1. Values
  2. Value vs. Belief
  3. Classification of Values
  4. Human Values
    1. Role of Family
    2. Role of Society
    3. Role of Educational institutes
    4. Role of Teachers
    5. Role of education
    6. Value education: desirable?
  5. Private relations vs. Public Relations?
    1. Separation of Public & Private life?
    2. Family man = Responsible man?
    3. Inconsistencies in Public and Private life?
    4. State encroachment in Personal sphere?
    5. Personal Religion vs public duty?
  6. Case study: role of Cinema
  7. Case Study: Homosexual Opposition leader
  8. Descriptive Questions (200 words)

In the previous part (E1/P2), we looked at various theories of ethics. In this part, we look at the last portion of syllabus topic#1 viz. Human values, role of family-society-edu.insti. and ethics in public and private relations.


  • Values help as “Short hand” or “tools” of the theory. E.g. in a case study, every time you need not go back to xyz theory, IF you’re able to justify it on the grounds of non-violence, truth, compassion.
  • So, theory => Values => Daily life we follow the “Value” and not “theory”.
  • Deontological Ethics=> Karma Theory=> Value of “duty”.
  • Deontological Ethics=> Gandhism => Value of “Compassion for the Poor”.
  • Thus, Values make life meaningful, help in self-realization, underline our attitude-behavior-judgment.
Value vs. Belief: What’s the difference?
Belief If you believe in something, then you’ve that ‘value’. e.g. Democracy, tolerance
  • You believe in democracy => you vote, you goto mygov.in and give your suggestion to the government. All this shows your attitude. So values are ‘beneath’ the attitude ground.
  • Western societies are becoming less tolerant.
  • Recently a Muslim kid was arrested in USA because teacher mistook his clock as a bomb. Such things less likely in India, for we are more tolerant. So, “not doing” such mess, is reflection of our “tolerance” belief in our  attitude.
Classification of Values
Individual values Self-Development, creativity, liberty, survival
Social values Cooperation, Tolerance, Compassion, Empathy. These help you as a ‘social being’.
Environment Values
  • Non-vegetarianism, compassion towards animal
  • Harmonies living with your surroundings, “Chipko-movement” is example of Social+Environment values..
Organizational Values Public service (in Government and NGO), profit (in private company), Truth (Journalism)
Constitutional Values Fundamental rights, duties and DPSP. Creating scientific temperament, holding the honor of women and so on.

Human Values

  • Common to All humans. Love, truth, Compassion. Even Osama Bin Laden would love his children. So, merely by being a human being, at minimum you’ll have these values.
  • Examples: Universal human values, fundamental rights
  • They remain static. Never change with time or region (unlike environmental values or privacy- western world person would be more focused on them).
  • We gain human values through two ways
  • e.g. parents and teachers tell children not to lie or steal.
  • For this reason, Juveniles are given lesser punishment for their crime, because their socialization process is still incomplete, he doesn’t know what is right and what is wrong.
  • In this “socialization” process, different agents have different role to play- family, educational institute, society – that we’ll see in next part of the lecture.
Social control
  • Even after inculcating values through “socialization”,  there will be some deviants, who’ll lie or steal.
  • So, social control through reward and punishment mechanism, will inculcate the values. e.g.
  • social osctricization: of person who is habitual liar or thief and
  • social appreciation / acknowledgement: of person doing charitable things.

Human Values Role of Family, Society

Role of Family

  • If parents informally talk bad things about a particular caste or religion, if they knowingly violate traffic rules, child will imbibe the same.
  • If child raised in an authoritarian manner, he’ll show less concern for democratic values.
  • If a boy raised in an environment where girl child is treated as a second citizen, he’ll treat his wife in similar fashion and find nothing wrong in it.
  • If parents are meticulous about cleanliness in both private and public property, child will follow the same.
Type of family Value system acquired
Nuclear family
  • Individualism, responsibility, introvert.
  • Modernism: More amenable to inculcating new values / changes because young parents.
Joint family
  • patriarchal values, respect for the ‘authority’ but at the same time less respect for women or that women should not wear jeans/t-shirt and so on
  • Attitude of sharing- among siblings, cousins.
  • Conservatism: old people in the joint families would oppose.

Role of Society

  • Within society- neighbors, classmates peers, colleagues, media, movies, television
  • Conformity: What peers/colleagues are doing, person is forced to mimick the same.
  • If they’re smoking, he’ll smoke; if they’re living in nuclear families, he too will feel to separate from his joint family and so on.
  • If they’re participating in decoration of residential complex for Ganesh-festival or Navratri, he too will feel the moral obligation. Recall how Lokmanya Tilak used the Ganesh Utsav, to collect people and inculcate spirit of nationalism and pride among them.
  • Social control: reward and punishment, we already learned.
  • Tolerance: if you’re living in a building with people from variety of caste, religion and regional background, you develop tolerance.

