In my role as a consultant, I was once led to write the code of ethics of a company. It was

Avinash Ramessur

for sure an enriching experience but one which left me pondering for days on the meaning of ethics and how to define it. The Internet is sometimes a good friend to alleviate ignorance and I stumbled upon the following:

« Ethics is about doing the right thing at all times even if no one is looking »

So in the midst of all the noise and the competition to offer a defence that has lowered the dignity level of the country day by day, and I guess the dignity of the persons who did so though it did not seem that they cared, the following questions are worth asking:

– Did it feel right to take ownership of that credit card firstly?

– Did it feel right to use it?

– Did putting one’s interests before those of the country feel right?

– Did it feel right in participating to lower the decorum of the country?

– Did it feel right to contribute in demolishing the national goodwill created by the independence celebrations?

– Did it feel right to display petty behaviour in front of the youngsters of this country by going low?

If a “no” is given to any of these questions, then something somewhere was not correct and that should have been enough to understand since long that it was not possible to continue holding the highest ranking office of the country.

Statesmanship requires one, just like Caesar’s wife, to be above suspicion. Sadly though, statesmanship is no more a common element worldwide and is suffering from severe drought in our country.

One of my ex-bosses, a supreme mediocre being who exudes pettiness through all his pores, used to boast that “the cemetery is full of invaluable persons”. My answer used to be that though their human flesh have died, the writings of these invaluable persons are thankfully timeless and serve to guide us in hours of darkness.

Therefore, reflecting on the past days, which did not bode well for our country and where dark forces were vigorously at work, I believe it useful to quote a magnificent human being who has already departed to other abodes. He visited

us in 2006 and I initially strongly believed the previous-to-be incumbent of the president’s office would have emulated him. Alas, not every country is blessed enough to have such greatness in its sons and daughters

‘ We need a carrier of eternal goodness and wholesomeness in human conduct, which is called ‘righteousness’. As we say in India:

‘Where there is righteousness in the heart

There is beauty in the character.

When there is beauty in the character,

There is harmony in the home.

When there is harmony in the home,

There is order in the nation.

When there is order in the nation,

There is peace in the world.’

[Speech of A. P. J. Abdul Kalam at the European Parliament, 25 April 2007]

Madam President, you have failed not because of the petty matters under discussion here and there – they are damning in their own rights – but because of the lack of righteousness of your behaviour. I do admit that others have been shameless too but they do not hold the title of head of state and they do not have the ultimate responsibility of being the moral compass of our country.

Therefore all this was not conducive to harmony in our country and in these circumstances, in my humble capacity, I believe that it is indeed very fortunate that you finally did the right thing, which was to go high and leave office!