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“Sacrifice” – a foul word that drives good people out of India

Was Bill Gates asked by his parents to sacrifice for America? Surely not!

He was expected and encouraged to become the best he could be. Thereafter, now that he is rich, he can contribute to whatever cause he wants to.

None of this could have been achieved by hobbling his own mind for the "sake of" his "country".

THAT is the model we want in India – to make it a land of opportunity where “tall poppies” are welcomed. Not cut down and asked to “sacrifice” for others.

The moment I hear someone say: “We must sacrifice for India” I know he is a collectivist who – in his fits of delusion – imagines that he somehow owns me and therefore I owe him something beyond what I am paid. India’s “leaders” too keep telling us that we owe India more than the taxes we pay.

This is dangerous nonsense. It implies that Indians exist for the sake of India. That’s the worst anti-liberty message anyone can give. It is a potent indicator of collectivism, that we owe any “country” more than taxes. The country is made up of people like us, and we are the reason why the country exists. To protect our life and liberty we create a country. Else we are nothing but slaves.

Taxes we pay for OUR convenience – to get defence, police and justice. Or some roads. Having paid our taxes we owe the country NOTHING.

Even the soldier defending India's borders must do so because he wants to defend India, and chooses this profession. As a professional he must excel and become the best soldier he can be. In doing so soldier is not expected to "sacrifice" for us by serving us for a pittance. We must reward him handsomely (through taxes collected from us for this purpose).


If you want to do something then that is never a sacrifice, anyway. For that's what you WANT to do.

But if you don’t want to do something then accepting anyone's direction that you must “sacrifice” for "India" is the same as accepting slavery.

Do not be a slave. Never succumb to coercion.

Let everyone in India aspire for the moon. Aim to be the richest, best, most heroic he can be. And pay taxes – the ONLY amount that is due to the country.

India will benefit most from such an approach, not from asking its best people to "sacrifice".

If India refuses to pay its best talent the rewards achievable anywhere else in the world, then such talent will NOT return to India – and should NOT return to India. At least America or Australia allows India's best to achieve their potential. Hundreds of IITians and Indian doctors work in Melbourne and thousands more do so across the world. In doing so they are contributing to the progress of OTHER nations – nations that don't expect them to "SACRIFICE". That's the natural outcome when you ask people to sacrifice. They flee.

India’s best people will FLEE if socialists want to loot their talent.

Let us abolish this word "sacrifice" from our dictionary. No sacrifice please. We must learn to PAY for what we want. Let's never ask for subsidies nor expect to pay cheaply for talented people whose service we want in India. Only then will India become a land of opportunity, and our best talent will start returning to India.

ALL WEALTH IS PRODUCED FROM THE MIND. By asking for sacrifice, we are merely driving away our best minds.

Instead of asking for sacrifice, let's encourage everyone to become Bill Gates. They will then produce thousands of jobs and pay taxes, rewarding the country like no "sacrificing" person can ever do.

In sum: produce WEALTH. Admire achievement. Detest "sacrifice".

Sanjeev Sabhlok

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8 thoughts on ““Sacrifice” – a foul word that drives good people out of India
  1. Harsh Vora

    Sanjeev, I largely agree with what you have said here. There is, however, another perspective through which the word “sacrifice” is used. Remember, a country does not just include the government. It also includes culture and traditions which bind the community (which is, of course, a sum total of individuals) together. When people like Vivekananda used the word ‘sacrifice’ they used it in the sense of doing good for other people. In the process of promoting goodness out of love and compassion for the downtrodden, one has to sacrifice. This sacrifice can be in the form of losing one’s comfort zone, family life, money, etc, etc.

    For example, Arvind Kejriwal has plunged into politics not because he thinks he’ll derive any personal benefit out of it. Yes, he’ll get satisfaction if India becomes less corrupt, but at the moment, he is only trying — “sacrificing” the comfort zone, peace of mind, and other pursuits which could have been FAR more fulfilling than plunging into politics. Similarly, Khudiram Bose “sacrificed” his life at the tender age of only 18 years for preserving our freedom. Instead, he could have chosen to work comfortably as a bureaucrat under the British rule – like many Indians chose to.

