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With greater power comes greater responsibility


"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely". This statement enshrines the mindset of many people in our society. However, it may not stand true for all; some great men must have governed in a way which has driven our society since the contemporary times.

Power in simple terms, is the ability to influence others decisions or to impose decisions of oneself. This applies not just in terms of ends, actual results, but also means the thought processes that go into producing those ends. Power is more "freeing" rather corrupting; it allows one's true self to emerge. Handling power is more about the values cultivated before coming to power.

Power can be classified into different categories-

The physical power which comes with physical endurance of body. In any group of animals only the physically powerful member is regarded as the prominent decision making member and thus the well-being of whole group in tougher times especially against foreign elements lies greatly with the decisions made by that leader. In human society the difference between power with or without responsibility can be seen if we compare police and a gangster who use the power for different purposes. Mental power is the one which is possessed by intellectual and educated members of the society. A teacher with great knowledge and right attitude can create numerous scientists and contributors to the human race on the other hand Militant Groups like ISIS led by irresponsible leaders can generate plentiful mind washed enemies of the free world.

The power of oration has been a great strength of all times, it's the power of one's language. Speech can be harmonious or on the other hand can be full of hatred. Hence a responsible speaker is always bound to use words of peace and harmony. At last, Legal power, Power of law which gives limited or perhaps the enormous power to the ruler, subjected to the type of govt. whether democracy or autocracy. Any governing authority, whether a Sarpanch or a Prime Minister of a country, has power by law and responsibility of numerous number of people they are elected to serve at their levels. A higher in hierarchy than governments lies organizations like the U.N which has a wider scope of power and responsibilities. Any wrong decision from its end may lead to dire consequences to the harmony between countries.

On one side a President like Nelson Mandela who understood his responsibilities has served his nation well, on the contrary, Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe lacking understanding of responsibility has allegations of Human rights violation on a large scale in the country. However, if we retrospect there were many, who understood their responsibilies in true spirit and set inspirations for coming generations. Nelson Mandela and Jawaharlal Lal Nehru are two among them who got power after facing decades of discrimination and injustice. Their struggle paid them with an understanding of true responsibilities towards their nation. Mandela after coming to power accepted all Black and white as citizens without any discrimination and called for war against not only white imperialism but black imperialism as well. Also, Nehru never shied away from his responsibilities either as a parliamentarian or a legislator. His scientific temper is one of the reasons; India stood as democracy much after he left his job undone.

On the other side, there are many other who didn't understand their responsibilities, among them many were freedom fighters. Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe and Muammar Qadhafi, dictator of Libya are few of them. Their motives may have been right but the processes in their minds were either flawed or hazy. This resulted in increasing concentration of power, lack of viable opposition resulting into human rights violation and other adverse consequences on economy etc. Zimbabwe has become synonymous with hyperinflation while Libya has descended into near anarchy after Qadhafi's brutal killing. In this context names of Adolf Hitler, Napolean Bonaparte, and Ottoman Bismarck are worth mentioning. What distinguishes Gandhi from Hitler or Armies from terrorist groups is a sense of responsibility. Responsibility also, without power results in nothing. Thus power and responsibility require the support of each other in every walk of life.

In this regard, Fundamental duties enshrined in Indian constitution do offer some important takeaways. One of them is a need for a citizen to cultivate a scientific temper, humanism and a spirit of inquiry and reform. This could be applicable across nations, though to be internalised as a logical sequel to one's own self-realization rather than imposed from above.

-ANKUSH SHARMA