire wealth and properties easily and overnight. As a consequence of this mindset, people are willing to do any unlawful thing for the sake of money. Hence we see that crimes, such as bribery, robbery, corruption, never-ending rapes, atrocities on women and various types of violence are flourishing. The dignity of labour is no more a value. That is the reason Gandhiji called wealth without work a crime.
Worship without fellowship: In India we live in a multi-religious situation. Various religions co-exist. The purpose of every religion is to strengthen love and fellowship among people. Sadly today we are divided in the name of God and religion. People fight or made to fight and kill one another in the name of God and religion. We also find that within certain religion there are so many sects/groups/denominations. One group does not accept the other or live in harmony with the other group. Religion is reduced to mere dead rituals and meaningless ceremonies. God is converted into a commercial commodity. The religious leaders have become business men/women selling God by exploiting the ignorance of the people or intimidating simple people by wielding their so called spiritual power. Worships are offered to God more for selfish purposes than for strengthening fellowship. Hence Gandhi was right in calling worship without fellowship a crime.
Commerce without sincerity: There was a time when people lived with contentment. Manufacturers produced only the essential commodities that people needed. Today the business people produce only those commodities in which they will get good profit. As a result, many unwanted and non-essential items are manufactured. In Tamil there is a proverb that says, “Tell thousand lies to conduct a marriage.” Today the business people’s only motto is: “Tell countless lies to sell a product”. In order to sell their useless and non-essential products they follow various unethical techniques. People are being brainwashed continuously through various ways. Consumeristic culture is fast spreading like a wild fire. Middle and lower middle class people are being forced to fall into debt-traps by the business community. Cut throat competitions are seen among the business people. In this context it has become very difficult for an honest person to survive in a business. That is the reason Gandhiji called the Commerce without sincerity a crime.
Science without humanity: It is true that India has advanced in science and technology. Hi-tech culture is widespread. We are now ruled or dictated by electronic gadgets that have become inseparable. The question that needs to be asked is: Are these high-tech and sophisticated gadgets promote humanity? The sad answer is: No, they do not promote humanity. Rather all these high-tech gadgets have become threats to human fellowship. Television, Mobile phones and Internet have spoilt the traditional human recreation that strengthened fellowship. These gadgets have taken the human society to a strange and lonely world where there is no humane touch. Nuclear weapons are designed and weaponisation of space has been already initiated by many developed countries. The arrival of any new invention of science and technology is posing threat to humanity. So Gandhiji said that science that does not promote humanity is a crime.
Education without character: “A school boy of class 8 killed his friend due to borrowing of money”; “A high school girl tried to kill her grandmother for the sake of money”; “A college student kidnapped one LKG child and demanded Rs.1 lakh from the child’s parents”; “A college boy was killed by his friends due to triangle love affair with a girl”; “A school student ran away with his class teacher and tried to marry her” – These are some of the screaming headlines in the print and electronic media today. As we all know, the ultimate objective of education is character building. Education must shape the personalities of students and enable them to become good and responsible citizens, men and women of characters. Unfortunately Character Formation is not the priority for the educational institutions. Instead of functioning as temples of wisdom, they have become sheer business centres. They just boast of achieving 100 per cent academic results. Can any educational institution claim that they have produced men and women of characters? In the name of education everything else happens except character building. As a result schools/colleges/universities produce students who have no character. What good these character-less people do to their society and nation? This is a million-dollar question.
Due to the prevalence of the above mentioned seven crimes, we live in a value-less situation leading to peace-less situation. Mother India’s condition is very critical. Unless sincere initiatives of nation-building are taken, the existing critical situation will become worse and more serious. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the Priest and the Levite were not sensitive. It was the Samaritan who had the ability to respond to the needy situation, take risks and save the life of the wounded traveller. In a similar manner, it is our responsibility to come to the aid of Mother India. We need to learn certain lessons from the Good Samaritan and become sensitive to the burning issues of the country. We must have the ability to respond to needy situations. We also need to be sincere to the call and be willing to take risks.
Article 51 of the Indian Constitution says – “Promote harmony and the spirit of common fellowship among all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities.” We need to understand our cultural heritage and rich spirituality; appreciate unity in diversity and other positive strengths of the country; have a true patriotic spirit and be proud to be an Indian; create awareness among the people with whom we live and work; build the youth and help them to become enlightened leaders; become a spiritual person/an enlightened leader like the Good Samaritan and imbibe his good qualities; remember to exercise the Fundamental Duties of Indian citizens as given under Article 51-A of the Indian Constitution and respond constructively to every situation in order to build the nation. Shall we respond positively as the nation building is the need of the hour?(Published on 07th August 2017, Volume XXIX, Issue 32)