Essay Paper: Customary Morality


IAS Junior UPSC Mains 2020 Study Plan (Click Here)


Syllabus: Essay Paper (Art & Culture)


Customary Morality Cannot Be a Guide to Modern Life.



Morality are the value of individuals which helps in distinction between good and bad, right and wrong behaviour towards any situation. Moral values cannot be put inside a person at certain age but it is given after birth by the parents at every situation of life which teaches something. However, Customary Morality is the morality which is related to customs, tradition of a religion, society, state or nation. Tradition practices that we do are also a party of Customary Morality but now it is not acceptable in modern world as in democratic nations social aspects are under constitution power and can be change if claims.

We are all aware of story of Gautama Buddha. The transformation from Prince Gautama to enlightened Bhikshu was result of his brush with the sorrows and miseries of life. His realization that desire is the source of all the miseries in life holds true for all ages and all generation. To overcome the suffering, Lord Buddha gave a eight fold path or the astha marg (middle path similar to Socrates prudence). Each of them have a immense significance for the modern society. For instance right observation is needed to develop criticality which can free one from the bondage or fetters of social orthodoxy and narrowness of caste race religion gender region.

Right conduct not only allows one to lead a moral life but it is also the foundation stone of duties formulated under the constitution. Right conduct towards women, fellow citizens, towards all living being can make society more harmonious, strengthen the social fabrics. Similarly right livelihood has immense significance in post industrial and global world where cut throat competition and declining morality is resulting unethical practices( satyam, Enron,) , organized crimes, trafficking, prostitution , adulteration which together not only erode the trust but severely harm the social structure.

Today when we are talking about new India ,this dream of a knowledge society which can only come from right knowledge. This right knowledge is not mere imparting facts and figure, rather knowledge which can transform a child into a new man as envisioned by Vivekanand. For that one need to transform the entire schooling education which not only nourish the mind but also soul and heart. Similarly right information is needed not only to nurture the young fragile mind in digital age but is also important in the post truth world.

In the 6th BC lord Mahavir also tried to overcome the miseries and suffering that was experienced in the changing materialistic society of those times. His tri ratna of right knowledge faith and conduct has immense significance in transforming the Indian administrative system. Right knowledge e.g. domain expertise advocated by 2nd ARC can improve their efficiency, make them more professional, Faith in the system will result upholding rule of law and right conduct on the lines of code of conduct can get rid of Indian administration system of all its deficiencies e.g. corruption, unaccountability, secrecy , rigidity.

Our Epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata are rich repository of customary morality. Lord Rama respect for elders is immensely needed in this hedonistic and selfish society where government has to legislate parent welfare and maintenance act to legally bind children to care for parents. Similarly the notion of Raj Dharma which was beautifully highlighted in sixteen chapter Bhisma parvana can be the guiding light for our present leadership. The same was advocated by Kautilya’s Artha shastra where he said a king should do all which will increase the happiness of his subject and resist doing something for self gain. Ashoka’s Dhammaghosha is a classic example of such. Alas those ideals are just reduced to few pages in the classrooms, as seen in moral deflation of our current leadership, a classic case can be seen when in many state members of legislative assemblies increased their own salaries while farmer suicide was on rise.

Entire world is aware of the famous saying of the Bible “as you sow so you reap”. The present environment and climate crisis very much proves the above. Global warming , rising pollution, ozone depletion, afforestation, water pollution, soil erosion, disruption of ecosystem is the result of indiscriminate exploitation of mother earth. Similarly Vedas have words of wisdom with respect to need of harmony between environment and human. For example its mention word Apah ( water) and highlights the importance of water , today’s water crisis is result of apathy to the wisdom of customary morality.

All religious book are treasure trove of morality which can be the guiding light for the present crisis that our civilization is facing. For instance Quran speaks about the inherent brotherhood among entire mankind, it advocates equality, brotherhood, fraternity. It propounds being kind, giving alms to weaker section and leading a harmonious life with all the elements of this universe. The above customary morality was so beautifully adopted by our Sufi saints who spread the idea of peace tolerance and humanity among all. The very same principles can be the perfect antidote to present sectarian war, religious intolerance and fundamentalism which are built on narrow religious interpretation.

