– WHAT IS MORAL ACTION?
M. K. GANDHI
I. About the Author
Mahatma Gandhi, byname of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, (born October 2, 1869, Porbandar, India— died January 30, 1948, Delhi), Indian lawyer, politician, social activist, and writer who became the leader of the nationalist movement against the British rule of India. As such, he came to be considered the father of his country. Gandhi is internationally esteemed for his doctrine of nonviolent protest (satyagraha) to achieve political and social progress. Mahatma Gandhi was the leader of India’s non-violent independence movement against British rule and in South Africa who advocated for the civil rights of Indians. Gandhi studied law and organized boycotts against British institutions in peaceful forms of civil disobedience. He was killed by a fanatic in 1948.
IV. Question and Answers
1. In paragraph one, Gandhiji says that our conventional behavior is:
c. neither moral nor immoral
d. necessary e. unnecessary
Ans: – (c) neither moral nor immoral.
2. What is a non-moral action?
Ans: – Action which does not necessarily involve morality, but is born of prevailing conventions.
3. What is the difference between a mechanical act and an intentional act?
Ans: – If the action is done mechanically and does not spring from our own will, there is no moral content in the act. It is a mechanical act. Such action would be moral if we think it proper to act like a machine and do so since in doing so, we use our discrimination.
4. Give an example each for conventional behaviour and a moral act.
Ans: – Greeting everyone in the morning is conventional behaviour. It becomes a moral act when it is done with the intention of brightening up the lives of those people.
5. The first Paragraph discusses what is not a moral action. The second paragraph gives one important criterion to decide what constitutes a moral action. What is that criterion?
Ans: – A moral act must spring from our own will, from the use of our discrimination. This is the criterion.
6. When can the messenger’s act become a moral action?
Ans: – When the messenger, instead of mechanically delivering the order, does it because it is his duty to do so, it becomes a moral action.
7. When, according to Gandhi, can we regard ourselves to have stepped on to the moral road?
Ans: – When we all care only for what our conscience says, then alone can we be regarded to have stepped onto the moral road.
8. What is the belief that Gandhi talks of in paragraph 2?
Ans: – Gandhiji says that we cannot be truly moral if we do not believe and experience the belief that God within us, the God of all, is the ever-present witness to all our acts.
9. All good actions need not be moral acts. When does good action become a moral act? (Paragraph 3). Give an example
Ans: – Feeding poor people is an example of a good action. It is a moral act when the person, out of pity for the poor, feeds them.
10. In the example of feeding the poor, whose action is moral action?
Ans: – When a man, out of pity for the poor, feeds them, it is a moral act. When he does the same act with the motive of earning prestige, the action is no longer moral.
11. The result of our action determines whether our action is moral or non-moral (say whether the statement is True or False)
Ans: – False
12. Why does Gandhi say that Alexander’s conquests cannot be called moral actions?
Ans: – Alexander’s conquests cannot be called moral actions because the intention behind all of them was only power and renowned.
13. In each paragraph, Gandhiji adds one criterion to consider an action moral. What criterion is added in paragraph 4?
Ans: – Gandhiji says that an action is moral if it is done voluntarily and without compulsion or fear.
14. When does simple living become moral?
Ans: – Simple living becomes moral when the person, although wealthy, thinks of all the want and misery in the world about him and feels that he ought to live a plain, simple life and not one of ease and luxury.
15. When does an employee’s action of paying higher salaries to his employees remain non-moral?
Ans: – When the employer sympathizes with his employees or pays them higher wages lest they leave him, his action remains non-moral.
Ans: – When he quotes Shakespeare, Gandhiji wants to emphasize the point that any action, even one of showing love, done with a profit motive, ceases to be a moral action. Honesty should be resorted to, not because it dies the best policy of all, but because it is the right policy.
17. Gandhiji mentions the name of Henry Clay as an example of moral/ non-moral action. (Choose the right answer)
Ans: – Non-moral action.
18. What qualities of David Webster does Gandhiji mention?
Ans: – David Webster had great intellect and a wonderful sense of the heroic and the sublime.
19. What is the single mean act of Webster mentioned in paragraph 6?
Ans: – He once sold his intellectual’ integrity for a price.
20. Why is it difficult to judge the morality of a man’s action?
Ans: – It is difficult to judge the morality of a man’s action because we cannot penetrate the depths of his mind.
21. What arguments does Gandhiji give to justify that a moral act should be free from fear and compulsion?
Ans: – He says that there is no morality in a person’s act if he rises early out of the fear that, if he is late for his office, he may lose. His situation. Similarly, there is no morality in his living a simple and unpretentious life if he has not the means to live otherwise.