In the previous episode we had witnessed yet another important point that Vidura highlights – A King or an administrator of a country or a state should always make sure that he is not burdening his people in terms of collecting taxes. Only such a king is considered to be a successful and a righteous king or administrator in this world. Care should be ensured that the honest taxpayers shouldn’t be burdened at all times. In due course of the last episode we discussed the practicality of this advice and what is happening in the current day scenario. Sadly we see that the common man gets burdened with more and more taxes and of different forms, mainly owing to the fact that corruption is becoming the order of the day!
Moreover on the taxpayers’ part, as responsible citizens of our respective countries, it is our bound duty to pay taxes that are due to our government. It is only the taxpayers’ money that is put to use for several public welfare projects and infrastructural spending by the government. If we, for any reason whatsoever fail to pay our tax dues, what basic right do we have to blame the government for not able to address our basic needs? Sadly today, many of us think that we should get everything for free! As I had mentioned this in one of our previous episodes, we should realize that nothing in this world could be obtained for free. Thus, it is bound upon us to declare our income sources correctly as per the standard and pay taxes accordingly.
But do we do this today? Sadly we see many so-called business people forging their incomes, diverting their funds through illegitimate means for their personal benefit and end up cheating the government and in turn the people of the nation too! I do not wish to take names of those people here, but of late we’ve been seeing this quite often. Thus, just because such people do not pay their dues properly to the government, the onus goes on the honest taxpayers. Hence, just because of few peoples’ blunder, the honest taxpayers are harassed more and more by the government to make up for the loss of money. This is where we say that the rich is getting richer and the poor is getting poorer! Here is where Vidura exactly advises administrators – They should know who are those people paying taxes correctly and those who try to loot and run away! Such people should be punished heavily and the government should recover the due money by any hook or crook means.
Hence this becomes a two-dimensional duty here – The taxpayers should be honest enough to declare all their sources of income and pay the tax dues accordingly. In turn, the government should also ensure that all its citizens act in compliance with the law of the land and thus pay their taxes correctly, failing which, the government should not shy away from punishing the criminals heavily. This would help the nation to flourish and real development would take place only then! If this happens perfectly, there would be no need for the government to harass the honest taxpayer with excessive taxes.
“Pushpam pushpam vichinveetha moolachedam na kaarayeth!
Maalaakaara ivaa raame na yathaa angaarakaaha!!”
Here again, Vidura explains and re-iterates the above point with another analogy. He compares this with a tree cutter. There can be two types of tree-cutters – For instance if we have some climbers and creeper plants that give rise to beautiful and sweet smelling flowers everyday, the first kind of tree cutter tries to maintain them by carefully cutting only the edges of their tender stems, so as to make them grow better. Here, the tree cutter doesn’t hurt the tree much. However, if there is a requirement of firewood or wood for other domestic purposes in a large scale, the second type of tree-cutter is employed. Here he has to demolish the tree completely and cut the stem into several pieces of wood logs. Thus we can see a clear demarcation here – In the first case, the tree cutter is going to employ small instruments such as scissors, knives, etc. to carefully cut only the branches of the tree for its better growth. But in the second case, the tree cutter is going to use a sharp axe or a chisel to cut open the entire tree into pieces. Thus the task here is the same – Tree cutting. But the methodology employed in both the cases is different. Similarly an administrator should also know how carefully he should extract taxes from his citizens. He should precisely receive taxes from the subjects (like in the first case of the tree cutter) , but not harass them and extract exorbitant amount of taxes from them (like in the second case of the tree cutter). Moreover, honest taxpayers should not be
Thus Vidura is explaining with excellent analogies here to emphasize the point that both the government and the people should co-operate with each other in terms of tax payments and improvement of the lifestyle of the citizens. Taxpayers should make sure that they are honest enough to pay their tax dues and in turn, the government of the day should make sure that they do not harass the taxpayers unnecessarily with truckloads of taxes. Thus, government officials are to take complete responsibility for every penny of the taxpayers’ money and it should be spent judiciously with minimal wastage. Law and order should be made stricter so that no government official keeps his hand on the public money in an illegal and illegitimate way for his own personal benefits. If such things are happening, punishment should be made severe and such people should immediately be thrown away from the responsibility.
Hence for today, let us think about it and as responsible citizens of our country and keeping in mind the development of our country in the positive direction, let us all pay our taxes correctly without any forging. Let us not get our country into a “Cache 21” situation wherein the rich only get richer and poor only get poorer! We cannot blame the government for its failures, if we are not willing to pay our dues correctly. Let us realize this important point and thus do the needful. We shall wait till tomorrow’s episode to witness Vidura’s next important explanation. He is going to explain that before we commence any action, we should make a thorough analysis of it. More explanations to follow! Stay tuned! 🙂