Integrity as a core value across various facets of life: Chanakya and the Chinese traveler

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Is integrity towards use of official resources always pursued? What about when no one is watching, are we equally conscientious then?

Once, a Chinese traveller came to meet Kautilya (Chanakya). It was dusk and darkness had just started to set in. When the traveller entered Chanakya’s room, he saw that Chanakya was busy writing some important papers under the lighting of an oil lamp. Chanakya smilingly welcomed his guest and asked him to sit. He then quickly completed the work that he was doing.

On completing his writing work, he extinguished the oil lamp under which he was writing and lit another lamp. The Chinese traveller was surprised to see this. And asked Chanakya, “Is this a custom in India, when a guest arrives at your house? I mean, extinguishing one lamp and lighting the other?” Chanakya replied, “No my dear friend. There is no such custom. Actually, when you entered, I was working. It was an official work, pertaining to my empire, my nation.

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