Moral Majority

Dec 16 2013, 13:20 IST
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SummaryCan character be taught?

My first few years of school were spent in a convent school where our day would begin with lessons in moral science. It sounds so ridiculously antiquated for the times we live in but this was a regular subject with exams and lectures conducted by puritanical and grim-faced nuns. Needless to say I cant recall a single topic but have a vague recollection of being introduced to Mother Teresas formidable accomplishments back then. I bring this up because I was at a party recently where somebody argued that Indias problems stem from a lack of morality among citizens and that moral science should be reintroduced as a subject for the next generation, as a way to combat corruption.

Similarly, post the Wall Street crash of 2009, there was a lot of debate in the banking sector on whether moral lessons on greed and company ethics should be taught in business school. We may all agree that rape, murder and theft are wrong but there is no set of common ethics prescribed for daily living that apply to all cultures, religions and professionals. Yet, its interesting to see how our moral compass guides us to our conclusions. Actually, morality, or dissent against perceived ills is wholly in fashion, more like thriving in India right now. On Thursday, Jantar Mantar in Delhi had three, entirely different but significant and peaceful rallies on, almost simultaneously. The LGBT community was protesting against the Supreme Court ruling that homosexual relationships are illegal, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had a rally to announce they will contest the Lok Sabha elections. And lost in this din were UPSC aspirants protesting against the change in the syllabus. They all hold strong positions based on whats right.

There can be no better example of morality triumphing, than the staggering success of the AAP in Delhi which has won 28 seats because of a tsunami of simmering discontent against the way politics works in India. If you go solely by logic, nobody should have voted for AAP because though anti-corruption is powerful, their economic agenda and administrative ideas are wholly unknown and untested. If its bijli paani that concern the regular citizen, wheres the wisdom in banking on political novices without experience? But the time is ripe for a third option, a fresh party bursting with idealism, and it didnt matter to citizens that AAP hasnt governed as much as

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