How Responsible are We?

Responsibility is an individual, social or moral force that binds someone to the extent or courses of action demanded by that force. It’s an acceptance of responsibility that separates an adult from a child. Have you ever thought why parents are keen to instill the sense of responsibility in their growing children? Because it is the sense of responsibility that makes them conscientious and accountable of their actions.

But are we Indians really mature enough to be responsible? Do we have that sense of responsibility or we are in the habit of making excuses and evading Responsibility.

Someone has said ‘every right implies a responsibility.’ Today, if I look around I find that people are more interested in their rights rather than their duties. In progressive India it’s good to see that people are aware of their fundamental rights and they are learning how to raise their voice to get these fulfilled. But, on the other hand it’s very strange to see that when it is about their duties they simply break away from. We want neat and clean roads but unashamedly litter them because cleaning is others’ job. How many of us wait calmly for our turn while standing in a queue and don’t want to jump it? How many of us let the pedestrians cross the road without honking as if they have no right to be on the road? How many of us deliberately come forward to help the needy and don’t want to escape without botheration? In the words of Pearl buck-“We need to restore the full meaning of that old word, Duty. It is the other side of rights.” Today, the leading danger to our democracy is that people don’t want to bear their share of responsibility.

How many of us seriously bother about corruption, poverty, children safety, global warming, pollution, water crisis, increasing terrorism and the list goes on. The answer sordidly disappoints me because, we think it is someone else’s job or many of us prefer to blame government, system, police, or someone else for this. But, we hardly think that people working in these institutions are from us only, so they are not different hence the problem goes on. They make use of their powers for their own welfare and blatantly ignore their duties towards the nation, society or the institution. Recent impressive list of scams is the result of irresponsible behaviour of the officers associated. Whether it is 2G spectrum scam or CWG scam or Adarsh society scam or name any other, in every case one thing is common i.e. negligence of duties for own benefits. Some one rightly said, “The great power comes with greater responsibility.” Unfortunately now days the powerful seldom try to balance power and responsibility.

So, I believe it’s high time to introspect. If we want to live in a better world we should consider that we are always responsible for these four things-

  • Our outlook
  • Our preferences
  • Our proceedings and;
  • The consequences of our outlook, preferences and course of actions.

And then we may come close to understand “R for responsibility”.


20 responses »

  1. vimala madon says:

    you know Deepika, sometimes, the way we shirk our duties and responsibilities but fight vigorously for our so called rights, makes me feel that we as a people are fit to live only in an enforcing climate like the emergency or colonialism where somebody else has to tell us how to live and act.

  2. Dear Deepika,

    A nice article on an apt topic especially in an age when we tend to shift responsibility onto others.

    The definition of responsibility varies it seems from person to person and therein lies the conflict.

  3. Varun Reddy says:

    Deepika, out of the 4 points you mentioned, we tend to forget the last point i.e. “The consequences of our outlook, preferences and course of actions” in most cases. If we are aware of the consequences we will invariably change the other 3 parameters in order to get a better result 🙂

    • deepika says:

      Thank you Varun for reading and sharing your views.
      I do agree that we are always ready to justify our wrong doings.
      You and Geetha have talked about Metro that means, you gyes belong to Delhi. If it is so let me know where?

  4. Indrani Talukdar says:

    You know Deepika, I often think about this. When we were in school ddn’t our teachers tell us how to behave in society, to show considreation to another human being? All this seems to have stopped now. Maybe the teaching system needs to be overhauled in more senses than one, what say?

    • Varun Reddy says:

      Agreed with you Indrani, but even the parents need to take “responsibility” to instill such behaviour in their kids. Now a days, both parents are working hard, and the kids rarely have any meaningful talk with their parents (and vice-versa). Espeically in India, we are so concerned about the marks/grades that we fail to notice anything else. Studies+Tuitions+Extra-Curricular stuff leaves no time on either side.

    • deepika says:

      Thanx for reading Indrani. I endorse with your idea of overhauling teaching system but, in the same way it is parental responsilbility also to nurture sense of responsibility in their children by becoming role model for them.

  5. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    A crisp, concise and comprehensive statement on responsibility. It is good to see that you have addressed the problem as “we” which is more of an inclusive realization and assessment of the situation than a passive voice analysis of the scenario which invariably indicates an exclusive attitude. We being part of the system follow the same rut – unconsciously or consciously.

    But the worst is when we justify our action or rather inaction by lofty reasonings. I witness it quite often traveling by the Metro. Inevitably someone or the other breaks the long queue to the ire of the most and then shamelessly try to win an argument by saying that it is the only way to board the train as everyone else is doing so. It is a marvel how we reconcile to our own wrong doings!

    A good write up!

    • Varun Reddy says:

      Geeta ji, breaking the line is common everywhere in India (No, I am not trying to justify it), but I have seen even more disgusting behaviour in the Delhi Metro. But it indeed is a marvel as to how we end up finding a reason for every wrongdoing – almost as if we anticipate it well in advance 🙂

  6. Sonal Shree says:

    Your write up makes me recall yesterday’s journey by train. A family of six sat together on the lower berth despite the fact that each had a different berth allocated in the bogie. They were handling all the pillows and bed sheets mercilessly as if each packet was meant for their family! Added to this, they stuffed about 11 pieces of luggage all around as a result of which I had no place even to put my feet comfortably.
    Felt like strangulating each one of them but then went off to sleep with my footwear in polythene accompanying me on the seat.
    R for responsibilty, no way. It was R for rascals yesterday for me.

    • deepika says:

      Ooops! that was really painful my dear. But surely, they were unaware of their duties as an Indian citizen and so they were mishandling public property.They really nead to learn hard R for responsibility.

      • Varun Reddy says:

        If I were Sonal, I would have given them a piece of my mind and raised enough ruckus to get others to join me too… I wouldn’t mind using force in such circumstances… After all, it’s my right to comfort and my duty to ensure comfort for other passengers too…

  7. Safiyyah says:

    I think sometime back i wrote something on a different topic, but on the same lines. I once heard in a lecture, we are very quick to claim our rights, but when it comes to duties, we shy away from it. If every single one of us with a sane head thought i will fulfill my duties to the best of my abilities, imagine how good a place the world would be??? And that has over time taught me to make a habit of introspection at such times when i feel its not my problem, and i rectify myself. After a while it becomes second nature…Shifting blame will never bring that peace which is so grounded when i can rest assured that i have done my best…. Thanks for sharing such a lovely write-up. Regards.

    • deepika says:

      Thank you, Safiyyah for reading and liking. We are so much habitual of ignoring responsibilities that change seems difficult but not impossible.
      Have we interacted before? I would love to read your piece of writing. Can you send the link?

  8. Beyniaz says:

    You are absolutely right! Wonderful piece.

  9. Sneha says:

    Kudos for writing such a piece, Deepika.

    I once remember, when as a small child, a lady from our building was throwing litter in the park (where we had our cultural function). I was so upset at the turn of events.
    Many such things…and I mean many, many more have to change…

    • deepika says:

      You are very Right Sneha, much is needed to be done and it will only be possible by understanding sense of responsibility.

  10. vimala ramu says:

    Well put together,Deepika.

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