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[Mission 2022] SECURE SYNOPSIS: 13 September 2021

 

NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


General Studies – 1


 

Topic: Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.

1. The Partition of India was one of the largest, most abrupt, unplanned and tragic transfer of population that human history has known. Examine the impact of partition on India. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Chapter-1 – NCERT XII – Politics in India since Independence

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2022 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the impact of Partition on India.

Directive word:

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must investigate the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by mentioning how transfer of power happened hastily resulting in a massive humanitarian crisis.

Body:

In detail, bring out the various issues that were caused due to abrupt and unplanned partition. Communal clashes, refugee crisis, minority issues, threat of administrative breakdown etc.

Mention how the leaders responded to Partition.

Conclusion:

Write about the bitter lessons learnt that made India to evolve into an inclusive and a secular democracy.

Introduction

“Partition” – the division of British India into the two separate states of India and Pakistan on August 14-15, 1947 – was the “last-minute” mechanism by which the British were able to secure agreement over how independence would take place. At the time, few people understood what Partition would entail or what its results would be, and the migration on the enormous scale that followed took the vast majority of contemporaries by surprise.

Body

Impact of Partition on India:

Social impacts

  • Huge number of refugees belonging to religious minorities crossing over the border
  • In terms of human resource the loss was enormous as it received about 16 million uprooted, homeless  refugees  who  had  to  be  rehabilitated  at
  • Demographic changes due to migration and Overcrowding in border districts, towns and cities
  • Emergence of ethno-cultural, ethno-religious minorities leading to inter-ethnic conflict
  • Influx of people in the metropolis of Kolkata resulting to over-urbanization
  • Logistics of rehabilitation of refugees
  • Rise in the number of unemployed
  • Later bouts of communal tension generated further movement, with a trickle of people still migrating as late as the 1960s.

Economic impacts

  • West Punjab  and  Sind  traditionally  formed  a  great  source  of  food  supply  so  much so that they were called the granary of undivided India.
  • But since the two regions came to belong to Pakistan after the partition, India was hit hard so far as food production was concerned.
  • The industrial  sector  suffered  considerably  from  the  impact  on  agriculture,  for  reasons  of  the  traditional  linkage  of  industries  with  the  agricultural  sector  for  deriving  raw  materials  produced  in  the  agricultural
  • In addition  the  riots  that  ensued  after  the  partition  led  to  a  massive  migration  of  skilled  labour  from India to Pakistan. A majority of the skilled workers and artisans were incidentally the people of the Muslim community.
  • The biggest calamity in the jute sector arose from the fact that nearly 80% of jute production went to east Pakistan because of the partition.

Geographical impacts

  • Loss of territorial resources, i.e. fertile agricultural land, in this case an extensive area under jute crop, forest lands, loss of huge mangrove forests in the deltaic region of Sunderbans
  • Sharing of water resources between upper and lower riparian states
  • Border disputes  related  to  demarcation  of  boundary  running  through  riverine  delta  areas  and  flat  alluvium plains
  • Inadequate transport and communication network system between newly created independent nations
  • Inadequate infrastructure for inter and intra-regional trade and commerce
  • Enclaves on either side of the border

Geopolitical impacts

  • The geopolitical  situation  is  a  direct  impact  of  unwise  partition  of  territories  the  implication of which is far- reaching.
  • In order to achieve a lasting peace in the sub-continent a pragmatic foreign policy  and  settlement  of  unresolved  issues  such  as  sharing  of  water,  border  management,  settlement of border disputes, disbanding of terrorist outfits are of prime importance.

Conclusion

Today, the two countries’ relationship is far from healthy. Kashmir remains a flashpoint; both countries are nuclear-armed. Indian Muslims are frequently suspected of harbouring loyalties towards Pakistan; non-Muslim minorities in Pakistan are increasingly vulnerable thanks to the so-called Islamisation of life there since the 1980s. Seven decades on, well over a billion people still live in the shadow of Partition.

 

Topic: Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.

2. The relentless diplomacy and persuasion used by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel made the dream of united India a reality. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Chapter-1 – NCERT XII – Politics in India since Independence

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2022 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the process of integration of princely states in to the Union of India.

Directive word: 

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you must debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You must give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context of hundreds of princely states and humongous task in front of Sardar Patel.

Body:

In the first part, mention as to the tactics used by Sardar Patel to achieve integration of majority of princely states.

