[Ethics Case Studies] Moral and political attitudes

Syllabus mapping

Paper 4 | Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude | Moral and political attitudes


This initiative is a part of Target Mains programme for Mains 2017.

You can post your answers in the comment section. But mentor review of answers will not be available. Just like various other CD community initiatives, this will also be a peer-to-peer review exercise.

Model answers are available below in PDF format and can be used for personal evaluation.

Question 1:

You are living with one of your friend who is known to you since childhood. Your friend is actively involved in political debates, while you don’t have that much interest in politics. One day, he starts discussing with you on some topic but you continue to do your work without taking any interest in the discussion.

He gets angry and starts telling you that youth being silent on important issues is the biggest worry for the nation. He accuses you of being unpatriotic and anti-national. What is your opinion on your friend’s view?

Critically comment. Do you think nationalism should be judged on objective factors like taking part in debates and speaking for national issues?

Question 2:

Your family wants you to get married. The girl is your family friend for a long time. Everything is almost settled between the two families. When you go to meet the girl, you came to know that you both have a different political ideology. Your political thinking doesn’t match. You are a politically active person.

When you tell this thing to your family, your family asks you to ignore this as there are no other issues apart from this. They convince you that she is a suitable match for you. You are confused what to do.

What will you do in such a situation? Will you go ahead with the marriage or not? How can they keep their ideology and personal choices separate in case they get married?

Question 3:

Caste occupies distinct position in moulding the voting behaviour in India and this happens in spite of the adoption of several provisions which prohibits discrimination on the basis of caste.

The political parties in India formulate their policies and election strategies always keeping in mind the caste factor. Even the candidates are selected keeping the caste factor in mind. Election campaigns are made in such a way that it makes the voters to feel their respective caste identities.

How does caste determine political attitude and voting behavior of people? Do you think even after so many years of independence India has failed to segregate caste from politics? Critically comment.

Question 4:

In a democratic setup, election manifestos play an important role in influencing the voting behavior of people. However, before elections the political parties make big promises, they talk about changing the system, making it efficient, transparent and corruption free.

But when it comes to fulfilling those promises, they fail to abide by them.

Where does the lacuna lie in the above process? How can accountability be fixed on the political parties? Give suggestions to bring a coherency between elections manifestos promises and the fulfilling of those promises.

Question 5:

You are a MLA with a strong influence belonging to a party from last 20 years and are a supporter of its ideology since your college days. Your party is in opposition from last 10 years. The ideology of your political party is pole opposite to the party in power.

Recently elections are to be held in your state. However, the performance of the party you belong to has not been good in the last some years. It has been losing elections in almost all the states. It has lost 3 successive elections in your home state. The other National party has emerged as the winning party in 4 out of 5 states where elections were held recently. It is almost sure that the ruling party will win the upcoming elections in your state.

A large section of MLAs of your party have shifted to the other party as they are not sure that your party will perform well and the ruling party has offered lucrative offers to them in terms of money. The President of the ruling party comes to you one day and offers you a ticket from his party. He also offers you a big amount of money and assures you of a seat in the cabinet if the party comes to power which is almost sure seeing the recent trend as they have won in almost all states.

He threatens you of re-opening a scam which occurred during your tenure in the Department in which you were the Cabinet Minister in case you decline his offer. You were given a clean chit in the scam case by the Court as you played no role in it. When you tell your wife about it, she asks you to accept the offer of the ruling party as she doesn’t want any disturbances due to the scam case re-opening.

However, the ruling party is in contrast to your ideology. You have been a critic of it since the time you joined politics. You are known by the people in the area for your principles. You are confused now what to do?

What are the moral values that are at stake?

Will you accept the offer? Discuss the consequences of agreeing to and rejecting the proposal. What will you do?

Will you compromise on your principles and ideologies in the above case in order to contest elections, as once you get a cabinet seat you can continue with your present ideology?

Question 6:

India looses too many lives due to heavy floods and other natural disasters every year. In some areas flood situation is worsened due to high level of siltation and rising river bed. Poor maintenance and resultant failure of embankments and erosional activities are other contributing factors leading to recurrence of floods causing high magnitude of losses and damages. Also, floods are a result of yet another set of contributing factors such as inadequate urban drainage, poor maintenance of drains and improper land use planning.
In such a context, disaster risk reduction efforts to reduce flood losses require due attention to not only the direct causes but also the social milieu, economic diaspora, natural environment, ethical and cultural practices etc. These processes are complex in nature owing to historical background and the present processes of development and urbanization. Culture influences to a large extent affect the implementation of strategies and policies.
You have been appointed as a District Administrator tasked with disaster risk reduction in an area unknown to you in terms of cultural and traditional practices.

1. What are the actions do you think will be suitable for such areas and how are you going to deal with the situation? Justify your actions.
2. What are the ethical impediments you are likely to face in dealing with the people affected by floods?

Question 7:

You are a District Magistrate recently posted in a district where a three year old girl is allegedly sexually assaulted in her school. On the day of incidence, father picked up the children (4 year old baby boy with 3 year old girl) to home. The girl was quite silent all the way to home and as she reached home, she started crying in front of her mother. She was even resisting her mother from changing her school uniform. When forcefully asked she explained everything. The parents immediately took her to nearest hospital where, after hours of medical examination, the incidence of sexual assault is being confirmed.
When the victim and her four-year-old brother, who studies in the same school, were shown photos of male members of the school staff, both instantly pointed to the school watchman and said he was “the uncle who would buy them mithai (sweets)”. The police have now arrested the 30-year-old watchman as the prime suspect.
The next morning, a protest in front of the school by members of the Students’ Association went awry when a scuffle broke out after they were asked to disperse by the police. Many of them were injured, and one girl was detained by the police.
1. Identify the ethical issues involved and discuss what course of actions is available with you as a DM.
2. Do you think sexual education or awareness should be imparted to the school children even to the smaller kids? If yes, suggest the processes how it could be done?

Question 8:

Kavita works in a school. She is a teacher of English Language. Recently she was summoned by the principal who tried to sexually harass her. She somehow manages to leave his room. Kavita later finds out that there are other women in the school also who had been the victim of the principal. Kavita avoids the principal and responds to his summon. Later, the principal threatens her that if she raises any complaint she will lose her job. Kavita needs the job very badly because her present financial condition is not sound. She starts to live in fear.
In the above case do you think Kavita is under any moral obligation? What course of action should she take in such a situation?

Question 9:

An elderly couple has been living together from 50 years without being married to each other. The man is now 80 and the woman Devi is 70. Both fell in love with each other at a young age. But back then the man did not have enough money to marry his lady love.
Both took a decision not to marry but to stay together. The couple worked hard as daily wage labourers and started saving money. Eventually, the couple had three sons and two daughters. Everything was going fine with the family, and the couple was busy working and looking after the children.
They had almost forgotten that they were not married yet. Years passed, and then their children got married. Even they have children now, thus technically they are grandparents.
1. According to Hindu context, marriage is considered to be an institution in itself. Is it ethically wrong to stay together without marriage? Justify your arguments.
2. Is there anything wrong done by the couple for not marrying and staying together till the age of 80? Justify your arguments.

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