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With greater power comes greater responsibility


Power something which we all have dreamt of. It is something that lures us. But in our quest to gain power we all tend to overlook the responsibilities accompanied with the power, in fact they hardly comes to our mind when we think of power. There is no fixed definition for power it has different meaning for different individuals but the fact remains they wield influence over people by virtue of power, and hence the reason it lures us.

It is the lack of awareness or our tendency to look responsibility and power separately has created many problems by disturbing the order of society. Today the person in whom power is vested tends to enjoy all the power wielded in him but is not ready to accept the responsibility that comes with it. It is evident phenomena that no one comes to take responsibility of any wrong doing everybody tries to play a blame game especially in politics.

As all of us know the principle of proportionality, and we must know that power howsoever small or big comes with proportional responsibility as these two are complimentary to each other. History is full of facts to show us the disastrous effect of violation of this principle of proportionality be ancient history or modern times, every part of history teaches us to respect the principle of proportionality otherwise one has to face great repercussion.

This holds good in contemporary scenario. Sovereign state is all powerful and the welfare state like us is powerful not as privileged but because of the responsibilities vested. Because of our colonial past, impoverished state of our economy, leader of nation chose India to make a welfare state so that it could take care of its people and empower them so that they could develop their potential.

Necessity of power could be realised by the fact that the responsibility of security of nation is vested in government and hence there must be accompanied power so that state could take decision to do the same. On the flip side we also see that whereas power is vested is settled fact but when something goes wrong the power wielder does not recognise his responsibility. State needs to provide food, shelter, livelihood a peaceful environment maintained by law and order. The whole bunch of responsibility is cause of discretion to people who carry out this responsibility. Discretion, in fact, is source of power.

Things are good when everything is proportion but sadly as widely perceived phenomena especially in political area, we see the opposite.

In order to gain power some position does not hesitate to compromise public welfare and trust, maintenance of which is their responsibility. As a result criminalisation of politics and politicisation of criminals, nexus of corruption, crony capitalism are daily phenomena. Newspapers are full of descriptions of these acts. In endeavour to gain power political parties do not hesitate from spreading communal harted and let go the responsibility of maintaining law and order situation.

These are the most visible and criticised examples of not being able to value the principle of proportionality, there are many more examples to add, on each and every sphere be business, sports or entertainment industry. We have many examples of influential people getting clean chits, even after wrong doing, by virtue of power.

Where we see many examples of excessive power and low responsibility, we also have example of handicap and helplessness created by excessive responsibility and low power. The most evident example in almost every urban area is working of municipalities, where they are laden with so many responsibilities but there is not adequate power vested in them to have necessary funds and maintain its functionaries. The same is true in rural area where panchayat is handicapped by paucity of funds and functionaries and hence unable to fulfil its responsibilities.

We have several mechanisms in place to put the things in order as separation of power as envisaged in constitution checks the power vested in an institution and restrain it from exercising power arbitrarily, hence maintaining balance between power and responsibility. Likewise we have Lobbying Bodies, Public Pressure, Media, NGOs etc. to maintain the delicate balance.

As going by the saying "with great power comes great responsibility" we must prepare ourselves for the responsibilities that would fall upon us in our quest to gain power. We see that both ways the disturbance of balance is not good but situation of more power and less responsibility is more pronounced. So we must move toward a culture where we are taught to take on the responsibilities and executing them successfully.

-Sumita Sharma