Sunday, December 14, 2014

With Great Power Comes great responsibility - Civil services mains 2014 Essay

It is said that Power means an ability to influence policies or decisions , different people have seen power differently , but most have according to their aspirations. Everyone wants power  because everyone wants to have a say in day to day affairs.
Lets take the Example of a Typical Indian Household 
:Who exercises power there? Most probably the eldest member of the family . He has the highest say in the affairs of the household. But young people sometimes become wary of this attitude and want to exercise power in the sense that they want to have a say in the affairs of the household , but the elders will make them quiet , saying that they were too immature to understand situations and that they wont be able to exercise power efficiently . That is maybe what happens in the infant stages of a democracy .

Now when we grow litter older , we are given more and more freedom . Then we can take some decisions but mostly with the advise of elders. At this stage we come closer to the power machinery of the household . We are constantly made aware of the RESPONSIBILITY that comes when we have the power , but we are more focused on power than responsibility. That is a transition stage when the balance of Power and Responsibility is the most important . 

Then we grow and become the head of the Family , we have greater domain of power but, at this stage we become aware of the Responsibilities automatically that come with the power , sometimes it is seen that People want to run away from responsibilities but they cannot because the Power once transferred is irrevocable . Then we Understand the situation of our parents and that they must always be under the Duty of responsibility . Now this is the responsibility for  which we  exercise power , We understand that Our elders took the decisions because they had to, because they had a sense of responsibility and it was for this responsibility they exercised power.

 Now we are free, we have power but not absolute power, but with a sense of responsibility .

Now this was according to the analogy of a family, but life consists of a much bigger family, the Society and the State.

Power  At the level of State & Society
Thus Power can also be exercised at these two levels.  The state & society as we see have some members who have more powers than others, that is that they have a greater say in formulating the policies of the society and state. Now 2 questions naturally come into the mind;

1.)Why do some people have more power than others? and the more important question -2.) WHAT IS THE SOURCE OF POWER?
Power is not infinite, it has a source , and traverses a definite pathway for the better functioning of Institutions .  Thus there must exist some source . Can we exercise power when we are alone? It is only when we come together as a family , as a society, as a state that we can exercise power . Thus the source of the power are the members ( of the family , the society or the state) who have given someone the authority to exercise power because practically it is impossible for everyone to exercise power in his own way, that would never lead to a collective goal , thus for a collective decision , the consent of everyone is necessary , but again it is most of the time impossible to have the consent of everyone , and members also understand that they wont be able to always give their consent thus they formally, or informally elect leaders . These leaders can be anyone , from  the head of a family to the head of a troop or a head of a Students' body or the head of a School or the Head of a State.
Now people having proclaimed their leaders signify that the leaders now have greater power i.e. they can frame the policies for the collective good of society and the nation. But now since the transfer of Power has happened , Responsibility comes automatically , Now , it will be out of this sense of responsibility that the Leaders have to exercise powers, but the responsibility is not somewhat that people will always tell , it has to be out of that sense of Duty that we accepted to Work for the Society and the Nation.
But as soon as that SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY is gone, the leader won't remain a leader anymore , he would loose the Legitimacy and the powers used will be only for his own petty purpose , society would loose trust in him and The powers would automatically be lost !!!!


Earlier it was thought that members or citizens transfer all of their powers to their leaders and thus are subject to these leaders , and that leaders exerted supreme control. The power was thought to be centrally located and members mere spectators. 
The people were subject to the Monarch, a responsible monarch was looked like the FATHER in a Family , the unquestionable leader . Now since people had no real power , the sense of responsibility was naturally absent.
But with the rise of Democratic principle and then Active participation of Civil society , and various Great Personalities and Thinkers like Aristotle, Hannah Arendt , Gandhi , Amartya Sen, and many more, the definition of power itself has changed, now power is looked as Freedom , as in Empowerment of the people so that people have a greater say in the affairs of society and State and they can Actively participate in the Processes and that  the ignorant minds can be inspired and they exercise the power.
Now a days we all are like that young children who want power , demand power and don't have an iota of Idea about responsibility , we question Institutions , Government policies and without knowing , Criticise them , that is not actual citizenship, State is not like a family when the Father is always seen as an ideal , leaders may become corrupt , they may loose their sense of responsibility and that we have to be careful about and Exercise Our POWER,  but the Power which we have now or are demanding would Require a Sense of Responsibility from Our Side as well.
                    Now it is for us to understand that when we are empowered , a basic responsibility also lies on our shoulders and then we should behave as responsible citizens for that power to continue.
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