Mahatma Gandhi – UPSC Ethics Thinkers

Seven Sins According to Gandhi

  1. Wealth Without Work
  2. Pleasure Without Conscience
  3. Knowledge Without Character
  4. Commerce (Business) Without Morality (Ethics)
  5. Science Without Humanity
  6. Religion Without Sacrifice
  7. Politics Without Principle
Respect of  Time and Good Leadership Quality: “Be quick, be brief, be gone!” Personal meetings with Gandhi were very short. However Gandhi made people feel as if they were the only person in the world that Gandhi would have liked to talk at that time
Ends Don’t justify means: Non-cooperation was one of the key political movements that Gandhi initiated. Gandhi aborted the movement saying a key tenet of the movement – non-violence, was violated. He believed that the end did not justify the means.


Analyse the views of Gandhiji on alcohol consumption. Do you personally think that consuming alcohol is immoral? Justify your answer. (200 Words)
Gandhiji, in his various movements such as NCM or CDM and in his various discourses, has expressed his view against consumption of alcohol. This is evident from his appeal to picket the Liquor shops at various instances. Such measures were taken to eradicate the evil of alcohol consumption which has many bad effects such as – health issues, family disharmony (because drunken husband would beat his wife and children), disharmony in society, etc.
Personally, I think Alcohol consumption is highly immoral. (Medical use of alcohol cannot be termed as consumption of alcohol.) Justification –
  1. There are many instances where alcohol consumption led to deviation from ethical life. For example in a recent court case in an incident of a celebrity after consuming alcohol and driving his car onto pavement led to death of innocent people. Traffic violations, domestic violence on women, rapes, misunderstanding in relationship, improper behaviour at gatherings, fighting etc. all show that consumption of alcohol leads to unethical life.
  2. However small might be the start of consumption, it leads to addiction.
  3. The notion/need of drinking shall be scrutinised (i.e. why people drink alcohol?) They do so, to release tension/to forget sadness, etc. which reflects that people have become so weak (and don’t have control on their own mind) to tackle life situations; and therefore take the support of alcohol. Other reason given is – “Socialization”. This reason is again reflects elitism/materialistic living, Again reflecting un-harmonious way of living.
  4. Bad message to your children
So alcohol consumption is an immoral act as it leads to violence and oppression and restricts other people right to live with dignity.


“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
With suitable examples, critically comment on the application of the meaning of the above quote in personal and professional life, especially in public administration. (200 Words)
This quotation by Mahatma Gandhi carries great significance in all spheres of life be it personal, professional or public. This essentially means that once if a person objects or passively resists then first people laugh implying that initially considered insignificant, ‘then they ridicule you’ implying to demean you, then fight you seeing your continued resistant and persistence and if successful till the end then you emerge victorious in your attempt.
In personal life: In personal life there might be some resistance to raise voice against domestic violence or dowry demand. But one must ensure to raise a voice to sow the seeds of a greater movement.
In professional life and pubic administration: In society and working of an administration there at times will be several malpractices operating. There are several mechanisms present to draw attention into these malpractices through RTI, PILs or even media to some extent. For an administrator too sometimes is pressurized by politicians and seniors to work illegally. In such a case he or she should remember the Gandhian ways and this quotation. He should peacefully resist and even if he does not win there is a chance of sowing seeds for the future. Several examples to quote are the whistle-blowers in the VYAPAM scam, Durga Shakti Nagpal revolt against the sand mafia.
This saying has great relevance and should be followed by all for a better society.


“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
Do you agree with this view? Critically comment. (200 Words)
Animals have always been the constant companion of human beings since the beginning of life on planet. The start of civilization started from the domestication of animals, and in the earlier times , people took good care of animals and consider them as part of their families. But increasingly with commercialization, man resorted to the exploitation of animals, sometimes even subjecting them to utmost cruelty.
In this context, the statement of mahatma Gandhi holds utmost importance. Animals can’t express themselves, can’t complain and can’t agitate for their rights. This result in unabated abuse of their rights
  1. Chicken are kept in narrow confinement, debeaking of them
  2. Buffaloes and cows are transported in open trucks without any provision of fodder or water
  3. Traditions like Jalikuttu, camel race where ox and camels are forced for public entertainment
  4. Captivity of elephants by temples and keeping them in chains.
Therefore, true moral progress can only be reflected by how much we care about fellow living beings. Though there are enabling legislations like prevention of cruelty against animal act, organizations like PETA etc., still the real welfare of animals would begin from removal of general public apathy. That would be the first step in achieving moral greatness of a nation


“Satyagraha seeks the ethics of responsibility. Terror owns the act of violence but disowns the responsibility for it.” Comment. (150 Words)
The ideological difference between satyagraha and terrorism makes them two broad different body of vehicles towards challenging oppressive power structure hence presents different dimension of responsibility.
The acts of violence are easy to perpetrate-
  1. it can be attempted on individual of small group basis
  2. consensus making is not sought after
  3. indifferent of the suffering of victims of violence
  4. final aim remains annihilation of present structure no reconciliation.
In such scenarios their umbilical cord is cut with masses so they justify violence as only available equipment and try to disown it via blaming present structure.
in contrast satyagraha offers non-violent, liberal, open ended approach such as
  1. it uses body as vehicle of truth and uses it to create compassion, besides offering dignity to indifference of terrorism.
  2. it is based on consensus making, lines of communication are always open, in fact whole theatre of political drama is being played.
In nutshell, its ideals offers it great of leverages to be accepted as genuine rights seeker of masses, both in eyes of power structure and masses itself.



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