The Perfect Road Trip

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Is Honesty the Best Policy?




Remember how often we were told in younger days, ‘honesty is the best policy’. When we grew up things appeared to change much to our chagrin and reality was quite different. Every one appeared to be in a rush to make a quick buck and get rich overnight. Sometimes it makes us wonder that despite the rich cultural heritage we inherited, what happened to the value system.
Not a single day passes when we do not read a story of the scams, robbery, heist, crimes of passion and many more evils that make our stomach churn in the morning in case we happen to read the news or follow the same on the TV channels. Those who are supposed to be the leaders unfortunately are leading by the wrong examples for the lesser privileged to emulate. The cycle becomes vicious and the bigger the crime, the lesser is the possibility of proving it in the courts of justice.
Why is it that we cannot get our normal jobs done without greasing the palms of those who are supposed to be doing this as a routine work? I remember last year when I was in Hong Kong, I had gone to return my Metro rail pass as I was to come back to India the next day. About forty HKD and some small change were due to be refunded. I collected the forty dollars and left the window soon to see the girl from the counter waving at me. Ongoing back she smiled and handed me over the change which was a pleasant surprise as I was used to foregoing change at almost every place I visit and no one bothers to return the same in most places in India. In USA, even most of the stores refund the last cent after making the payment. Yet another instance, of the basic honesty was an experience in Switzerland.  I left my mobile phone by mistake in the train while leaving the Geneva railway station and soon realized my folly. I enquired at the railway station and was informed that I could go to Geneva airport where the train was to terminate. After 20 minutes I arrived there and was advised to meet the clerk at ‘The Lost Luggage ‘counter. After asking me a few questions the mobile was handed over to me and the delight was written all over. In Bangkok, I left my purse in the hotel room and even after a few hours the purse lay intact even though the room was cleaned.  
We do not have to see the Sensex soaring  to see the prosperity rising when the benefits of this are pocketed only by a few. The hard earned savings of many are wiped off in no time by a dishonest few. There is no domain which is untouched by the insatiable greed. There was a time when watching the sports and indulging in them was so much fun. Now, it is difficult to know whether the game that is being played has been fixed for monetary rewards for few and thus leaving the spectators at the mercy of the fixers.
We are born in the land of Lord Ram, Krishna, Gandhi, and many more that made supreme sacrifices.  Maharishi Dadhichi gave his body so that weapons could be made from them for the devas(gods) to win the war against asuras(demons). To this day, the highest gallantry award for the supreme sacrifice in a war, the Param Vir Chakra, uses Vajra the symbol of bones of Mahrishi Dadhichi.
 The rot seems to have set in very deep and unless each of us acts to keep our desires in check there does not appear to be an easy solution in sight. Value education does not find any place in today’s environment. Imagine a place where everyone gets enough to eat, a place to live, to make this a better world. The nature’s bounties do not differentiate between the rich and poor when it comes to sharing the sunshine, the cool breeze, flowing water.  Most of the ills will subside just by keeping a check on desires and greed. The greatest lesson in selfless service can be illustrated by bees who strive to collect honey no matter what may be the adversity.

Mother Teresa once said,
“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. 
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. 
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”



PS: Images Kind courtesy Google


92 comments:

  1. Agree Rahul! Somehow, the honest gene has now gone missing from Indians. As you rightly pointed out, we rarely come across honest acts in India. I have had similar good experiences in my stay abroad. People stand in queues; they are courteous; things function the way they are meant to. I also wonder if honesty is the best policy anymore!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We all cherish the moments of brush with honesty. Sadly, it is going out of fashion in our country:(

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  2. Very aptly pointed, Sir. Manipulating things has become some kind of a trend these days to help situations in our direction. Dishonesty is a deep rooted menace and unless steps are taken at the individual level, the situation is only going to get worse in the future. It is so sad to see our deep value system being ignored in this way. I happened to read this Mother Teresa quote just a few days back and since then, its become one of my favorites. So nice to read it again, fits in perfect.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Arti, good intentions and honesty are something any right thinking person would love:)