Next, throw light on how Junagadh, Hyderabad and Kashmir resisted overtures to join India. Write in detail the methods used to integrate them.

Conclusion:

Summarise the contributions of Sardar Patel towards preserving the unity and territorial integrity of India.

Introduction

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Iron Man of India, also considered to be the architect of modern India. India’s first deputy prime minister and home minister is remembered perhaps most for the manner in which he united the country by integrating 565 princely states soon after Independence. Modern Indian history is incomplete without Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. His vision, his work, and his principles were highly remarkable in Independent India

Body

Dream of united India made true by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

  • When India became independent in 1947, Sardar Patel took over the role as a deputy PM at a time when Indian history was in a very critical stage.
  • In a truly masterful display of statesmanship, Sardar Patel ensured a smooth integration of the troubled domains by not allowing the situation to deteriorate into civil unrest.
  • There was neither bloodshed nor any kind of rebellion as he went about the task of building a strong India with a missionary zeal.
  • Patel often invoked the patriotism of the princes in his attempt to convince them to join India.
  • On other occasions he reminded them of the possibility of anarchy and on event of their refusal to join.
  • He also introduced the concept of ‘privy purses’ as a payment to be made to the families of the princes for their agreement to integrate with India.
  • With great skill and masterful diplomacy & using both persuasion & pressure, Patel succeeded in integrating hundreds of princely states.
  • Most princely states joined Constituent Assembly with wisdom but others like of Junagarh, Kashmir, Manipur and Hyderabad publicly announced their desire to claim an independent status.
  • Sardar Patel had strong will and his decisiveness, taking tough decisions, and his undivided loyalty towards Mahatma Gandhi marks him out among his peers.
  • His skilful combination of diplomatic persuasion of pointing to the larger long term interests of the population and also with a certain amount of arm-twisting which made it clear that there would be a price to pay if the rulers did not accept the conditions the Indian government was putting.

Conclusion:

Often referred to as the “Bismarck of India”, Patel was instrumental in bringing India together. Patel laid out the initial framework for persuading the princes to join, it was his secretary, V.P. Menon, who did the actual groundwork of coaxing them. The final touch in the process was applied by the Viceroy Lord Mountbatten.

Value-addition

  • The roots of Amul can be traced back to his vision for empowering local communities, particularly women.
  • It was Sardar Patel who also popularized the idea of cooperative housing societies, thus ensuring dignity and shelter for man.
  • Patel’s lasting contribution was protecting the Indian constitution from the ogre of communal electorates.
  • He was a major driving force behind the liberal industrial policy resolution of 1948.
  • Patel was among the few to see the dangers from China’s imminent takeover of Tibet.
  • Junagarh
    • A small state on the coast of Saurashtra surrounded by Indian Territory
    • Had no link with Pakistan yet Nawab announced accession to Pak
    • But majority of the people (majorly Hindu), desired to join India
    • This led to a violent movement against Nawab along with Indian troops marching into the state
    • A plebiscite was held which favoured joining India.
  • Jammu and Kashmir
    • Hindu ruler Hari Singh tried to negotiate with India & Pak to have an independent status for his state.
    • Since majority population of the state was Muslim, the Pakistan thought Kashmir ‘belonged‘ to them.
    • On 15th August Harisingh offered standstill agreement with both countries which allowed the free movement of people & goods.
    • Pakistan signed the agreement but India didn’t.
    • Pakistan became impatient & started violating standstill agreement.
    • 24th October Hari Singh demanded military assistance from India.
    • Mountbatten pointed out that under international law India can send its troops only after state signs a formal instrument of accession
    • Thus on 26th Oct Maharaja signed instrument of accession which got ratified in 1954.
    • On 27th Oct. morning nearly 100 planes airlifted men and weapons to Srinagar.
    • Pakistan army left the main valley region but continue to occupy a large chunk of territory of Gilgit, Baltistan region – Pak occupied Kashmir.
  • Hyderabad
    • Largest princely state of India which was ruled by Nizam
    • Nizam led to tyrannical ways & aspired to set up a Muslim dominion rather than integration with India
    • He wanted an independent status for Hyderabad & thus entered into negotiation of standstill agreement with India
    • Meanwhile people revolted against Nizam’s rule, particularly the peasants of Telangana due to his worst oppression measures.
    • Nizam retaliated on popular movement by unleashing a para-military force
    • 150,000 soldiers were mobilized by Nizam to fight against the Indian Union
    • They murdered, maimed, raped and looted, targeting particularly the non-Muslims
    • In Sep 1948, Indian army under operation Polo invaded Hyderabad state & overthrew its Nizam, annexing the state merged it into the Indian Union.
  • Manipur
    • Indian government was prepared to be flexible in giving autonomy to some regions.
    • Maharaja of Manipur signed the instrument of Accession with the Indian government on the assurance that the internal autonomy of Manipur would be maintained.
    • Under the pressure of public view, Maharaja held elections in Manipur in June 1948 & thus state became a constitutional monarchy.
    • Manipur was the 1st part of India to hold an election based on universal adult franchise.
    • Government of India succeeded in pressurizing the Maharaja into signing a Merger Agreement in September 1949, without consulting the popularly elected Legislative Assembly of Manipur.
    • This caused a lot anger and resentment in Manipur, the consequences of which are still being felt.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections

