The right to life also included the right to work without money earning the necessities of life cannot be obtained. The life of a person without occupation becomes difficult.
To the right of life is conjoined the duty of respect of life If everyone has the right to live, it is then his duty to help others in a similar endeavor or at least avoid becoming an obstacle to it The infringement of this duty can lead to the right of life being taken away. It is this reason that homicide is rewarded with a sentence of death. Thus man should augment his own life and the lives of others.
But it is to be recollected that this fundamental right of human beings was not recognized always. In ancient times infanticide was a common feature and widows were sometimes cremated alive.
In some country people of a different sect were murdered while at places prisoners of war were got rid of most expeditiously. The history of the human race is replete with tales of mass murder of defenseless people.
Even today millions of people are executed openly under the pretext of revolution or war. This is completely immoral. In the civilized society every person should have the right to live with distinctions of creed, color, race, physique etc.
2. Right to Freedom:
The right to freedom, succeeding the right to live is also very important. All moral activities are based on man’s free volition. It is impossible to conceive of morality or moral work without freedom.
Man’s freedom of will is one of the fundamental assumptions or postulates of ethics. For the attainment of the ultimate end, self improvement, the right to freedom is essential.
Any person cannot be reduced to being the means of another’s benefit. Every individual is himself an end. He is free to attain his objective. Nature gave him life as a free person. He is not the slave of anyone.
But as has been repeatedly said in various contexts in this book, man’s freedom does not mean absolute indeterminism, but rather control by the self. One cause of this is that the right to freedom is encumbered by the duty of desisting from becoming an obstacle in the freedom of others.
In an organized society individual and social interests do not conflict. Selfishness and selflessness are two aspects of the human self seeking. Uncontrolled misconduct results not from freedom but from servitude of the senses.
Freedom really means freedom of acting in regard to right actions. No one has the right to freedom of wrong actions.
3. Right of Property:
The right to freedom attaches with itself the right of property. The right of property is also essential for the right of life. Without wealth, it is impossible to fulfill even the conventional necessities of any person and property is only a form of wealth, tendency towards mastery over wealth is a natural tendency in man.
But it is to be remembered that the misuse of the right of property is an indication not of man’s nature but of a distortion of it. It is true that complete destruction of personal property involves many psychological difficulties, and to some extent, the right of property is even necessary for the development of personality.
But the right of property is attached to the duty of social welfare. Thus no man has the right to property to the limit of inconveniencing other members of society. Actually, property and social welfare are so intimately related that Gandhi and other thinkers have persisted in treating people of wealth as trustees of their wealth.
Thus the right of property will have to be taken in an extremely limited sense. Some thinkers do not even recognize any such right According to Plato no less, all people should be able to avail of equal means in an ideal republic and there should not be any right to personal property.
According to Aristotle, an ideal state should equip everyone with the right to make free use of wealth for the common good. Marx and Engels objected to the right to personal property.
Actually the capitalist system of today has become infested with so many defects that the idea of complete negation of personal property does not seem completely absurd.
But it faces many practical difficulties. The conception of the person as a trustee of wealth, the credit for which goes to Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo, presents a deviation which maintains the right of property but at the same time eliminates the defects of personal property.
It is required of an individual that he uses his property for the welfare of society. It hardly need be asserted that it is not wrong to deprive one of the rights of property if he infringes the duty of using his wealth for social welfare. It must be kept in view that social welfare includes the person’s interest because he is a part of society.
4. Right of Fulfillment of Contract:
The right of fulfillment of contract is conjoined to the right of property. Actually, this right of fulfillment of contract can have meaning only when the person has right over the means to the contract.
The major means among these is wealth. Thus, while on the one hand the right of property is essential for the right to fulfillment of contract, on the other the limits of the right of property apply also to the right of fulfillment of contract Along with the right of contract, it is the duty of the person to come to a just agreement which can be fulfilled.
In this way, no one has the right to agree neither to a sale of his wife and children nor to his own servitude. Thus the right of contract can be exercised in limited circumstances with extreme caution and reason.
5. Right of Education:
Second in importance only to the right of life is the right of education because it is only education which makes a man a rational being in the true sense of the term. Education is the most superior means of developing him from the animal level to the level of human beings.
From the moral view, it is incumbent upon every person to receive the best education suited to his abilities. Man’s moral objective of self improvement would prove elusive without education.
By developing his powers, education makes man capable of self realization. In society every person should get an opportunity to develop his mental and spiritual powers through education.