General Studies Essay Paper: Privileges above its Principles

Privileges above its Principles

IAS Junior Mains Answer Writing June-Sep 2019 Schedule (Click Here)


Syllabus: General Studies Essay Paper: Ethics         


A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.                                                                                                                – Dwight D. Eisenhower


The above statement “A people that values its privileges above its principle loses both” is a hidden and harsh truth of the society. Privileges are some advantages or special rights provided or inherited by someone and principles are the responsibility of individual or a society toward nature, humankind, or anything on and outside Earth.

Human beings are considered as the best creation of god, not for physical strength but for affection, sympathy, morality, social value, intelligence, consciousness etc. ‘Privileges’ and ‘principles’ both are essential for human life and the status of human life is shaped by the fact that who gets supremacy among these two key terms.

‘Privileges’ are transient matters in human life. It continues to change with the flow of time, whereas ‘Principles’ are quite long termed and largely effective in human life. In very simple terms ‘privilege’ means advantage to someone particular in any aspect. If advantage is equally distributed among all without any discrimination then it will lead fair competition but if it is given to someone special without caring principles the system may be corrupted and the person may be inappropriate for the position that can defame him/her as well as the system. Will it be effective for society if a dishonest person becomes a bureaucrat or a powerful person misuses his/her power?

Now the question comes that why we should give ‘principles’ more importance than ‘privileges’?

Privileges refer to the benefits or advantages which are often tempting. People often value privileges for the sake of an easy luxurious and comfortable life. Principles on the other hand are a matter of ethics and honesty and relates to good judgement and one’s code of conduct in life. It is a matter of principle that government should be of, by and for the people in a democracy. It’s a matter of principle that we are responsible for our own actions.

‘Principles’ form human character that is very much essential for human society. ‘Privileges’ are just needs of the time that may lead one to disaster at the end. ‘Privilege’ can kill one’s true potentials because if he/she gets advantages than others then he will not work hard or will not use his potentials. If earning a lot of money is one’s only intention and he/she does it even by the means of corruption then he/she should be ready for punishment because he/she cannot escape from the ambit of law. ‘Privileges’ may make a man greedy but ‘principles’ make an ideal man. If Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose would had valued his privileges of earning by accepting the prestigious post of civil servant in British India rather than caring of his principles to make India ‘free’ then perhaps India would have been still suffering the pain of colonisation.

In practical life it is often seen that a person who values his/her ‘privileges’ rather than his/her ‘principles’, looses both and in recent time the cases of Vijay Malya and Neerav Modi support this. They privileged ‘money’ more in their life than the principle of ‘trust’ in human society and as a consequence they have already lost reputation and are going to lose money soon. ‘Privileges’ often lead to criminalisation that can drive away one’s sleep whereas ‘principles’ can lead one to prestigious status in society in society and can provide him/her a peaceful sleep in night. Few days are not enough to form principles of life. To quote Smt. Sarada Devi, “Character formation is the principle intention of human life.”


Environment is the basics for human life on the earth. Nature is always addressed as “Mother Nature”. All the people of world have right or having privilege to use nature in positive way, like for breathing, farming, moving etc. But we have some responsibility also to protect them, because without them we are nothing. Hence, protecting nature should be one of the most prior principle of individuals. But what we are doing? we are exploiting the nature. Here are some recent facts, the number of Asiatic Elephant is decreasing day by day and it is expected that, they will become extinct by 2030. We are not fulfilling our responsibility to protect them, but utilizing our privilege to use Elephant as our vehicle, Circus element, and many more. If we lose them, we will lose one of the great part of our diversity. Then, our privilege also will be vanished because no elephant will be there to use hence principal also dies. Pollution via any reason is harming the equity. Like Burning cracker in Diwali, New Year, Christmas, Olympics, we considered it as our privilege. But we forget our responsibility to protect them. SC of India order to burn cracker for limited time, this was a great step to fulfil the principal of humankind toward nature. The deforestation and global warming are threats to our environment. recent instances of Tamilnadu water crisis, Kerala and Karnataka flood, Holds best examples for the above quote.

We can find above saying much relevance in today’s field of politics. Politicians are chosen as people’s representative, but they forget the basic principles of constitution, and give importance to privileges than principles. For instance recent Karnataka politics shows how much they are inclined towards privilege than principle. The scenario at international level is not much different. The recent  political turmoil of Srilanka,  and the defeat of Maldives  president who finally lost his privileges describes the true meaning of above saying.

Another Example is reservation for marginalized section of society. SC/ST caste are given privilege in every field of economy because they are considered as backward caste. Similar with minority community like Muslims, Sikhs in India. Government principle to uplift backward people is good, but in ground level those who need this reservation are lacking, and prosper people are misusing this. Like, the case of three sisters in Delhi, they died of Hunger, they all were under 12. Actually, they need reservation. Every prosper people should have a principle to protect and help others, but people are enjoying their privilege. Thus, backward and minority community get reservation, because we prosper and higher class people forget the principle to help backward people and are enjoying our privilege. The recent initiative by Government of India 10% reservation for economically poor section is obviously a good initiative unless implemented properly and the service reaches to really needed people.


If principles are valued over privileges, not only principle remains but privileges also follow. This can be best described by the life of M.K Gandhi. He is considered as the father of nation not only because he fought for our independence, but he relied upon the principles of ‘ahimsa’(nonviolence), ‘karma’(labour), ‘ekta’(integrity), ‘jan andolan’(mass movement) as means of independence. His intention was not only to make India free but also to make a great India where there will be no violence of order, where all people will live peacefully and will cooperate with each other, where there will be trust for each other and perhaps because of these idealistic principles he is still considered as the guide of our nation.

Privileges doesn’t mean only wealth, it is the value and respect you earn when you are alive and after your life. That is what M.K Gandhi earned. He earned immense love and respect from people which even continues till today. His photo is on Indian currency, he is worshipped as father of our nation, Swach Bharat Mission and MNREGA Schemes are the privileges he earned for his selfless service.

From the above examples we can clearly say that one should always place principles above privileges. Principles should be followed to save our mother earth, which is in very much danger now. Strict laws against corrupt people are need of the hour. It is each and everyone ‘s duty in the present world to teach young minds about importance of principles in life. They are the future of our country. Hence equipping them with the principles can bring changes in the society. Education system can play a very important role in building the future of India.  money is not the end, but is definitely the means to the end……… And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that counts; it’s the life in your years. ”Abraham Lincoln”.

In upcoming time we need to focus more on the ‘principles’ of human kind as India’s target is to be the major ‘soft power’ country because we believe that sweet word performs more than bullet. It should be the call of our heart that we should value ‘principles’ more than ‘privileges’. Principle or Responsibility cannot be taught or forced, but should be internal feeling, because this is the need of prosper and happy society. Otherwise, people will lose their privilege as well as principle which was their second priority and privilege as first.

“Those, whose wisdom has been rent away by this or that desire, go to other gods, following this or that ride, led by their own nature.”


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