3. Why is India so prone to crimes against women? The government must rethink its policies and better coordinate its efforts to make safer spaces for women. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Hindustan Times

Why the question:

In the past week, three heinous crimes against women were reported in different parts of the country – Mumbai, U.P and Chattisgarh.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the reasons for unabated crimes against women and steps that are needed to tackle this chronic problem.

Directive word: 

Analyse – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context and mention the NCRB data on increasing cases of rape in India

Body:

In the first part, mention the reasons for this chronic issue. Legal loopholes, social conditioning, culture of violence, Caste dynamics etc.

Write the steps that are the need of the hour. Effective implementation of Laws, investigating agency and prosecution more proficient, awareness, gender sensitisation etc. Debate about provision of death penalty for Rape.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

The latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) paints a frightful picture of a steady rise in rape cases. India recorded 32,033 rape cases in 2019. This implies that at least 88 women were raped every day. In the past week, three heinous crimes against women were reported in different parts of the country.

These horrific, unrelated crimes point to a common denominator: India remains unsafe for women. The Delhi gang rape of 2012, which led to stricter laws, is now a distant memory, as horrific cases of sexual violence continue to shock the country.

Body

Crimes against Women: Statistics

In 2019, 400,000 cases of crimes against women were reported, up from about 378,000 in 2018. These account for only 10% of the crimes against women. The conviction rate for rape cases is a dismal 30%.

Culture of crimes against women in India

  • Entrenched Patriarchy: India is a deeply patriarchal society. Popular culture equates masculinity with sexual aggression and encourages men and boys to bully and harass women, even rape them, to “tame” them and teach them a lesson.
  • Gender and caste violence: Raping Dalit women takes this misogyny further. A Dalit woman is raped not just to punish and humiliate the woman but also her family and community. It is aimed at underscoring the powerlessness of Dalit men and the larger Dalit community to protect “their” women.
  • Justice system: It is a social fact that the criminal legal system often merely re-arranges a system of illegalities. For example, rape survivors are routinely pressurized to “compromise” illegally and turn hostile in trials, failing which they may be threatened or even killed.
  • Humiliation to victim: Victims, instead of getting justice, had to face several unnecessary humiliating questions.
  • Crime in home: Most crimes still happen within the confines of homes & victims are raped by people they know well like relatives/friends/etc, most of these cases don’t even make it to the statistics.
  • No preventive measures: In case of any crime committed against women, the discussion always goes towards punishment for the crime only, but never towards the prevention of crime.

Rethinking policies to make safer spaces for women

  • Law enforcement must swiftly bring the perpetrators to book and state governments must ascertain areas of high crime rates and double safety protocols in those areas.
  • Men and young boys must be brought into the conversation to dismantle patriarchy and power structures that destroy the lives of women.
  • Plugging Gaps in Justice Delivery: The most severe gaps in the justice delivery system are reporting a police complaint. Therefore, the focus of the criminal justice system needs to shift from sentencing and punishment to the stages of reporting, investigation, and victim-support mechanisms. In this context, the following measures must be ensured:
    • The victim reports a case without any fear.
    • Police to conduct a sound investigation.
    • Victim protection throughout the trial.
    • Making testification as easy and as quick as possible.
    • Allocation of resources and more robust implementation of the law than is currently evident.
  • Sensitisation At a Broader Level: Despite the ever-increasing ambit of the death sentence, there has been little effort to address prejudices in society.
    • Addressing the prejudices in the society against sexual offences requires sensitisation of functionaries of the justice system & more importantly society.
  • Victim protection: Adequate protection must be given to the victim until the case is closed to ensure they are not threatened.

