Quotes for UPSC

Quotes for Essay and Ethics: UPSC

Quotes for UPSC Examinations-Essay and Ethics

Relevant Quotes are always improve the quality of your Essay and Ethics Papers if used appropriately. It also tells the examiner that you have grasped the core idea of the Essay Topic. Having said that, we often forcefully use the quotations which becomes counter-productive. Sometimes we feel that we have memorized them with so much difficulty and hence if we do not use them, it would be huge waste of effort. Quotations for High Scoring Papers like Essay and Ethics are like ammunition that you need to keep in your back-pocket but use only when it is appropriate.

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“It is a fine thing to be honest, but it is also very important to be right.”

– Winston Churchill


“We must make the world honest before we can honestly say to our children that honesty is the best policy.”

– George Bernard Shaw

Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.

– Samuel Johnson


“The person who is slowest in making a promise is most faithful in its performance.”

– Jean Jacques Rousseau

“It is better for a city to be governed by a good man than even by good laws”- Aristotle

“When Men are Pure, Laws are Useless: When Men are Corrupt, Laws are Broken”- Former British PM-Benjamin

“Knowledge is Virtue and Knowledge Promotes Virtue”-Socrates 

“Corruption is a direct child of inadequate probity” as was put more eloquently by the English Historian Edward Gibbon in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, in which he wrote “Corruption is the infallible symptom of liberty”  

A basic concept in ethics is fairness, which the Greek philosopher Aristotle stated as
Equals should be treated equally and unequals unequally”.

The classical formula for justice, according to Plato and Aristotle, is that “an action is just when it offers each individual his or her due.”

Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s quotes

“Man needs his difficulties because they are necessary to enjoy success

“We will be remembered only if we give to our younger generation a prosperous and safe India, resulting out of economic prosperity coupled with civilizational heritage”

If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher”

“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough”

“All of us do not have equal talent. But , all of us have an equal opportunity to develop our talents”

Don’t take rest after your first victory because if you fail in second, more lips are waiting to say that your first victory was just luck.”

“Dream, dream, dream. Dreams transform into thoughts and thoughts result in action”

“If you fail, never give up because FAIL means “First Attempt In Learning”

Peace and Justice are two sides of the same coin

Dwight D.Eisenhower

Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth

Albert Einstein

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of Wisdom

Thomas Jefferson

Rabindranath Tagore once said, “You cannot cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water”.

Tagore was not only a man of words but also a man of action, who put his theory of education into practice by starting an Ashram school in 1901 at Shantiniketan. Twenty years later, he founded the Visva-Bharati. It became a central university in 1951 with the prime minister as its Chancellor.

“Since wars begin in the minds of men and women, it is in the minds of men and women that the defences of peace must be constructed” – UNESCO

Climate change and environmental degradation undermine the rights of every child.

Children are the least responsible for climate change, yet they will bear the greatest burden of its impact.

“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

“A right delayed is a right denied.”

Martin Luther King

“The great secret of true success, of true happiness, is this: the man or woman who asks for no return, the perfectly unselfish person, is the most successful.”

Swami Vivekananda

“ By education, I mean an all-round drawing of the best in child and man in body, mind and spirit”.

Mahatma Gandhi

Democracy is not law of the majority but protection of the minority.”

– Albert Camus
________ “In a democracy, the individual enjoys not only the ultimate power, but carries the ultimate responsibility.”

– Norman Cousins

Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many; the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden.

——Plato (Phaedrus)

“Open your arms to change but don’t let go of your values”

-Dalai Lama

Many years after Chanakya came Sun Tzu who had said, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

Chanakya had said, “If the enemy is more powerful then he can be defeated by behaving like him”.

“In law a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others. In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so.”

Immanuel Kant

Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength”

– Dalai Lama

Economic growth without investment in human development is unsustainable and unethical.”
– Amartya Sen

Sustainable development and climate change are two sides of the same coin”

“You cannot have peace without security, and you cannot have security without inclusive development.”

True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.
– Martin Luther King

American abolitionist, Wendell Phillips, in 1852, said, “Revolutions are not made; they come. A revolution is as natural a growth as an oak. It comes out of the past. Its foundations are laid far back.”

Wendell Phillips said in 1852, “What gunpowder did for war, the printing press has done for the mind, and the statesman is no longer clad in the steel of special education, but every reading man is his judge.”

“When we revolt it’s not for a particular culture. We revolt simply because, for many reasons, we can no longer breathe”.
— Frantz Fanon

In his book The Discovery of India Jawaharlal Nehru says that Indian unity is not something imposed from the outside but rather, “It was something deeper and within its fold, the widest tolerance of belief and custom was practised and every variety acknowledged and even encouraged.”

After food for the body is taken care of, we should provide food for the mind.

