English Essay : HONESTY

S.N. Singh | March 19,2013 02:24 pm IST

Of all the virtues that have been considered good and righteous and accepted without any argument all over the world, honesty is the quality that stands for uprightness, integrity, trustworthiness, truthfulness, sincerity, frankness, freedom from deceit or fraud. Honesty is a divine gift that makes a person courageous, fearless, strong and righteous.

In all ages, be it Satyug or Tretayug or Dwaparyug or Kalyug , honesty has always had its own reward. The Upnishads say that the world was, is, and will be ruled by righteousness. And honesty always reigns supreme in all ages though I often hear some people say that in the Kalyug honesty has no utility and an honest person suffers and suffers. But they are in the wrong. If we are endowed with honesty we are always mentally and spiritually strong and fearless. In the Bhagavad-Gita Lord Krishna says: ‘ Sublimity, forbearance, forgiveness, fortitude, purity, bearing enmity to none, absence of ego—these are the marks of him who is born with the divine gifts.’ And honesty is the best policy which enables us to bear all other virtues.


They say that it is the honest people who have retained the world since it came into existence otherwise it might have perished much earlier. If we go into the depth of our classics , we find how fearlessly and selflessly our personages sacrificed their all for the sake of honesty. King Harishchandra who is even to-day described as the embodiment of truthfulness (honesty) sacrificed his whole kingdom and even his wife and son. He himself worked as a watchman (dome) at the cremation ghat on the bank of the Ganga in Kashi. Time, the strongest of all was running against him but he never deviated from the right path. However, the end of all the episodes came in ‘anand.’ We human beings have always been in quest of ‘anandha’ the ultimate destination. Dr Radhakrishnan says: ‘ We have different kinds of pleasures answering to the different levels of our existence, the vital pleasure, the sensuous, the mental and the intellectual, but the highest is anandha.’ Anandha (divine happiness) can be gained only by entertaining tender feelings like honesty.


‘Straightforwardness and honesty in the activities of one’s body, speech, and mind lead to an auspicious path.’ Says Tattvarthasutra. And an auspicious path gives us ‘ANAND’ that is the uncontroversial aim of all human beings. In this imperfect world we all have been trying to become perfect, though our being perfect gives us pleasure only when we find joy in our work. The Bhagavad-Gita says: ‘ They all attain perfection when they find joy in their work.’ We find joy in our work only when we are honest. Honesty in speech, honesty in duties, honesty in work and in works, honesty in justice, honesty in transactions, honesty in behaving with others, honesty in whatever we do and whatever we think and whatever contact we have with others can bring a big and beautiful change in our life. The great thing about honesty is that honesty makes us free and fearless. OSHO says: ‘ Anything which gives you freedom is right and anything which destroys your freedom is wrong.’ A dishonest person who is always contaminated by desire, covetousness, and wrath remains entangled in so many difficulties and complications that they lose all peace of mind. I have known some big men (‘big’ in the sense that they have amassed a lot of wealth by hooks or by crooks) who committed suicide after their ill-gotten money had been apparently and publicly blackened. Dishonesty works if one’s intention is wrong. A dishonest officer corrupts not only his own department but also other people who come in his contact, though later or sooner he has to suffer. ‘ When the High grows corrupt, it falls and becomes the Low; when the Low educates itself and aspires, it becomes the High,’ says Marie Corelli.


I well remember how our late Prime-Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru launched many projects for the welfare of the villagers. One of them was ( still exists in dilapidated condition) the introduction of Blocks governed by B.D.O.’s) Many big buildings were constructed and many good plans regarding the development of the villages were made. Millions of rupees were allocated. But the result was that the officers as well as the employees of the blocks developed their own lots. Even to-day so many departments have been there to develop the lots of the people but dishonesty is so much dominating that much less than is expected is implemented. They say that we do acts of dishonesty when we kill our conscience that always leads us to the honest and righteous path. In the holy Quran we know ‘ probity is a matter of conscience and religious duty.’ My greatest enemy is a guilty conscience. And my best friend is my clear conscience. If we act at the behest of our conscience, we shall not be deviated by dishonesty.


Exceptions are always there but there is hardly any field of life which dishonesty has not defiled. In the educational institutions they shirk teaching. Money, not education, has upper hand. In many departments money exchanges hands wrongly and dishonestly. If the Head of a country is dishonest, millions of the people are badly affected. All the projects for the welfare of the people end in naught. Much is promised but little is gained. The reason is that most of the officers become corrupt. They are not honest, nor are they loyal to their duties. They are so avaricious and so self-centred that they have to indulge themselves in dishonest activities. A dishonest person has no self-respect and no courage. He has to lead his life in fear. He has no moral courage. As he has no honesty, he is often looked upon with suspicion. His knowledge, his wisdom, his conduct, his speech, his behaviour are hardly considered right. Sometimes even the members of his family question his integrity. He has no liberation as his own conscience reminds him of his wrong doings. Tattavarthasutra says: ‘Right belief, right knowledge, right conduct—these together constitute the path of liberation.’ In the Vedas it is said that one should never admire the people who have amassed ill-gotten money. However great and magnificent palace a person has owned or however much wealth a person has amassed, he/she has no dignity and no importance in the society if he/she adopted wrong and dishonest ways in doing all this. His conscience prickles him all the time. M.K. Gandhiji says: ‘We can do nothing right, so long as we are not blessed with inner light. Without selfishness , how can there be fearlessness?’ And you can never have fearlessness, if dishonesty overpowers you.



S. N. Singh has taught English for more than 45 years.Facebook Profile...