Conclusion

Crimes against women are on the rise in recent times. Safety of women is of utmost important to ensure that the society will prosper. The extent of violence against women in India is shameful, and shows little sign of abating. While, as a community, it is possible to pass laws to criminalise the violence, law alone will not ask men to respect the opposite gender. What needs to be ingrained in the society is this “stronger people don’t put others down; they lift them up”. The year 2012 brought a drastic change in the way the State and society began viewing the epidemic of sexual violence; nine years later, India still has a long way to go.

 

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

4. The global war on terror led by the U.S, failed to achieve its objective and yielded mixed results at best. This calls for a new global approach to defeat terrorism. Comment. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The 9/11 attacks prompted the U.S. not only to invade landlocked, strategically located Afghanistan but also to launch a global war on terror. Yet, the U.S.-led war on terror has yielded no tangible results.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the outcomes of U.S led Global war on terror and to argue for a new approach to tackle terrorism.

Directive word: 

Comment– here we must express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context regarding the global war on terror.

Body:

Mention about the U. S’s strategic decision to withdraw its forces from many of the military operations site, starting with Afghanistan leading to the victory of terrorist organisations in the region, which is the exact cause of launch of such an operation.

Further discuss on the threat of Taliban-Al Qaeda strengthening through its Haqqani network. Bring out the need for a new approach for Counter terrorism measures by continuous monitoring and identifying potential threats at the initial stage, leveraging technology, creating global consensus.

Conclusion:

Conclude by saying that the time is ripe for an international consensus to build up on a robust counter terrorism measure in the present context of failure of US led was on global terror.

Introduction

On the day the United States marked two decades since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Taliban triumphantly hoisted their flag over the Afghan presidential palace to start off their new regime. The unprecedented 9/11 attacks prompted the U.S. not only to invade landlocked, strategically located Afghanistan but also to launch a global war on terror. Yet, the U.S.-led war on terror has yielded no tangible results.

Body

War on terror led by US failed to achieve objective

  • The US-led invasion of Afghanistan toppled the Taliban and degraded the capabilities of Al-Qaeda, but it did nothing to eradicate the causes of violent Islamic extremism at its roots.
  • The nature of the threat has transformed since 9/11 when jihadist terror essentially meant Al-Qaeda. But since then, IS emerged and various branches pledging allegiance to IS or Al-Qaeda.
  • The geographic spread of the jihadist threat has also changed. The groups were limited to the Middle East but they are now also common throughout Africa, most of the Arab world as well as in South and Southeast Asia.
  • The US has shifted its priorities from countering terrorist groups overseas to dealing with the Chinese first. The rhetoric is proven correct that, USA does not lose war, it only loses interest.
  • Idea of rebuilding societies: The withdrawal is a tacit admission that the idea once shared by conservatives, liberals and foreign policy elites, including Biden himself — that the U.S. could use force to destroy other societies and then rebuild them in America’s image — had proved a failure.
  • Critique of pre-emptive war on Iraq: A major criticism levelled at this justification is that it does not fulfil one of the requirements of a just war and that in waging war pre-emptively, the United States undermined international law and the authority of the United Nations, particularly the United Nations Security Council.
  • Morale of Afghan army hit: Afghan army was sustained upon aids and funds from USA and most importantly air support. When air support ended, Taliban onslaught could not be resisted and demoralised army surrendered.

New global approach to defeat terrorism

  • Despite the public’s rejection of “forever wars,” the U.S. will need to maintain military pressure on radical networks.
    • The biggest challenge is in Afghanistan, where the Taliban’s return to power could once again make the country a haven for violent extremists.
    • Without troops and diplomatic personnel on the ground, the U.S. should increase investments in satellite and reconnaissance capabilities to improve the accuracy of drone strikes.
  • Nations should seek intelligence-sharing agreements with Afghanistan’s neighbours.
  • The counterterrorism agencies should explore the possibility of limited cooperation with the new Afghan regime to target Islamic State Khorasan, a rival of the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
  • Collective action against safe havens: UNSC must sanction nations such as Pakistan which are safe havens for terrorists. Designated terrorists still find sanctuary in Pakistan and this can be dismantled only when the larger nations under UN collectively punish such nations.