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  3. Looking at the perturbing situation today, it actually raises question to our upbringing and the childhood lessons.. India, the land of Gods has losing its dignity each day.. The desires have to be checked and this has to be done at personal level.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A matter of concern but to set our house in order at least we can try to be honest in our small way, Manjulika:)

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  4. Honesty is the best policy, if only to avoid remembering all the devious excuses! :) At most, we might lie by omission, especially if it will irrevocably hurt the other person.

    That's a beautiful quote. I am glad you got your phone back. How nice to keep the faith! I've experienced several such instances and that influences my belief in honesty. :-) Have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Small acts of kindness keep the faith alive Vidya:)

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  5. The rot always begins from the top.
    They say GANGOTRI has to be clean if GANGA has to be clean.
    If we hear of a scam running into thousands of crores,is it possible that the junior most employee didnt make money?
    We have hit the bottom.I am hoping and wshing for divine intervention to solve this country's problems

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree Mr Chowla that is why I said that a common man emulates what he sees people on top do. Unfortunately, the higher the monkeys climb the better they expose their posterior!!

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  6. ok maybe id doesn't pay off but honesty is still my best policy, at least I can still get along with myself
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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Francesca, I know I am in good company:)

      Delete
  7. I personally feel it is beyond repair. The best I can do is not falling in to this trap and making sure my loved ones don't. Really, I don't know from where I can start , there are too many things that are going wrong in the society, I feel sad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No easy solutions in sight but we can go on with our lives with our own acts of kindness if we can:)

      Delete
  8. There's a lot of erosion of values, no doubt. The situation is alarming too. Yet I think value education alone won't achieve anything. We need role models. Look at what our heroes and heroins are doing - Sreesanth, for example...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that the answer lies in looking inwards and not at others and what they are doing. It is not taking us very far:(

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  9. World is like that ! :(

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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True Izdiher, that is why we have more faith in young people like you:)

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  10. That`s life..
    It`s between you and God anyway, beautiful by Mother Theresa.

    Hope you have a good time!
    God bless You!:-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So agree with you Tania! It is finally between us and the god:)

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  12. Right Sir, we are dishonest to the core. Whenever someone asks what would I take back from US. I say, honesty. I don't lie much as I fear of getting caught and I can't handle the humiliation, like any common man. But now, my sense of being honest is changing. I don't want to lie because I prefer truth instead. Hope I can translate what I am trying to say.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Saru, I fully understand what you imply and every time I see the acts of honesty and kindness I wish these remain ingrained and make me strive to be a better individual, just like you would like to carry a bag of honesty with you:)

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  13. Honest and dishonest people exist in every country, though the ratio might vary. I have seen honest people in India and dishonest in other countries. Great soul Mother Theresa's quote is wonderful and we Indians follow it word to word. We know our political leaders are corrupt and unkind to us, but, we are kind to them anyway!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you Kusum. Unfortunately, the proportion of honest /dishonest is getting skewed with every passing day in India. There is no doubt all kinds of people exist in all parts of the world:)

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  15. I think Mother Teresa was write... Be true to yourself, and be honest - even if others aren't. I do agree though, with corruption on a big scale at high levels of politics in some countries, it's no wonder people lose their grip on honesty...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very true Lady Fi! Corruption in high places results in loosing faith:(

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  16. "Value education does not find any place in today’s environment. "--
    So true, sad to say! People are so dishonest. It is really sad what our nation has become—a cesspool of iniquity, manipulation and deception....
    Mother Teresa's quote is very beautiful...inspiring! Lovely write up, as always, Rahul.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Panchali, your words of wisdom mean so much! Sad indeed that we have come to this pass. Hope we will see light at the end of the dark tunnel:)

