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Values that make us Human

GS Paper 4

Syllabus: Human Values


Context: Rising incidents of brutality in society (E.g. Shraddha Murder Case, Delhi – Hit and Drag case) have questioned our understanding regarding Human Values.

What is Value?

Value means the worth or utility of a thing.

According to Rokeach, “Value is an enduring belief, a specific mode of conduct or an end state of existence, along a continuum of relative importance.”

What are Human Values?

When we associate the worth or utility of human attributes in life or personality, we refer to them as Human Values. Simply put, values which make us Human.

It promotes harmonious living as well as guides our relationship with the environment across.

In this article, we will be emphasising on value of service to humanity.

Value of service to humanity

Example: Mother Teresa

  • One of the greatest humanitarians of the 20th century, she devoted her life serving the poorest of the poor. She was a ray of hope for many, including the aged, the destitute, the unemployed, the diseased, the terminally ill, and those abandoned by their families.
  • In 1979, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitutes a threat to peace.” She didn’t attend the ceremonial banquet but asked that the $192,000 fund be given to the poor.
  • Mother Teresa was awarded India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna, on January 25, 1980, for her humanitarian work.

Example: COVID Pandemic

  • This sense of service as key to the human relationship got sharply defined during the pandemic. To care for and serve somebody without any prejudice or immediate interest became the calling card of compassion.
  • The values of interpersonal relationships, community bonding, and intrapersonal relationships emerged larger than life.
  • Swami Vivekananda affirmed that “if one wants to find God, serve man. To reach Narayana, one must serve the Daridra Narayan.”

Why do we study Human Values as aspiring bureaucrats?

  • Governance is based on the ideals of justice, transparency, and the spirit of civil service. It is expected that a civil servant must carry those human feelings or attributes which can do justice and take care of the needs of the last person in society.
  • A civil servant must exhibit the values of empathy, transparency, trust, integrity, courage, and many other human values in the execution or decision-making process.
  • Human values are equally needed even in policy formulation.




Mains Link: UPSC 2018

Q. State the three basic values, universal in nature, in the context of civil services and bring out their importance.