Conclusion

The 20th anniversary of 9/11 should have been an occasion to reflect on the forgotten lessons of those attacks, including the importance of not coddling terrorism-supporting regimes. With the global war on terror having gone off the rails, the anniversary was also a reminder of the imperative to build a new international consensus to help drain the terrorism-breeding swamps. It is not too late for western powers to absorb the lessons from national policies that gave rise to Frankenstein’s monsters.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

5. Critically examine the newly launched Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme in imparting a competitive edge to the Indian textile sector. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The Centre has notified a Rs 10,683 crore Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for the textiles industry with a special emphasis on high-value fabrics, and garments.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the potential of recently launched Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme in enhancing competitiveness of India textiles.

Directive word: 

Critically analyse – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a balanced judgment on the topic.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by writing about PLI for textile sector, its aims and objectives.

Body:

Mention the benefits of the scheme such as employment generations and boosting domestic production in line with the scheme of Aatmanirbhar abhiyan, especially after the ravage of the textile economy post covid pandemic, attracting domestic and foreign investments and promotion of setting up of large-scale manufacturing units.

On the flipside also discuss the cost-benefit analysis of the scheme from the perspective of the companies and entrepreneurs regarding the risk associated with scaling up of operations. Also, mention about the stiff competition India faces from Bangladesh and Vietnam.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward to gain confidence of the entrepreneurs and investors to explore options of expanding their business.

Introduction

The government rolled out a Production Linked Incentive scheme for the textile industry to make the sector competitive and export oriented. With a total budgeted outlay of ₹10,683 crore, the government has designed the scheme with a view to providing a big fillip to the man-made fibres and technical textiles segments of the industry.

Body

Production Linked Incentive scheme: Features

  • The scheme is aimed at promoting industries that invest in the production of 64 select products. The product lines include 40 in man-made fibre apparel, 14 in man-made fibre fabrics, and 10 technical textile segments/products.
  • The investment period is two years, and the incentive will be paid for five years after the first year of post-investment operation.
  • The scheme is for two types of investments. The first entails a minimum of ₹300 crore in plant, machinery, equipment and civil works in a unit that must register a minimum turnover of ₹600 crore once it commences operation.
  • The second is for a minimum of ₹100 crore, where the business achieves a minimum turnover of ₹200 crore. Thus, the incentive is based on a combination of investment and turnover.
  • The government has indicated that the incentive for the higher investment scheme would start at 15% of the turnover for the first year, and 11% in the case of the lower turnover plan, decreasing gradually by 1% each subsequent year over the next four years for both schemes.
  • Priority will also be given to investment in aspirational districts, Tier-3, Tier-4 towns, and rural areas.

Advantages of PLI scheme

  • During 2018-19, the import of man-made fibre garments jumped 39% from the previous year, while the import of the man-made fibre yarn, fabrics, and made-ups rose 16%.
  • With the government recently removing the anti-dumping duty on viscose staple fibre and Purified Terephthalic Acid, most man-made fibre is now available in India at internationally competitive prices.
  • With an incentive to invest in production too, Indian manufacturing of man-made fibre value-added products is expected to increase and thus bring down imports, especially of man-made fibre apparel and fabrics, from countries such as China and Bangladesh.
  • The government has said the scheme will help attract ₹19,000 crore of fresh investments and generate 7.5 lakh jobs.
  • The expectation is that it will motivate industries to make fresh investments in the select product lines and scale up capacities.
  • Global retail brands, which are present in India and sourcing man-made fibre-based apparel from other countries, are likely to start sourcing from India once the garments become available at internationally competitive prices.

Critical analysis

  • The cotton textile is excluded from this scheme. Industry stakeholders are of the view that India’s cotton exports contracted 18 per cent last year and must have been given some benefits under the scheme.
  • It invariably incentivises big players only, as minimum investment starts with either Rs 100 crore and Rs 500 crore.
  • Each PLI scheme is to be run by different ministry. Then, it will become a hydra-headed bureaucracy.
  • The market share of domestic companies is not promising. In such cases, this scheme could benefit international companies more than domestic companies.
  • Each process of the manufacturing is done by multiple players in India. Therefore, the condition of investing Rs 500 Crore for greenfield investment seems very difficult to achieve and clearly seems that this condition should be eased out the way it has been done for some other sectors.
  • It would be difficult to maintain a growth pattern of 50% on a year-on-year basis which would involve more investment in terms of machinery and capturing more market in given time.