The Greek philosopher Plutarch believed, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

In his popular lecture series, The School and Society, the American philosopher and education reformer John Dewey says, “the chief difference between savagery and civilisation is not in the naked nature which each faces, but social heredity and social medium”.

Thomas Jefferson goes: “We… do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”

Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it.

Rabindranath Tagore

Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar: “Bravery, respect, dignified conduct and reliability are the defining characteristics of any army.”

Buddha as saying, “Courage is related to conviction, courage is mercy and compassion, courage is that which makes us stand on the side of truth and do that which is right.”

With Saint Thomas we associate humility. He rightly said “Humility which is a virtue, is always fruitful in good works”

Nobel laureate and author Octavio Paz has said modernisation can only begin by being a critique of our past.

Albert Einstein once said, “The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each Citizen to defend it.”

Child slavery is a crime against humanity. Humanity itself is at stake here. A lot of work still remains, but I will see the end of child labour in my lifetime. –

Nobel prize winner Kailash Satyarthi

Child labour and poverty are inevitably bound together and if you continue to use the labour of children as the treatment for the social disease of poverty, you will have both poverty and child labour to the end of time. –

Grace Abbott

“Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing”.

In the same way, India’s trade policy must be an informed choice.

Swami Vivekananda used to say- “An ideal person is the one who is active even in absolute quietness and experiences complete peace even in extreme turbulent phases”.

Saint Thiruvalluvar said over 2,000 years ago: “Fate’s strength, one’s strength, the adversary’s strength, allies’ strength, weigh all these and decide your course of action” (Kural 471).

Time of crisis is time for empathy.

In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, this is time to “recall the face of the poorest and weakest man you have seen and ask yourself if this step you contemplate is going to be any use to him.”

To quote Mahatma Gandhi: “It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”

A strong foundation for a self-reliant and healthy India lies on Make in India, Innovate in India and Collaborate in India.

Remember, Mahatma Gandhi had said: “India’s dignity cannot be saved if misgovernment and corruption flourish. I mention corruption because misgovernment and corruption always go together.”

Mahatma Gandhi said that unless people in India’s villages have economic and social freedom, India cannot be a free country.

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in a harmony”


“Be truthful, gentle and fearless”


“Heart is a very good fertilizer; anything we plant love, fear, hate, hope, revenge, jealousy-surely grows and bears fruit. We have to decide what to harvest”


“We must become the change we want to see”


“To believe in something, and not live it, is dishonest”


Poverty,” Gandhi once said, “is the worst form of violence.”

Mahatma Gandhi said, “When ridicule fails to kill a movement it begins to command respect”.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed”. –

Mahatma Gandhi.

“Martin Luther King’s memorable observation that ‘a riot is the language of the unheard’ applies as much today.

India has to be transformed into a developed nation, a prosperous nation and a healthy nation, with a value system.

A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

Let remember the words of Mahatma Gandhi who said, “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members”.

Freedom is secured not by the fulfilling of one’s desires, but by the removal of desire.”

Courage calls for taking risks, feeling fear and aiming at an honourable outcome

We live in a society fascinated by courage and celebrates bravery, with children raised on a diet of heroic stories. In Plato’s Laches, Socrates defines courage broadly, to encompass even everyday activities. On the other hand, Aristotle in Nicomachean Ethics confines courage to valour in the battlefield.

As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “When the Panchayat Raj is established, public opinion will do what violence can never do”.

At this time, we recall the words of Martin Luther King Jr. who said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.

In an interview to the New York Times in 1988, author and Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez said: “Plagues are like imponderable dangers that surprise people. They seem to have the quality of destiny.”

“Geographical proximity to justice is an important component of access to justice”

In India, there is no dearth of hype and hyperbole. Swami Vivekananda had once said, “an ounce of practice is worth twenty-thousand tonnes of big talk”.

Our oceans keep our economy and our lives above the waves. In the post-COVID-19 era, we must use the years ahead to steer our collective fleets toward sustainable oceans.

Freedom of individual development is the basis of democracy,” observed the Commission (1948-49) appointed by the Government of India “to report on Indian University Education and suggest improvements and extensions that may be desirable to suit present and future”.

It had among its members Dr. S. Radhakrishnan and was cited by then Chief Justice of India, B.N. Kirpal, in the judgment in T.M.A. Pai Foundation & Ors vs State Of Karnataka & Ors (2002).

Winston Churchill, “Never let a good crisis go to waste!

Rabindranath Tagore once said, “Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark”.

The darkness that looms over the world at this moment is the curse of the COVID-19 pandemic, while the bird of human freedom finds itself caged under lockdown, unable to fly.

Enthused by the beacon of hope, human beings will soon start picking up the pieces of a shared future for humanity, but perhaps, it will only be to find a new, unfamiliar world order with far-reaching consequences for us that transcend society, politics and economy.

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