Introduction – Duty for its own sake – Different kinds of duties – One duty should not conflict with others – No sacrifice in doing one’s duty.
The word ‘duty’ is derived from the word ‘due’ which moans debt. Therefore duty is a thing which is due and must be paid by everyone. If anyone should fail in his duty, he will be discredited.
The first thing to be remembered in connection with duty is that the man who fails to do it, suffers more than the person to whom it is due. Hence it is for our ‘own sake that we have to do our duty.
Lord Nelson, the greatest of all English admirals, realised best the importance of duty. The signal that he gave to the fleet at Trafalgar was, “England expect every man to do his duty ” There was no word about glory, victory or honour, merely the call of duty. The meaning is quite clear. If a man performs his duty properly, he is sure to get honour and glory. But if he fails in duty he will get nothing. The strict performance of duty should be the end and aim of everyone.
Duties are of many kinds. We owe certain duties to ourselves. It is our first duty to be clean, healthy, pure, self-reliant and self-respecting.
Then we have certain duties to bur parents, like affec-tion reverence and obedience. We have, also duties to our teachers and fellow-students, our wives and children, our community and country and to humanity in general. These various duties are too well-known to be mentioned in detail here. Thus we see that our duties are like so many concentric circles. The smallest circle contain ourselves, the largest, encloses the whole of humanity.
We often hear such an expression as, ‘Conflict of duties’. Nothing can be more absured than this. Just as there can be no conflict’ between the interests of our body and the interests of our mind, so also there can be no real conflict between our various duties. The duty we owe to ourselves should be performed in such a way as to further the interests of our family. We must work for the advancement of our family, only in order to serve our community better. And the betterment of our community should only prepare the way to the development of our country. Finally, our patriotism should be only a means for the advancement of the general interests of humanity as a whole.
We often hear the term “Self-sacrifice” freely used. Whenever a person serves his country well, we say he has sacrificed much for the country. This a wrong notion. He has only performed his duty and nothing more. This view of duty properly understood, is bound to lead to healthy national life.
Duty is indeed the highest ideal that one can set before oneself. To reach that ideal should be the beginning and the end of all our attempts.
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