Role of Educational institutes

  • Teachers and curriculum have profound impact on a person’s value system.
  • If child participates in sports: values of sportsmanship, team-spirit.
  • If college kid participate in college-festival to get stupid extra-curricular certificate for UPSC/CAT- he is learning leadership, cooperation, event management.
Role of Teachers
Aristotle He was the private tutor of Alexander the Great. He gave the doctrines of Moral and politics. When Alexander concurred empires, he never forced his culture/religion upon people in fervent /fanatical manner unlike the other kings.
Gopal Krishna Gokhle He was the political guru of Gandhi and in many ways he shaped the ideology and outlook of Gandhi towards India and life.
Modern day
  • If teacher is promoting his private coaching class during official class in the school, he is indirectly imparting materialistic values in students that education is a commodity that can be sold.
  • Corporal punishment: When same child goes to college, he’d think it is right to do ragging of juniors, when he becomes father, he’d think physical punishment is right way to discipline children; if he becomes a cop, he’d think custodial torture is justifiable to extract confession from criminal and so on.

Similarly, School environment also plays a role in the value system of a child e.g. child from Government school, vs. that from a boarding/convent school.

Role of education
Syllabus / Textbook Values Taught
World History: French revolution Liberté, égalité, fraternité   (liberty, equality, fraternity)
World History: Gandhi’s train to Pretoria Standing against injustice.
New NCERT Secularism and non-violence. Because according to its chapters no king ever invaded / killed / plundered India and every king patronized all types of religions.
Literature It helps us understand  human nature and prevalent social values of a given era.
Science Curiosity: that in turn makes a person ask questions against orthodoxy and bad practices in religion.

Content of the textbook plays important role in imparting value system

  • If a textbook has passage “papa is coming from office while mummy is cooking food and munni is helping mummy.”
  • While it sounds innocent, but its putting ‘gender-roles’ in the minds of children that men goto office and women are supposed to stay at home and cook food only.

Value education: desirable?

  • Should Government impart values to children through school education?
  • North Korean Government uses textbooks to poison the brains of children against South Korea and Western World.
  • Same way Pakistani textbooks pouring Anti-India venom.
  • Even within India, ruling party regime’s ideology would be poured in the textbook. For example,
  • 2008: In Kerala class 7 social science textbook contained a chapter with an imaginative interview between a headmaster and parents seeking admission. The boy carries a Christian name; the father is named Anwar Rashid and the mother Lakshmi Devi. The headmaster asks the father what religion should he fill in for the child in the required column to which the reply is: “Let him choose his religion when he grows up.”
  • Protests irrupted in Kerala, because people saw that chapter as a move by the Communist State Government to promote “atheism” among children.
  • So, IF Governments are misusing textbooks to impart their ideologies, should we ban value education in school textbooks? Ans. Nope, because then child will only learn facts but his holistic education will remain unfinished.
  • Solution: “Middle way” i.e. Textbooks should only impart Constitutional values -democracy, secularism and human values (truth, love, compassion). Other values should be avoided.
Other ways to impart social values among children-
Event Values imparted
Take them to old age homes Compassion, altruism
museums, cultural centres Tolerance, secularism
tree plantation, street cleaning Environmental protection
Yoga It internalizes your mind. Once your mind is focusing inward, you’ll have more clarity of thought.

Private relations vs. Public Relations?

What’s the difference?
Private relations Public relations
They’re Inherited with or without choice- example your parents, cousins, relatives; love marriage vs. arranged marriage. They too are inherited with or without choice.
Your private relations are confined to small number of people. Large number of people.
Even with imperfections and problems they’re relatively permanent. Not the case. e.g. disgruntled employee or customer may leave, without giving explanation or giving you chance to correct mistakes.
You begin private relations to get intimacy, loyalty, love, affection. You begin public relations to get respect, attention, power, authority and materialistic benefits.
In private relations, you usually involve with people sharing ‘similarity’ with you in value system. You will have to deal with people having completely different temperament from you.
  • Your duties are voluntary, self-imposed and informal. E.g. standing by your friends/loved ones in the good and bad times; providing good facilities to your children, raising them in responsible manner etc.
  • If you fail, still relationship may remain intact.
  • At the same time, they’re also defined by personnel laws / religious laws e.g. bigamy, property rights, maintenance of parents/wife/children.
  • Your duties externally imposed and formally mentioned in code/laws. E.g. All India civil service conduct rules, prevention of corruption
  • Failure to oblige usually ends the relationship/job/client.
Your actions are guided by internal control External control e.g. must behave in respectful manner in front of the boss / client.

Separation of Public & Private life?