      Delete
  17. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

    How true there are all kinds of people all around and we just have to be ourselves, cheating from anyone is possible but how will we face ourselves its difficult and for fear of that lets be good always :D

    Very thoughtful and nice post Rahul sir :D
    (But then ;) I still faught with you ) :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Being happy is the key, as you so rightly said Ramya:) What is disturbing that many finding happiness now by cheating and using dishonest means. Something seriously wrong:( Hope your fight did not go in vain:)

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  18. Great thought Sir.. I wish all Indians could think like that... Unfortunately in our society, Honesty is indeed the best policy, as long as people surrounding us are honest... Otherwise too much of honestly is definitely harmful these days...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with this comment.

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    2. Thanks Radhika! So nice to see you back :) Being honest is different from being taken on a ride and taken as dumb by others!

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    3. Welcome to my blog Seb! Hope you would agree with my comment above too:)

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  19. Rahul this is a very thought provoking post. It is really unfortunate that our country is seeped in dishonesty. The situation has worsened because of corruption at higher levels. It trickles down to the masses. It is only a thin minority who feel concerned about it. Did you see 'Satya Mev Jayete", which was televised last year. It was an eye opener.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I saw most of the episodes of 'Satyamev Jayete' last year. A very honest endeavor to bring forth issues that ail the society!Looks like it did not make any perceptible changein attitudes:( Thanks Ushaji!

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  20. I didn't know the details of the Param Vir Chakra. Thank you!

    Yes, we have to face corruption in every step...even women clerks don't mind taking bribe for moving papers in govt. offices, my husband says. Everybody is used to it.

    Why are we like this? It was good to read that good people are still there in other places, Rahulji! Here, the ratio is very less...it is not that we don't have sincere people.

    "Value education does not find any place in today’s environment." This is the main reason our children are running away to other countries! And they don't like to come back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So unfortunate, Sandhya that corruption has affected everyone!There are some honest peole here too... but their voices go unheard:( It is said that those who have tasted the milk of Kamdhenu, do not wish to taste the milk of ordinary cow.( In reference to children who migrate to other countries)

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  21. I cannot recall moments of honesty in SA like you have experienced in a really long time, its good to hear that they are people out there who still hold such high and trustworthy values. I think if we began with leaders that were honest and not corrupt, they could perhaps influence the rest of the masses, but without that foundation, we are truly lost. I am sure you heard about the recent scandal between India and SA with our government and the Gupta family, would really like to hear your thoughts on that.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot Sam for your views and it is nice to see you resonate my thoughts:) BTW the Gupta wedding episode was a blot on the persons who used deceit to get go ahead from SA officals by 'name dropping'! Hope the authorities give them a taste of their medicine

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    2. Thanks for your opinions, I think authorities will be turning a blind eye to this with the president so closely involved.

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  22. Thoughtful post Rahul . Talk about honesty and today's india will reply 'how much should we pay for that ? ' I loved ur reply to one of the comments about looking inwards . Great thoughts there

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    Replies
    1. Am sure you must be happy in not facing such issues of basic honesty living in Singapore, Jaishree:) Thanks a lot for those kind words!

      Delete
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  24. hmm.. I think its more of a individual thing these days..
    System is complicated!!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Yeah agree Ramya, it is an individual thing and what one's heart and mind tells:)Sytem will always remain complicated

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  27. Things have gone so worse that inculcating the morals to kids in school is of no use. Everyone is trying to become manipulative. And in this struggle to show who is superior, honesty has lost its value long back. I am not sure if we can change the system as a whole..it is each and every individual's basic responsibility.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can understand your predicament Latha being a mother of young child. Still I feel what Mother Teresa said makes a lot of sense even in this mad mad world:) Am sure you can see the qualitative difference in life from where you are to where you were when it comes to honesty in day to day life:)

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  29. yes Thoughtful post Rahulji..sorry i could not drop in for some time..best:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Delighted to see you back Ramesh:) Thanks a lot ! Look forward to see you here more often:)

      Delete
  30. I didn't know the bit about vajra and Maharishi Dadichi - thanks for sharing! Very interesting post, Rahulji.I mean it - honestly!