However, being said all that one can’t close our eyes to the decadent feature of the customary morality which has enslaved the Indian minds, created wedge between religion region race, pushed certain caste and gender to perpetual ignominy. The same can be seen in form of poor sex ratio, low nutrition status (half anaemic, one third under nourished), low work force participation (23%), poor financial inclusion , political participation. The same is repeatedly captured in poor Human development index and Gender inequality index.

Modern life could be the most difficult expression to understand. Modernity can come in thoughts, in literature, the way one dresses and so on. However, this will also be handled in the right manner here.

Many practices have been abandoned due to a natural transformation in lifestyles of people. As people moved from villages to the cities and started living in flats and apartments, they had to naturally throw many of their beliefs and practices out of the window. This includes the way the girls and women in the households were allowed to mix and mingle with the boys and the women. Almost the same way, with women going to work, many morality questions had to be overlooked and a whole generation grew out of those “customary moralities”.

The other major reason is education made a lot of people struck with old-world thinking change their attitudes towards morality. Making more money and seeking the pleasures of life only added to this new outlook on life and massive exposure that modern technology like cable television and the internet brought to the living rooms and in the hands of even the marginalized classes among the population have turned everything upside down.

With the change in time, mindset of a large number of people changes and it is because of increase in literacy level, modern thoughts, good leaders and of course people know about their fundamental rights related to freedom, equality. Modern people are so much concern about their equality, freedom, privacy thus there is a need to change the rules and regulation based on costume. It was not questioned in monarchy rule because in this people don’t have proper right but still in democratic shade practices are going on but now equality, freedom, is the need of the modern world. Consequently, many issues arose in several months in our country which are stated below.

The case of Sabarimala Temple, where women and girls of certain age group under menstruation cycle period were not allowed to enter the temple as it will impure the purity of temple and this costume was practicing for many years. But now, literate women come forward and ask for gender equality which is being violating by this morality. However, Supreme court of India has taken the decision and allow women of all age group to enter temple saying that “Menstruation cycle is a biological process which has no relation with impurity of religious place”.

Another issue where customary morality was questioned was in the case of Triple Talaq. It was also practiced for thousands of years on the name of religion only without taking care of rights of women. Under this husband can give his wife divorce by uttering the word ‘talaq’ three times. There were many cases in different parts of nations, wherein on a small issue husband gave divorce by just saying ‘talaq’ three times. It is really surpassing the rights of life of women. Now, again the question arises and when government was in favour to ban this custom, many people opposed but finally India succeeded in passing Triple Talaq bill.

There are a lot of issues based on objecting customary morality is going in India right know which includes Sabarimala Temple case, Triple Talaq case, Section 377, Section 497 or Adulteries case. Some are not under consideration but will be in future like, in many parts of India women are restricted to cover their face all time, forcing someone what to eat or what not to eat. Many rules and regulation are made on the basis of claim like for Sabarimala case supreme court comes in favour. Before, committing suicide was termed as criminal activity as it may create a adverse effect on the society but now it is considered that a person who commits suicide must have any problem or stress that he/she is suffering from so if he get save then he/she should be given proper treatment so that they can recover not to send jail where they get more stress and consequently try more attempt.

The customs are irrelevant and outdated without proper knowledge of the science and the facts. All the issues discussed above are not only start but a revolution of changing the world from traditional to modern world, but modern do not means deleting all the traditions but all those morality which do not follow the rules and regulation of constitution should be banned or deleted as in a democratic country Constitution is the National book which everyone is subjected to be follow. If it does not happen inequality will occur among gender, caste, religion and employment which in turn result lower in HDI ranking of a nations and more important lower down in Humanity. So know your rights by having proper knowledge of Constitution and you can get a bit by reading Preamble of Indian Constitution.



The customs are irrelevant and outdated without proper knowledge of the science. People take pride in it without even understanding the consequences. People protested when electricity was first introduced. Today, without electricity there is no development possible, and there is much more growth to get. People do not understand the science, and following the norms as menstruating woman is impure. Just getting offended on the name of tradition does not make the argument valid. The validity should be purely based on rationality and reasons based on human rights and equality. 


Join our program now and study smartly towards your dream

For IAS junior Mentorship Program Click Here

Our App link:

Google Play Store: 

Apple iTunes: