Jack out of the box
- 2007 Ajmer dargah blast case: Two sentenced to life imprisonment by Special NIA court
- Maharashtra Assembly ruckus: Speaker suspends 19 MLAs till December 31
- Supreme Court adjourns hearing in Babri Masjid demolition case
- Uttar Pradesh: Three mutton shops allegedly set on fire in Hathras
- RK Nagar bypoll: Election Commission to decide which AIADMK faction gets poll symbol
Social crises often lead to a greater reflection on mechanisms of social change. Usually this reflection ends in a call for a more informed and active political participation by citizens. Politics is, after all, the activity that orders the most fundamental power relationships in society. When those relationships are distorted, they reverberate across society, casting their shadow on everything. In this sense, engaging with politics is supremely important. It is central to our identity as citizen.
But in India there is another, somewhat more peculiar challenge. The spectre that haunts us is not just a lack of appropriate civic engagement. It is a complete confusion of roles or lack of identification with any. Societies function when each profession performs its role. To take your bearings in part from your professional role is to act according to your core competence; it is to at least discharge the ethical obligations that define any professional activity. Reaching outside the profession, broadening the horizons and an engagement with general affairs are absolutely necessary. However, an indiscriminate confusion of roles can weaken society in subtle ways.
The most important functional component of morality in complex societies is not personal virtue or sacrifice for the collectivity; it is rather contributing to society through your profession. In the long run, societies can mobilise the collective power of their citizens only if they at least minimally fulfil their professional roles, whatever these happen to be. If you are in a society where, for example, teachers don't show up to teach, no amount of civic engagement or personal virtue can compensate for that lack. This is a complicated problem; some may attribute it entirely to an absence of punishment mechanisms. But there is probably a more complicated moral psychology at work, where the job does not become part of your professional identity. A society that has to rely largely on external mechanisms to produce compliance is doomed from the start.
- PM Modi will need to change how different parts of government relate to each other
- Re-thinking the relationship between privileged universities and the rest is essential
- Police should not be scapegoated for arrests in high-profile corruption cases
- EVM provides fair election, reduces crime and helps improve public utility provisions
- For Congress, 2014 was a loss to BJP’s superior electoral tactics. 2019 has to be a victory for a higher strategy
- China’s response to border problems with Nepal is in contrast to India’s postures