General Studies 2013 Paper 4 Solutions
1.What do you understand by ‘Values’ and ‘Ethics’? In what way is it important to be ethical along with being professionally competent? (150 words) 10 marks
Values and Ethics are often used interchangeably. However, there does exist a distinction between the two. Anything we see or experience around us is viewed and interpreted in terms of some preconceived ideas/values. Values are the yardsticks which help in measuring the desirability or undesirability of any act, behaviour or practice. Due to this nature of the values, there can be some universal values that are admired by all cultures and societies.
Ethics, on the other hand, are the socially acceptable principles that define what is good-bad, moral-immoral, and desirable-undesirable in a particular society. Ethics, in this context, becomes the manifestation of the different values in the human society. Ethical principles are altered to different shades to suit the human purpose, and achieve its goals. Therefore, while values are, more or less, universal in character, ethical principles are custom made by every society to serve the interest of the individuals living under its framework.
It is very important to be ethical in the performance of one’s duty. An unethical person can only bring harm to the society, because professional competency, devoid of an ethical base, can only be a home for various vices. Whereas, an ethical person would strive for the common good, even if he lacks in the high standards of his profession. While an ethical and highly competent person is seen as an ideal; a person with no ethical principles and high professional competency can become a bane for the society.
- (a)What do you understand by the following terms in the context of public service? (250 words) 3×5= 15 marks.
3. Spirit of Service
5. Courage of Conviction
(b)Indicate two more attributes which you consider important for public service. Justify your answer. 10 marks.
Integrity– Integrity refers to the cohesiveness of the character. A civil servant should be misled by material considerations. One must be committed to one’s duty alone. Since the duty of the public servants is to serve the society, as a whole, he must not allow himself to be misled by the unethical influences that often come in the various courses of action. Integrity is a value that gives the strength to stand against all odds and circumstances, and do good to the society. Thus, it is one of the basic attributes of the public servants.
Perseverance– it refers to the quality of the character to stay firm on the path of one’s duty. A civil servant often faces difficulties in the performance of his duties. In this regard, it is important to develop the attribute of perseverance. This quality gives the character a stability and conviction, which ensures that the ends are achieved despite of the difficulties that come in the path.
Spirit of Service- it refers to the quality of the character that encourages one to pursue the goals of the organization with devotion. Every organization has some basic objectives, which are ethical in nature. In the Public services, it is particularly important that the officials abide by the ethical code and goals of the public organization. The goal of the public organization is to do good to the society. Thus, only with a high spirit of service can the public officials bring a positive change in the society.
Commitment– it is one of the basic attributes of the civil servant. Good of the society can only be done if the personnel are committed to the cause of the organization. A committed person adheres to the path of the organization, and strives for the highest of ethical standards of the organization.
Courage of Conviction– it refers to the attribute of the public servants to serve the society with conviction in the organizational goals and objectives. A public servant’s decisions should not be guided by their personal well being. Courage of conviction implies the performance of duty even in adverse situations and threats. Also, it implies that the personnel shall express what is right and necessary, rather than considering the material good of the himself.
(b) two more attributes that are necessary for the public servants are-
Objectivity– a civil servant shall not differentiate between different people, in the performance of his duties. This principle is one of the basic ones of any state organization. Everyone is equal before the eye of law. Thus, public personnel should perform their duties, irrespective of the citizen’s class, caste, religion, etc.
Empathy– a civil servant is expected to do good to the society. In this context, a strict and uncompromising adherence to the rules of the organization might help the masses. A civil servant should be empathetic towards the concerns of the poor and marginalized sections. In genuine cases, he must be ready to make appropriate amends to the rules, in order to do good to the society. It is an important component in the attributes of the civil servants, as it is more important to aspire for the ends of the organization, rather than the rules.
3.Some people feel that values keep changing with time and situation, while others strongly believe that there are certain universal and eternal human values. Give your perception in this regard with due justification. (150 words) 10 marks
Values are the yardsticks that help us to judge the things we see around us. Since the moral principles and ethical standards differ with different society, it is unjust to regard values as universal and eternal. Every society and individual sets different sets of values for himself. Thus, we see different things being appreciated or shunned in different society, to a varying degree. It might also be irrational to see values as universal and eternal, as our life goals have a tendency to change with time and circumstances.
