Sublime Ideals Of Human Life
The significance of this book is obvious to practically every person who is concerned, active, alert, conscious not only of his rights but also of his duties. It further assumes significance against the backdrop that millions sleep hungry, afflicted with malnutrition and ill health in severe contrast to the glare and glamour that is the ‘sole’ possession of a select few.
The 167-page book is edited by Prof. JS Rajput, former Director, NCERT. Professor Rajputs refers to the seven social sins Mahatma Gandhi cited in Young India on October 22, 1925. These were: Politics without principles, Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Knowledge without character, Commerce without morality, Science without humanity, Worship without sacrifice.
Gandhiji went on to say the people should know these social sins not merely through the intellect but through the heart so as to avoid them. He considered these traits to be spiritually perilous for humanity. It is to be noted that each of these is a statement of principle that can be comprehended, interpreted and implemented individually and collectively. Against this backdrop, this book deals with these seven sins comprehensively and cogently.
Chapter one talks about the erosion of values, unscrupulous politics, and ideological dishonesty that demonstrate moral bankruptcy in all spheres of life. Chapter two mentions about the new syndrome of luxury, waste, growth and decline in public service. It shows how while 40 per cent of the population, especially in the third world, is living below poverty, a microscopic minority is rolling in wealth, with the money being concentrated in their hands. The next chapter says that pleasure without conscience is broadly related to the lifestyle called hedonism. People who hold that pleasure as a value in itself consider that it is a goal of life which has no place for any pain, which is its antithesis. Chapter four attempts to examine the strengths and potentialities that could enhance education’s role in character building. It also suggests certain specific strategies that could be examined for implementation.
In the next chapter, an attempt has been made to assess whether immoral commerce has increased in India and in the world. This chapter also endeavours to establish that morality in commerce is part of the foundation of Gandhian economic thought and his vision for the harmonious non-violent society. Chapter six states that most of us looks up to science as an answer to human problems. Presently, science is without humanity. Through education we need to develop creative minds that are humane too. The last chapter attempts to provide a perspective in today’s world of what could be the ideal form of worship and why sacrifice is essential when invoking the Divine.
The book throws light on the uplifting vision of life as well as that of Gandhiji and talks about the lofty ideals of human life and inner spiritual consciousness taught by him. It ponders over the question of choices people face in life and compels readers to think about the questions raised in it.
By Ashok Kumar