Religion, philosophy, people and even science have all contributed their own definitions of the word ‘Life’. The word by itself means different things to different people. Some perceive it as a burden, others as a journey and still more tolerate it as a mere existence. But no matter how people define ‘life’, the fact of the matter remains that everyone desires and has indeed the right to live.
There are several legal, moral and social provisions that expressly declare the ‘Right to Life’ for all human beings. These provisions emphasize the right of persons to live in dignity, to be able to satisfy one’s basic needs i.e. food, clothing and shelter as well as avail of secondary needs like health, education, etc. Provisions thus made insist on respecting one’s right to live according to his/her needs, wants and desires and that no one not even one’s self can end life. But today, society is witness to such a lack of respect of Life as a concept, thereby rendering it necessary to ensure such provisions be enforced. The appeal of life has plummeted to such levels that pro-life debates take centre stage in today’s media frenzy.
A question however needs to be asked, ‘Are these the provisions that give to us the ‘Right to Life’? or ‘Is it the fundamental right to live that requires such provisions to be made?’ Every individual has the right to live and taking deep interest in preserving and enhancing it is our DUTY. Life is the reason society exists and laws are made to protect society and thus LIFE! We often feel that Right to Life is associated with Article 21 of the Indian Constitution or The Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the like. But a deeper analysis will bring to light the fact that all laws are based on the premise that LIFE is to be protected. Consider perchance, The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 was enacted perhaps to control the flow of drugs in society but had drugs not affected the lives of people adversely would such a law been passed? The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 was indeed passed to prohibit the giving or taking of dowry…but in reality, it was passed to protect the life of the young bride often tortured by in-laws. Even offences like murder, public nuisance, bribery are considered so because they take away the right of a person to live in peace and harmony.
The concept of life cannot be restricted to human beings alone. It is much wider and covers all living beings including plants and animals. We have The Wildlife Protection Act and several other animal welfare legislations thus acknowledging the right of animals to live and enjoy the bounty of nature. Environmental laws exist because we recognize plants as living beings and ultimately the right of human beings to enjoy good and clean environment.
Life is beautiful. It involves experiences, triumphs and sorrows and it lies in our hands, how we choose to mould it. Let us make it our duty to spread a ‘Culture of Life’ rather than a ‘Culture of Just Living’.