On the other hand, there does exist certain values that are universally upheld by each society, though in varying degree. For instance, the value of human life and dignity is universally upheld.
As a conclusion, it might be argued that the conception of values cannot be held in a water-tight compartment. The acceptance of a value might be universally valid, but its nature in a particular society varies according to the times and needs of the society. The main purpose of the values is to guide the human beings towards happiness. Thus, the nature of values adapt with time to ensure this aim of the human society.
4.What is ‘emotional intelligence’ and how can it be developed in people? How does it help an individual in taking ethical decisions? (150 words) 10 marks
Emotional Intelligence refers to the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. It is the ability to understand the emotions of the others and act tactfully. An emotionally intelligent person can act rationally and effectively, even if he lacks in intellectual ability.
Emotional intelligence cannot be developed through formal instruction. Development of emotional intelligence requires training of the mind in making decisions in different types of situations. To be emotionally intelligent, one needs to develop a self-realization. It is very important to know oneself, and what affects us in different ways.
Next, it is important to have an exposure to the different emotional situations. By facing different kinds of emotional situations, we develop our an ability to face different kinds of people and circumstances. In this regard, it is important to have an empathetic attitude towards others. Only when we are able to understand and feel what others feel, can we communicate better.
Emotional Intelligence is one of the main factors that decide the effectiveness of our decisions. An emotionally intelligent person can take the decisions in accordance to the needs of time and circumstances. Moreover, a person, who is emotionally intelligent, is aware of his values and principles. Thus, such a person acts in an ethically just way, and acts in an empathetic way. Thus, he ensures that the rights of the others are not violated.Such a person is moved by materialistic short-term goals. Rather, his decisions are guided by the broader concerns.
5-. (a)What do you understand by the term ‘voice of conscience’? How do you prepare yourself to heed to the voice of conscience? (150 words) 10 marks
Voice of conscience is the suggestion of our true moral self, that guides us when we are faced with critical situations. A great significance is linked to the voice of conscience because it the pure ethical nature, inherent in the human soul. Our exterior nature might be misled by materialistic urges, however, our true self is never misled by the unethical urges of the body. Thus, the significance of voice of conscience lies in guiding our actions and behaviour on the right path. When our vision is narrowed by the compulsions of pleasure, it is our conscience that guides us to remain on an ethical course of action.
Human beings are necessarily moral-ethical beings, because their actions are motivated by long-term considerations of good of all. This is the source of the voice of conscience.
It is not every-time that we abide by our voice of conscience. However, in order to be ethical, it is necessary to abide by it. To do so, we must listen and reflect what is ethical for a given situation. We must not act in haste. Rather, we must reflect on our decisions, and evaluate why it is good/bad. One must never shun one’s voice of conscience, as, by doing so, one suppresses one’s higher self and degrades one’s soul. Only a self-reflective person can heed to the voice of conscience.
(b)What is meant by ‘crisis of conscience’? Narrate one incident in your life when you were faced with such a crisis and how you resolved the same. (150 words) 10 marks
Crisis of Conscience refers to the awkward situation when one’s actions are contrary to one’s beliefs and values. Sometimes, we are not able to act in the way that is in compliance to our value and principles. Either due to some external exegencies or material greed, we, sometimes, sideline our voice of conscience and act in a contrary way. This, if done for a material greed, degrades our human nature and suppresses our conscience. However, there are also circumstances when, due to some external reasons beyond our control, we are not able to act according to our beliefs. Such situations create a feeling of guilt and shame.
Incidence from Life- When I was a child, I took a few sweets from a shop, without paying for the same. However, the shop-keeper thought that the sweets have been taken by a poor person, who was standing besides me. He started beating him excessively. I got so scared that I did not speak to him the truth. Even though I wanted to save the person from the uncalled for misery, which was given to him because of my fault, I sidelined my voice of conscience due to the fear of getting beaten by him.
- Given below are three quotations of great moral thinkers/philosophers. For each of these quotations, bring out what it means to you in the present context:
(a) “There is enough on this earth for every one’s need but for no one’s greed.” -Mahatma Gandhi (150 words) 10 marks
(b)“Nearly all men can withstand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” – Abraham Lincoln. (150 words) 10 marks
(c)“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who overcomes his enemies.” – Aristotle (150 words) 10 marks
By the given statement, Mahatma Gandhi tried to argue that we can lead a happy and satisfactory life only by being content with what we have. Greed is the source of all evil. It is the individual’s greed that makes two parties confront each other in a cut throat competition.