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    1. Thanks a lot Ash for your nice comment! Nice to see you back after a while:)

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  32. Your post resonates with so many Indians-we do hate dishonesty.But why have we turned out as a dishonest nation?It really beats me.So many times it is seen that the poor are more honest than the rich.

    ReplyDelete
  33. You said it Indu! Everywhere in India I have found people at the bottom of the pryramid are far more honest than others! Sigh! an irony!

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  35. Though we teach our kids to be honest, I wonder if it holds true in today's scenarios where your being honest and truthful is mistaken as being dumb. In fact dishonesty or being able to lie, is given the terminology of 'being street smart'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shilpa, we have to decide what is best for us! Let others not decide or influence in our decision making:) You have a valid point though , but 'street smart' does not take one very far!

      Delete
  36. Honesty comes from within. It can be taught and imbibed in the minds of people, but ultimately it is in their hands to behave honestly. In most of the countries outside India, the shop assistants give us the change including the smallest denominations. In India, for instance, while travelling in bus, the conductor not only gives the exact change back, but also humiliate us by saying "cant you wait", or "are you going to build a fort using this money" etc. The attitude has deep grown in the minds, which is difficult to change unless there is some miracle, or unless they change by themselves :D

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    1. A huge thanks for following my blog and that lovely example you quoted Anu!We are lacking on many indicies in human values by global standards and honesty is definitely one of them:(

      Delete
  37. It is - for it reinforces the belief in humanity. But honesty is a rare commodity these days. We have people fighting against each other for something thats not theres!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Bindu! It may be rare to see honesty but still you will find it in abundance in poorest of the poor and reduces in logarithmatic proportion as one goes up the pyramid:(

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  38. I agree with you Rahul wholeheartedly. The rot has gone so deep and we are all a part of it. The basic honesty and good will in our lives is lost.

    -Jas

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome to my blog Jas and though we may not like , what you said is true:) I however feel that the new generation can usher in a change by standing firm and not being swayed by what they see their elders doing at least in this regard!

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  39. Great post Rahul. The rot has set so deep that its roots have spread its vicious tentacles everywhere and has affected all spheres of our lives. Honesty is pretty rare and and honest person becomes a treasured gem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is it not so unfortunate that basic honesty has become somethinng so scarce, Rachna:(

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  43. Thoughtful write up. And the question that you've asked: Is honesty best policy? is indeed a big question.

    Honesty is something that lies within, you can't buy it.

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    1. Agree with what you say Shreya|:) Thanks!

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  44. Nice post, Rahul. Thank you for sharing.

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  46. Hello, thanks to that guest post you wrote on Ramya's blog, that I came across your blog...:) Happy to be a subscriber to your blog...:)

    About the post, no idea about the param vir chakra and Maharishi Dadhichi, that was very informative...:) A thought provoking one, reminds us to ask some tough questions to ourselves. I would like to mention Chanakya's quote here, "Don't be too honest, straight trees are cut first." I agree with all the points you have mentioned and it is just left to us how we want to follow and more importantly, the value system....:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot Prashanth and am grateful to you for following my blog! Could not reply as was traveling! Yes what you quoted about Chanakya is true and could not agree more:)

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  47. It pains to see hard earned money being snatched away by people who want to make a quick buck. I believe in Karma. I believe in being true to oneself. God would take care of the rest.

    About your experiences, I think that has got to do with the fact that there are more people below the poverty line in our country, when compared to the other countries. So the lifestyle is very different for different people and hence the need to make a quick buck. Which is of course bad !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ashwini, I too believe in the theory of karma ! I too have traveled a bit across country and feel sad to say that honesty is far more prevalent in people who are below poverty lines compared to those who are better off:(

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