Published: 22nd May 2021
E-Canteen Fundas: Is wearing a mask our duty or responsibility?
Pro tip: Be clear about what your duties are and commit to them. Be aware that it works both ways. With responsibility, take up more than your role demands and see the difference it makes
People are so irresponsible,’ complained Rinku. ‘No masks, no distancing.’
‘My father says it’s our duty as citizens to follow guidelines,’ said Rahul. ‘I’m confused — what exactly is my duty and what am I responsible for?’
‘Let’s see,’ said Rakesh. ‘Duty is a commitment, moral or legal — job, family, team, society, nation and so on. Simply put, duty demands that we work in the best interest of the team we’re part of. For example, your duty as students is to follow rules and bring glory to the college. You’re obliged to fulfill your duties and if you don’t, you could be penalised.’
‘And responsibility?’ asked Rahul.
‘Responsibility is how we undertake our duty,’ said Rakesh. ‘Responsibility, they say, is our ability to respond correctly. For instance, you could undertake complete responsibility for a college programme even though you are entrusted with a part of the duties — by bringing great energy, completing your tasks and helping out. Greater the responsibility, greater is your involvement, resulting in higher good for you and your team. Of course, you could also perform the same duties with zero responsibility.’
‘Can you explain some more, bhaiyya?’ asked Rinku.
‘Sure,’ said Rakesh. ‘Duty is ‘what’ is expected from you. Responsibility is ‘how’ you deliver it. Your duty as a student is a broad set of obligations to fulfill — and your full commitment is expected. However, despite the fact that all students are bound by the same duties, each one responds differently.’
‘But, bhaiyya, what if the unit I am part of treats me unfairly?’ asked Rinku. ‘Am I bound by my duty still?’
‘Good question,’ said Rakesh. ‘It’s only fair that it works both ways. Just as a student of the college has a duty towards the college, the college also has a duty towards the student. Many times, the duty of the member is demanded by the unit as an obligation. But if the unit does not fulfill its duties to its members in the same spirit, the commitment must be revisited.’
‘How can we handle our duties and responsibilities in a balanced manner, bhaiyya?’ said Rinku.
‘Clarity helps,’ said Rakesh. ‘If you know why you’re doing what you’re doing, the how will fall in place. It will help fulfill your duties and responsibilities correctly — not more, not less — in the right spirit and in a balanced manner.
‘Thanks, bhaiyya,’ said Rahul, ‘I think we now know why we need to be responsible and do our duties rather mindfully. Our lives depend on it!’