NEW DELHI: The India International Centre (IIC) organised a book discussion session on “The Moral Compass: Finding Balance and Purpose in an Imperfect World”, written by noted columnist and former bureaucrat Hardayal Singh.
The programme took place on 30 August at the India International Centre’s multipurpose hall. Speakers from various fields were invited to discuss. The session was moderated by Suhas Borker. Noted writer and public intellectual Gurcharan Das, former foreign secretary and president of IIC Shyam Saran, and former diplomat and former member of Rajya Sabha Pawan Varma joined the session with Hardyal Singh. In his introduction, Hardayal Singh said the “Moral Compass” is a collection of short stories and case studies, with an introduction by Gurcharan Das.
“The book is about the moral and ethical dilemma both at the home and office,” said Hardayal Singh, adding that there are two reasons behind writing the book—the first reason “is to share insights which I gained as a public servant and the second reason is to know why we all, including me, flounder while taking a good decision”.
“After studying various philosophies of the east and west, I understood that everyone should emphasise good conduct,” Hardayal Singh said. He further added that this book will provide material for debate and “each chapter of this book is anchored in a story, which we can value and respect”.
Gurcharan Das, while shedding light on the book, said “moral compass is about personal ‘dharma’”. “I enjoyed reading it. It has stories of moral dilemmas and these stories hold many ways how we decide.”
Shyam Saran, while interacting with the audience, said all the stories narrated in this book “show each one of us, to find our own moral compass.” He further explained to the public that people think diplomacy is about deceit, but according to his experience, it is not like that, “one of the most important qualities a diplomat should have is credibility”. Saran also recalled Mahatma Gandhi’s universal standard of governance.
Pawan Varma has written a blurb for the book. While discussing the book, Varma said: “This book will help to understand what could be right in different circumstances.” Later, thinkers discussed the “personal dharma” of a man and what is right and wrong in various circumstances.