In the present context, this idea is very important as there is an urgent need in the society for being content with what one earns through legitimate means. Greed know no limits. That is why, we see greedy people running after their material urges endlessly, and compromising their core values. This is a sign of moral degradation of the individual as well as the society.
Following Gandhi’s idea, we can construct a harmonious society, marked by peace and cooperation. Whereas, a society, characterized by greedy people can only face conflicts and wars.
Being content with one’s earning is the foundation of cultivating a moral-ethical character. In today’s society it is a necessity to cultivate this value among the people, and more particularly among the public servants, as they are responsible for bringing good to the society.
Lincoln, in this statement, argues that the real test of a man’s character is taken by giving him power and authority. True, that every person faces the adverse situations passively, given the constraints of the options available. However, only a man of noble character is able to withstand the urges of greed and tyranny, even when he has enormous amount of power.
In the present society, this argument holds great lessons for those who are responsible to the people. The character of a person cannot be judged by evaluating his merit. But, it is tested truly only when he is placed in a position of power.
Power and authority provides a person with various options to further his self interests. In such circumstances, only a man of noble character can withhold the urges of material pleasure. The present society has been suffering at the hands of such people, who come to power somehow, but are unable to resist the compelling forces of wealth and authority.
Aristotle, through this statement, argues that it is easy to confront and overcome one’s enemy. But it is much difficult to confront the desires. Confronting an enemy is a compulsion for an individual. However, to confront one’s desires is a much difficult task, as it involves resisting the urges of the materialistic pleasures. Aristotle rightly argues that the one who overcomes his desires is much braver than the one who overcomes his enemies.
Only a person of high morality and character can resist the temptations of crude desires. The present society faces an acute form of this problem. Even highly qualified people fail to resist the temptations of material gains and pleasures. This becomes a sign of their moral weakness.
Thus, what is required is to train the people to resist their material urges. The biggest challenge for an individual is to confront his own desires and interests, than to face his adversary.
- “The good of an individual is contained in the good of all.” what do you understand by this statement? How can this principle be implemented in public life? (150 words) 10 marks
An Individual is an integral part of the human society. His interest is deeply linked with that of society. Thus, when the society blooms the individual benefits, while when the society decays, the individual suffers. Since the human society is a cohesive institution, that is sustained by the efforts of its constituent parts, the fate of each and every individual is indispensably linked with that of the society.
Many philosophers have argued that the origin of the human society itself lies in the need to cooperate between different individuals. Thus, society is seen as a social mechanism to fulfill the needs of the various constituent parts. Thus, the good of individual cannot be seen as separate from that of the society. Every society has a foundational principle of- all for one and one for all.
Such a principle can be implemented in the public life, only through education and discipline. It is only when the individuals learn to cooperate and respect the rights of the others, that social progress can be made. Thus, education, as a means to bring a transformation in how the people think, can be an effective means.
Further, public culture shall be imbibed with the values of cooperation and fraternity. Only when the people have a benevolent attitude towards their brethren, can they see themselves as an integral part of the society.
- It is often said that ‘politics’ and ‘ethics do not go together. What is your opinion in this regard? Justify your answer with illustration. (150 words) 10 marks
The purpose of politics as well as ethics, overlap, that is, to bring good to the society. The main debates about this issue pertains to the choice of means that should be taken to pursue the ends. In this regard, it should be noted that politics, without ethics, is purposeless. Politics, without an ethical base, can become a means to perpetuate oppression and exploitation.
It is only when politics is guided through an ethical framework that the good of the society is produced. Otherwise, politics becomes, what people call, a ‘dirty game of power’.
Gandhi also acknowledged this deep connection between politics and ethics, and imbibed a deep spiritual spirit in his conception of politics. Whereas, the politics of Hitler, which was devoid of any ethical grounds, became an exemplary of oppression and inhuman conduct.
Thus, it shall be concluded that ethics and politics are intertwined at the foundations. Without the companionship of one, the other loses shape and force.
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