“Democracy”, Mr. Vajpayee emphasised, “was more a moral than just a constitutional or legal system. While constitution and law are important, the prestige of Parliament is its life-giving strength (Pranshakti) and this must be bolstered by observing morality and ethics”. (G.B.Pant Award for the best Parliamentarian of the year 1994; Times of India, Aug.18, 1994, p. 1)

“Does morality hold any value in this age of corruption and competition”, asked the army-retired bank manager, after his long quarrel with the TTE while I was travelling with him fromKanpurtoLucknow[1993]. Though he held a second class ticket, yet knowing that he should not travel in the second class sleeper coach, yet he boarded in my compartment atKanpurwith his family. And caught by the TTE, he first started in mere argument that everybody is travelling not minding about the rule. When the TTE, not yielding to his arguments, started to fine him, the Bank Officer began to quarrel with the TTE. Finally I had to interfere when the Bank Manager started to use unparliamentary words against TTE, even threatening to beat him with his chappel, if he (TTE) did not fine the rest of the passengers in the same compartment (I had my second class sleeper ticket).

Finally a compromise was reached, and only charging the actual rate, the TTE left the compartment. He could not collect the fine because already he had collected some fives and tens from the rest of the passengers. After a long gap of silence the Bank Officer and I entered into discussion, and in the course of our talk he asked this question.

Though I did not expect such a question from an educated man, that too a retired army officer, I said, “I know that the TTE is a corrupt fellow. We all know that we are living in a morally degraded society. But simply blaming the society for all its corruption, imagining as if we are not part of it, won’t solve this problem. My immediate concern to interfere in this matter was not to protect the TTE or to help him to uphold the law. My only concern was your two sons (12 and 10 years respectively). Anything your children are going to learn in this world is first from their parents. They may be very much influenced by the world as they are growing up, and the modern world is largely depriving them of the fellowship of their parents and elders. Yet still the first impression that they will get is from their parents. Now they have seen you using unparliamentary words, that too before their mother, and the way you threatened the TTE to beat him even with chapels, etc, would definitely make its own impression on their young minds. Now tell me what kind of morality would you expect from them as they grow up?”

The Bank Manager remained silent for a few minutes. After some thought he said, “No, I will bring them up in such a way that they will face their challenges and learn how to survive, rather than to think about MORALITY.” THIS INDEED SHOCKED ME; what about you?

What does MORAL actually mean?

I would like to hear practical answers rather than philosophical ideas.

Welcoming your reply,