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Essay, Paragraph or Speech on “Ends and Means” Complete Essay, Speech for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Ends and Means

 

Gandhiji was an exponent of the principle that the means were as important as the end. He asserted that if a good or lofty end was achieved through questionable or improper ‘means, it was not worth its achievement. He declared that in such cases, the accomplishment of the end would be only illusionary and transitory. The incorrect and immoral means adopted would finally nullify and neutralize the benefits which the end is intended to confer. The doctrine that the means should be as pure and noble as the end itself is advocated by all religions. In Mahabharata, the eldest of the Pandava brothers, Dharmaputra Yudhishtira, refused to utter a lie even though it was meant to serve as a means to conquer the evil forces. He was quite willing to abandon his claims to kingdom, that rightfully belonged to him, and live in the forest instead of using a lie as a means to winning the famous Kurukshetra battle and his kingdom. But today, most of the religious precepts are practiced by gross violations rather than by adherence to them. The modern approach appears to be that of gaining the end by hook or by crook. One is permitted either tacitly or explicitly to adopt whatever means one can in order to achieve the ends. The means may be legal or illegal, moral or immoral, provided one can get away with it. One is thus reminded of the ancient Spartan custom of allowing its youth to deliberately break the rules and go to their women stealthily, provided they do not get caught in the process. Only those who were caught, were punished and those who were able to make the getaway successfully remained unscathed.

The doctrine that the end justified the means, came to prominence extensively in international politics when Machiavelli incorporated it in his political philosophy during the middle ages. He advocated that national interest would justify all and any means which a country or nation might adopt to gain its political ends. Thus, coup de etat, political murders, double talks, deceptions and all other illegal and immoral acts were considered acceptable, provided they helped to gain the national ends and served national interest. The use of force and restoring to war was in due course declared an extension of the foreign policy of a State by Bismarck, the maker of modern Germany. In the earlier days, national interests were identified with the interests of the monarchs and the ruling class. With the advent of modern democracies, political parties and political leaders began to make full use of this doctrine. Initially it was applied by the party in power in the name of the nation or country. Later, the parties began applying the doctrine to get themselves voted to power. Thus, what was intended for political purposes, came to be followed in the social field and in individual relationship also. The application of the dictum that the end justifies the means has turned men into beasts. It has put an end to human values, noble ideals, chivalry, law and order and civilization.

In the name of liberty, equality and fraternity, the leaders of the revolution in France guillotined thousands of innocent men. Napoleon Bonaparte waged countless wars in the name of France and caused deaths of millions of men. During the twentieth century, Germany waged two world wars to enhance the glory of the fatherland. The October Revolution of 1917 saw the Communists in Russia systematically exterminating all their political opponents in an organized, methodical and calculated manner and establishing a one-party State. Japan invaded Manchuria, China and Korea and founded its colonies on the Asian mainland at the expense of the local population. Italy massacred the Ethiopians in violation of all international ethics and annexed their homeland. The German Nazis, led by Adolf Hitler and his lieutenants, practiced every kind of debauchery and deceit to capture power. The Allies, who guaranteed the four freedoms through the Atlantic Charter to the people of the world, dropped atom bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan and literally wiped out these cities along with millions of their inhabitants including women, children and aged people. In each one of these instances, the end was considered or proclaimed to be noble and most desirable from the nation’s or country’s point of view. Yet the means adopted were not merely questionable but highly detestable and most abhorrent.

It did not take long for the people at large to follow the doctrine which the statesmen have been adopting in international relations and the political parties have been practicing at the national or regional level. If the politicians are set on getting themselves elected or selected to a political office by any means whatsoever, the individual is also determined to earn money and become rich by adopting whatever methods that will serve the purpose. The children do not lag behind in following the examples set by’ their elders. On the other hand, each tries to outdo the other in his game. Thus, we find today bribery, corruption, sexual immorality, falsehood, violence, greed and permissiveness rampant everywhere in our society. It has extended to all fields—political, economic, social, educational, industrial, and commercial and so on. We talk and preach one thing and practice another. We break our promises, let down our friends, deceive those who trusted us with ease and nonchalance. Students do not hesitate to copy in the examinations and in several instances they use fake degrees and diplomas to gain the employment. In trade, adulteration is practiced as a previous fine art, in industry the quality is given the go-by and in business the trust and honesty are conspicuous by their total absence.

Thus, the practice of the doctrine that ends justify the means has left us clinging to the shadow while losing the substance. What is the aim of material prosperity? What is the object of the political power? What purpose can they serve? When people have become corrupt, when they have lost human values, and when there is no love, respect or affection among the members of the community, one realizes that all his efforts at seeking wealth and power at any cost has turned man against man, husband against wife and children against parents. Since man is basically a social animal, this new approach has gone against his basic nature. He is losing the social element and becoming animal, pure and simple, having science and technology at his disposal to play havoc with his species.

It is good to have money and power and the things that they can buy. But it is better, too, to check up then and there and make sure that we have not lost the thing that money and power cannot provide. “For what doth it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?” Money and power cannot guarantee health and happiness. Many of the wealthy people in the world today live in a perpetual state of mental anxiety and tension. They are afraid that their wealth could be snatched by the Government or by the gangsters. It is not wealth or glory but character that is man’s greatest asset. And a man of character will always seek noble ends by noble means. Value of any incident or happening depends on viewpoint and mental approach of the beholder. It is not possession but sacrifice that ultimately leads to ‘happiness’. The approach, that ends justify means, ignores that “Pleasures are like poppies seized, you seize the flower the bloom is shed.” The assertion that ends justify the means, can never justify themselves or lead to good results. The right end could only be achieved by the right means.

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