  • If a person becomes bankrupt because of his lavish “private” lifestyle (Hedonism), then he is automatically ineligible from various constitutional / statutory “public” posts in India. Because if such financially distressed person is holding a public office, he is more likely to accept bribes and take decisions that will not lead to maximum benefit to maximum people. (Utilitarianism)
  • Thus, private life does have bearing on the public life of a person. We can’t look at them two as isolated compartments.
  • For the same reason, Judges have to ‘rescue’ themselves from the cases involving their relatives or friends.
  • President Clinton’s impeachment process was initiated because of his scandalous affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Family man = Responsible man?

Ethics in public & private life- US President

  • American/Christian society considers happy married family life auspicious. Therefore, you’ll find US Presidential candidates or State Governor candidates- always appearing in media with their wives and daughters, holding hands, sharing hugs and kisses, running parallel social media accounts. They do it to portray that “I’m a happy family man- I’m a good husband and a good father so, I can run the public office in a responsible manner, you should vote for me.”
  • In India, scenario is different- tell me the name of Manmohan Singh’s wife or Anandiben Patel’s husband!? We are not concerned much with private life of a public leader.
  • Bad private life doesn’t mean bad public life. There have been Kings, Prime Ministers and Presidents with ‘not good’ private life in their role as father, husbands, lovers and yet historians term them to be ‘good’ leaders in public life.
  • E.g. Mahatma Gandhi, the father of India vs. M.K.Gandhi, the father of Harilal.

Inconsistencies in Public and Private life?

  • Kesab Chandra Sen opposed child marriage but married his own underage daughter to Maharaja of Cooch Bihar. Consequently his followers abandoned him and founded Sadharan Brahmo Samaj (1878)
  • Thus, If there is inconsistency in the public life and private life of a person, it leads to disastrous outcomes.

State encroachment in Personal sphere?

  • It is held that the State should stay away from private life of an individual.
  • But it is the private life, from where most injustices begin such as domestic violence and malnutrition of girls in a family.
  • An officer starts drinking in his home to cope up with stress. Although he doesn’t come drunk in the office, still in long term alcoholism would  hurt his work-efficiency.
  • Field officers in revenue, police and forest department, are on duty for 24/7 basis. They can’t give sufficient time to wives and children, often leading to marital discord. The same stress from ‘personal life’ may reflect passively in their dealing with general public.
  • So, should the state begin monitoring the private life of its officers and ministers? Won’t it violate their “right to privacy”?

Personal Religion vs public duty?

  • Orthodox Christians consider contraceptive (birth control) drugs and abortion as sinful. So, what if he becomes a chemist or doctor? Should he run away from his duties?
  • Muslims consider Alcohol as sinful. What if a Muslim IAS officer is transferred to liquor-excise department of the state government? Should he refuse to take charge in the new department? Similar case for a devout Hindu IAS officer transferred to fisheries department?
  • These questions lead to UPSC syllabus topic #3: aptitude and foundation values of civil services- that we’ll learn in subsequent lectures.

Case study: role of Cinema

In 1950s , following criticism was made against movies:

  • poor wage earners can find better use of the money. (CM of Madras)
  • Sex and murder depicted in movies, is corrupting India’s youth and encouraging to repeat the same acts in real life. (Petition signed by 13,000 housewives).
  • Cinema responsible for high rate of failure among students. (Study by Calcutta University)

In this context, discuss your views about role of cinema as a social agent for value inculcation among the children and the youth. Do you think, above views justify stricter control by Censor board over the cinema?

Case Study: Homosexual Opposition leader

In 2008, the Malaysian authorities accused Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim of sodomizing an aide who worked for his opposition party. In 2012, Malaysian High court acquitted him, although media and critiques continued to cite some procedural lapses. Parallel to this, the Members of Malaysian parliament have come up with a demand for his removal/impeachment. Whether to accept such motion or not, is under the discretionary powers of Speaker. If you’re the Speaker of Malaysian “Lok Sabha” (Dewan Rakyat), would you accept such motion or not? Discuss the legal and ethical rationales behind your decision.

Descriptive Questions (200 words)

  • According to Confucius, “all human beings are fundamentally good in their nature, and if uncorrupted by external circumstances, their actions will be morally correct.” Discuss the role of family, society and educational institutes in this context.
  • According to Dostoevsky, “If God doesn’t exist, everything is permissible.” In this context, discuss the role of religion in ensuring moral behavior in the society.
  • Discuss the merits and demerits of using “Social osctricization” as a tool for ensuring moral behavior among people.
  • The way a person conducts their private life is an indication of how trustworthy they are in public life. Do you agree? Justify your stand.
Ethics Syllabus Kavan Limbasiya

First Pillar is Over.

This concludes Syllabus topic#1 Ethics and Human interface. Next time we’ll see “Attitude”. Visit Mrunal.org/Ethics for more study material on Ethics.