Conclusion

While the government is discussing various representations from industry in all earnest to make the scheme being successful, it would be interesting to look at the products and the eligibility criteria which gets notified in the final scheme so as to achieve real growth for the sector.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics – in private and public relationships.

6. Indian culture and its diverse philosophies are a rich repository of ethics. Elaborate. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Ethics by Lexicon publications.

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Philosophical Mondays’ in Mission-2022 Secure.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about source and ideals of ethics in Indian culture and philosophy.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by mentioning that the Indian tradition is repository of numerous ethical and moral discourses.

Body:

In detail mention the various sources – Vedas, Upanishads, Dhramashastras, Smritis, Buddhist canon, Jaina ethics, Bhagwad Gita, folk tales, teachings of sufi and bhakti saints, teachings of modern philosophers like Swami Vivekanada and Mahtma Gandhi etc.

Describe the major ethical and moral tenets of the above-mentioned sources or teaching of the personalities.

Conclusion:

Conclude by drawing the contemporary importance of the above.

Introduction

Ethics is a branch of philosophy that deals with moral values. The moral code of the people is an indicator of their social and spiritual ways of life. The true essence of human life is to live amidst worldly joy and sorrows. Ethics is primarily concerned with the moral issues of the world.

Body

Indian culture and its diverse philosophies are a rich repository of ethics:

  • In the knowledge tradition of India, ethics has its origin in its religious and philosophical thinking. From time immemorial, various religious faiths have flourished here.
  • Every religious and every philosophical system of India has a prominent ethical component. Ethics is the core of all these systems.
  • In every religious tradition, good moral conduct is considered essential for a happy and contented life.
  • Without following the path of righteousness no one can attain supreme goal (moksha) of life. For this one has to perform good deeds and avoid wrong-doing.
  • India has a very ancient history of thinking about ethics. Its central concepts are represented in Rigveda, one of oldest knowledge texts not only of India but of the entire world.
  • In Indian tradition, the concept of ṛta gave rise to the idea of dharma.
  • The term dharma here   does   not   mean   mere   religion; it   stands   for   duty; obligation   and   it is a whole way of life in which ethical values are considered supreme and everyone is expected to perform his or her duty according to his or her social position and station in life.
  • In the Bhagavad-Gītā, selfless action (niśkāma karma) is advocated.
    • It is an action which is required to be performed without consideration of personal consequences.  It is an altruistic action aimed at the well-being of others rather than for oneself.  In Hinduism this doctrine is known as karma yoga.
  • Similarly, the importance of ethics and ethical values is highlighted in epicsand philosophical texts like, Upaniṣads, Rāmāyaṇa, darśana-śāstras and dharma-śāstras.
  • The Dharma śāstras are philosophical texts, which provide rational explanations of the ethical issues; the universal moral problems faced by man in daily life are placed in a philosophical context.
  • In the dharma-śāstras, emphasis is on the social ethics.
  • In these texts the inter-personal and social relations are placed in an ethical framework for guidance. In these texts the ethical problems are discussed in an indirect manner.
  • In Buddhism, the word Dhamma is used, which is the Pali equivalent of the Sanskrit word dharma.
  • According to Buddhism, the foundation of ethics is the pañcaśīla (five rules), which advocates refraining from killing, stealing, lying, sexual misconduct and intoxicants. In becoming a Buddhist, a lay person is encouraged to take a vow to abstain from these negative actions.
  • Jainism is another important religion of this land. It places great emphasis on three most important things in life, called three gems (triratna).
  • These are: right vision (samyaka dṛṣṭī), right knowledge (samyaka jñāna) and right conduct (samyaka cāritra). Apart from these, Jain thinkers emphasize the need for reverence (Shraddha). There are other moral principles governing the life of Jains.
  • Sikhism also lays great stress on ethics in human life. Truth is higher than everything else, higher still is truthful conduct, according to Guru Nanak.
  • The cardinal values according to Guru Granth Sahib are compassion, charity, contentment, non-enmity and selfless service.
  • During the middle ages, the Bhakti movement arose in India. It was an all-India movement of social reform and spiritual awakening. It played a very important part in reawakening moral consciousness in India. Jayadeva, Nāmdev, Tulsīdās, Kabīr, Ravidās and Mīra are some of the prominent saints of this movement. Most of these saints came from the downtrodden sections of society.
  • Rejecting the distinctions of caste, colour and creed, they spread the message of human equality. They were saint poets. In their vāṇī (poetic compositions) they propagated the ideals of love, compassion, justice and selfless service. These are the ethical values which we need even today.
  • Finally, the constitution of India also acts as a source of ethical guidance through its sources such as Basic Text of the Constitution, Constituent Assembly debates, Freedom struggle, and Case Law Histories etc.