    I hope you get my point. Yes, I agree we must not work for free, nor should we expect ANYONE to work for free in the government. It has worked aginst India to expect our politicians to “sacrifice” for the welfare of the poor. The system of sacrifice doesn’t work in politics. We must pay the politicians well, else no one would want to become a minister. However, it only depends on how and where we use the word. Even to ensure BASIC freedoms, revolutionaries have had to “sacrifice” their life, blood, family relationships, etc. for the our betterment. In other words, they sacrificed “present state of comfort” for a “future state of freedom” that they valued more and that they didn’t live to enjoy themselves.

  2. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Harsh

    A few thoughts:

    a) The best way to do good for others is to do good for oneself. Become a Bill Gates. That’s my key message. You then give jobs to lakhs of people.

    b) It is almost certain that any DIRECT attempt to do good for anyone will actually harm them. That’s what’s happened with foreign aid, and with virtually all charity. So by all means help educate others, but charity is usually poisonous.

    c) If Arvind or anyone (like me or you) wants to help others, then it is NOT called sacrifice. It is called commitment.

    d) I have no problems with people “sacrificing” voluntarily whatever they want, including their life. That’s, after all, their prerogative. My main point is against person A asking person B to sacrifice. That’s what most leaders in India do. They keep asking the country to sacrifice. That’s wrong.


  3. chaitanya

    Interesting discussion. To “sacrifice” in general means to give up something for oneself, for some “selfless” cause. But is there any such thing ? AK is doing what he does because he likes doing it. He gets a kick out of it. So he *personally* values what he’s doing over such things as peace of mind or better pay or whatever else. So, he’s doing something that he likes to do. If someone kills oneself for a “selfless” cause, he does so because that’s what gives him satisfaction. If a mother does something for a child, she does it for her own satisfaction. The sacrifice is only in the outward sense — giving up one’s life, or pay or peace of mind or whatever. But from the PERSONS POINT OF VIEW, they are doing something that they LIKE PERSONALLY. So they are doing a selfish thing afterall !! It only appears as a sacrifice to others because OTHERS value things like money, life, peace of mind etc, more than the sacrificer’s cause. But the sacrificer values it vice versa.

    maybe a better word in the context of doing something for a society is “responsibility”. To be a responsible citizen.

  4. chaitanya

    come to think of it .. although, technically speaking, there’s no such thing as a “sacrifice” because we always do what we want/like to do , the word “sacrifice” as it is used conventionally has some meaning and relevance. Suppose i have an option to (a) work in a corporate world making tonnes of money (b) work on a project in a village which really helps a lot of people, but pay me very little. If i choose “b”, iam not technically sacrificing because i value the feeling of helping people more than the money. But, I AM sacrificing , in the sense of how the word is conventionally. And that is relevant because at the end of the day, choosing “b” is helping a lot of people live better. Whereas if i chose “a”, only my bank account would have gotten bigger.

    So .. yeah .. the word “sacrifice” does have some relevance, and it is the conventional meaning that people have in mind when they use the word “sacrifice” and not the technical one. Technically speaking, there’s probably no such thing as a sacrifice.

    so its useful to mark the difference between the conventional meaning and the technical one. In the real world, i think the conventional meaning does have some significance and relevance.

  5. Sanjeev Sabhlok


    I understand exactly what people mean when they use the word “sacrifice”. I have no problems with people choosing such things on their own. My objection is to leaders asking others to sacrifice “for the country”. That is the sure way to drive out good people from India.

    I’ve been here in Australia for 11 years and NOT ONCE has any leader said that someone should sacrifice for Australia. They are keen to keep improving the standard of living of all citizens. People are generally paid (even in government) salaries comparable to what they get in the private sector.

    Everyone is expected to do a GOOD JOB. No sacrifice. Just high quality professionalism.



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