Duty vs Responsibility

By Antara Kar

Contributory Author for Spark Igniting Minds


Every one of us has come across the delusional duo: duty and responsibility.


But is there a difference?


You bet there is. And the difference explains the anxiety, political difference, tension we find in today’s world.


A family man says “My duty is to give security for the family.”

A soldier says” My duty is to save my nation from enemies.”

A mother says “My duty is to imbibe good values in my children.”

A leader says “My duty is to set the example of courage, integrity, and positivity in the organization.”


Duty is a moral commitment; an active feeling that comes from within. It is a result of a human being's upbringing, his own moral values, his character, his principles, and his philosophies. The best part of being dutiful is it cannot be imposed by any person or authority. In case of duty, a person gets involved in the activity without any self-interest and fully commits himself. Duty is a selfless service without reason.


But responsibility is diametrically opposite. The fun part is one can easily negate a responsibility or choose to be non-accountable for his action.


For example:

During a business deal, a partner has invested capital and agreed to incur the risk involved among the shareholders. But during a business fall, he says “I’m not responsible to bear the loss.”


As a citizen, my responsibility is to keep the streets neat and tidy. But how many of us feel responsible while littering the roads??


Responsibility is an obligation; with expectation. A person may be casually responsible for a certain action. For example, I decided to dig a hole in my backyard to plant a tree and then kept it open for a few days. Later my neighbor’s puppy fell into it and died. Should I feel responsible for my action?

So clearly, responsibility refers to choice.


I can be responsible or irresponsible. It’s transactional, we often hear in families “I have done my responsibility and now it’s your turn to payback.


When we call someone “irresponsible”, we mean they are not fulfilling a moral duty or obligation. Only those individuals who have moral responsibilities act responsibly. One has responsibilities when he thinks “The well-being, the interest, the circumstance come under my care.”


Once you realize you’re only responsible for yourself and any commitments you willingly take on, you are good to go for a happy, serene, and rational life. Nothing else will work.


Featured Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay https://pixabay.com/illustrations/question-mark-pear-think-idea-2010012/


About Antara Kar


Antara Kar is a techie by profession and an author/ poet/ blogger by passion. Her writing career started with fiction that she penned for a local magazine. Blogging was always on her bucket list, and eventually, with panache and flair, it became a reality.


She is best known for writing articles, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and more. When not absorbed with a page-turner, she finds interest in cooking, traveling, sports and fitness.

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