Conclusion:

Multiple sources act as basis for ethics in India. However, almost all the sources teach the same cardinal values of truth, non-violence, compassion and love.

 

Topic: Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

7. Plato’s cardinal virtues are currently more relevant than ever. Explain with examples. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: plato.stanford.edu

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Philosophical Mondays’ in Mission-2022 Secure.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the relevance of Plato’s cardinal virtues in the present times.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

 Begin by mentioning about the Plato’s 4 cardinal virtues – Wisdom, Courage, Justice and Moderation.

Body:

In brief, describe the virtues of Plato and what they meant according to him. Four cardinal virtues on which rest all the remaining moral virtues.

Next, one by one, bring out the relevance of these virtues in present. Cite examples as to show how these virtues are still important.

For e.g. – Courage in times of pandemic etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by stressing on the overall importance of the virtues.

Introduction

The four cardinal virtues of Plato are justice, wisdom (prudence), courage (fortitude), and moderation (self-control, temperance). They come not just from Plato or Greek philosophy but are found in scriptures as well. These four are called “cardinal” virtues from the Latin word for “hinge”. All other virtues hinge on these four.

Body

Justice

Justice for Plato was when every individual as fitted by nature, performed his duties in the society. He said, justice is served when rulers are wise, soldiers are courageous and producers are productive.

Contemporary relevance

Though Plato’s justice may not be suitable in the current times, Justice as fairness will always remain relevant. In a world where there is stark divide between rich and poor, the haves and have-nots; there is a need for socio economic justice. To remove the ills of gender discrimination and violence, there is a need for gender justice. Human dignity as given by Kant, cannot be realised without the idea of Justice. There cannot be rule of law without Justice. E.g.: Sister Abhaya case in Kerala, where convicts were brought to justice recently. Justice, is thus a virtue that sustains the human existence.

Wisdom

Plato believed that knowledge of philosophy was the path to attain wisdom. So, philosophy is the love of wisdom and, more importantly, the philosopher is the friend or, better, lover of wisdom. Wisdom is meant to be action-guiding. In the Republic Plato’s injunction is in effect: “Become wise yourself, or if you are incapable of it, let yourself be guided by one who is truly wise.”

Contemporary relevance: We live in an age of extreme competition where in education plays crucial role in determining our place in the society. Wisdom in the form of common sense is of utmost important to prevent being deceived. Moreover, as human beings are increasingly becoming more materialistic and consumerist, there is a need to reign the greed of desires. This is possible when the mankind is not just educated or worldly wise but also has deeper wisdom regarding their actions and its impact on the planet. As Plato says, reality is a shadow of ideas, it is more important to understand the Essence.

Courage

In Plato’s Laches, multiple definitions of Courage can be found. Courage is the knowledge of what inspires fear or confidence. It is the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, without fear and with bravery.

In contemporary times, mankind is faced by multiple dangers such as life-threatening pandemic, climate change induced disasters. On a micro level, any small change in life can be fear inducing. For instance, going abroad for higher studies or quitting a high paying job to pursue civil services. Every decision of our lives requires courage and conviction to materialise it into reality.

Moderation

Moderation is primarily a personal virtue aimed at rational self‐control of extreme appetites for food, drink, and wealth. Plato associates moderation with the proper functioning of the appetitive part of the soul.  Hence, moderation in a person will be the result of the “agreement” on the part of the appetitive part to the rule of the reasoning part.

This virtue is most relevant in current economy driven by excessive wastage of natural resources. As Gandhi said, there is enough for everyone’s need and not everyone’s greed. Moderation is the key for sustainable development. It also prevents one to be on either extreme of a spectrum in life.

Conclusion

The four cardinal values form a virtue theory of ethics. The virtues are called cardinal because they are regarded as the basic virtues required for a virtuous life. Our value system and principles help us stay grounded and form an integral part of our identities. In the end, all that matters are not how much wealth or riches one had, rather the virtuous path one took in the journey of life.


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