Society Sans Loyalty

Saturday, 23 January 2021



Society Sans Loyalty

Swapnil Bharali | October 04, 2020 13:00 hrs

On the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, I feel it pertinent to recall Chapter 50 titled “Two Passions” from his autobiography, “My Experiments with Truth.”

Further apt would be to mention a few lines from the chapter which I am quoting verbatim: “Hardly ever have I known anybody to cherish such loyalty as I did to the British Constitution. I can see now that my love of truth was at the root of this loyalty. It has never been possible for me to simulate loyalty or, for that matter, any other virtue.... Never in my life did I exploit this loyalty, never did I seek to gain a selfish end by its means. It was for me more in the nature of an obligation, and I rendered it without expecting a reward.”

For all his virtues that can be chapters of learning for us, loyalty to his convictions and unwavering beliefs is what may perhaps be the most crucial lesson today. For long since the country has fragmented into fiefdoms of many (not all) corrupt politicians, politics and political patterns have often seen a complete departure from the virtue of loyalty. The momentary suitability and chancy convenience has taken over such that defections, horse-trading, unholy alliances, ideological enemies etc have become words of common parlance. 

Various conversations lead me to understand that the sad situation has trickled down to the grassroots of Assamese society and the politics of appeasement has played a big hand in this. 

Successive governments have distributed sops and freebies spoiling the society to the extent that a large section of employers have almost begun to feel obliged to be employing people and these same employees demonstrate no sense of loyalty either at work or towards the organization or people that provide them their salaries; and advances when required. From the driver to the office peon to the police constable and all else, the lure of the lucre lies in the freebies distributed in the villages; working hard and loyally hardly seems to be visible any more.

As Gandhiji had said, loyalty is neither to be exploited nor a selfish end sought by its means. 

Loyalty, especially to those who deserve it – be it a person or an ideological belief - is an obligation and it brings its own rewards. In fact, the elements conspire eventually to reward a loyal person and such rewards are God-given.

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