Power Entails Responsibility

Introduction:- With greater power comes greater responsibility. We, as humans, have a natural instinct to be in a powerful position. From the times immemorial, there have been wars, fights and clashes between people only to be established as more powerful. More power means greater respect and obedience by others. To garner allegiance and support, people want to be powerful. What we forget is the fact that power is not a bed of roses.

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Power & Responsibility Go Hand in Hand:-

Even if it is, one shouldn’t forget that roses have thorns that prick. It comes with a price. This price is responsibility. One cannot just hold a position of power and do absolutely nothing. That is aborting the very purpose of that power. It is imperative for the one holding power to utilize it in a way that does justice to the position. Power is a tool for change. The right approach of utilizing power and giving value to the position one holds is to act for the welfare of society. There are massive responsibilities on a person having power. He or she should not sleep over it. One wrong move can change the fate of so many people.

Common Examples:-

A commanding officer in the Defence Forces has the responsibility of so many other soldiers working under his orders. One wrong order, during a stressful condition, can put their lives at stake. With that, it may also lead the security of the country to a questionable state. Similarly, a district magistrate has responsibility of an entire district. Not being ethical and honest in his conduct can make the whole district suffer the repercussions. In schools, teachers hold power over their pupils, especially when it comes to reaching them values and moulding their ideologies. Teachers can contribute to making their students aware and compassionate citizens.

Principle of Proportianality:

Various other officers that work together in the society for its proper functioning need to be alert and professional in conduct round the clock. A common man is allowed to be lazy, take leaves and make mistakes. But there is no scope for any such thing with an officer or with a person holding power. One mistake can lead to drastic effects. They need to be alert all the time. Any rushed decision and whimsical disposition can land so many lives in trouble. They cannot afford to be non serious and flippant in their approach. History is full of facts to show us the disastrous effect of violation of this principle of proportionality be it ancient history or modern times, every part of history teaches us to respect the principle of proportionality otherwise one has to face great repercussions.

The Criteria For Vesting Responsibility:-

The criterion for vesting responsibility in a person is definitely elaborate. It may be merit, skill or any other parameter important for the functioning of the office. But having the skill or merit to function and to actually function in the real world round the clock is not a piece of cake. It requires grit, courage, ability to face day to day problems, dynamic & practical  approach. More than that it requires a strong character. A character that is not lured by petty material benefits for short term selfish gains. A true officer is above vested interests and works for the country as a whole. He is against any sort of malpractice and antisocial and unlawful activities. In fact, he is an example for society. A true leader is a torchbearer.

Criminaization of Politics:-

Today, the criminalization of politics, corruption and other evils entering the powerful offices are not under the veil. As a result of criminalisation of politics and politicization of criminals, nexus of corruption, newspapers are full of descriptions of these acts. In endeavor to gain power political parties do not hesitate from spreading communal hatred for their vested interests and let go the responsibility of maintaining law and order situation. Common man, like pawns in chess are played by and they are the ones to suffer. Political power, when used irresponsibly can lead to events such as genocide, which still haunts humanity.

Power Corrupts Man:-

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Hence, absolute power leads to a hegemonic and an undemocratic control.  Moreover, greater responsibility with less power leads to handicaps and gaps in the system due to which the society fails to function efficiently. Vivekananda refers to this concept when he calls those people traitors who are well-educated but do not pay heed to the weaker sections of the society.

Recent Abuses of War:-

The right way to perceive power is to only use it for the welfare of the society. A personality as great as Nelson Mandela said that power was not against people, but against circumstances. The condition of countries like Afghanistan and Myanmar is in front of us. The abuse of power has created havoc there. The show of power between the current Russia Ukraine war is also very much evident.


We must follow the footsteps of people like Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and many more people who held power but were always close to their grassroots and fulfilled their purpose by striving for the welfare of people. Truth, justice and a strong, fearless character led them to do so much for people. History is abundant with examples of how irresponsible use of power can lead to doom and destruction. Having power inevitably means that there is a need to have a sense of responsibility while exercising it.


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