In our everyday lives, we are accustomed to respecting others because among various things they are elderly, considered honourable for their noble deeds, have remarkable intellectual abilities or skills, have earned a good name on account of extraordinary achievements or are very important dignitaries. To express this sense of esteem, we treat them with courtesy and politeness, rushing to their side to assist them or merely talking about them in a way that depicts respect and awe. Different cultures have developed specific physical gestures to demonstrate their feelings-so bowing heads before elders, lowering one’s gaze and voice, smiling, gently kissing hands, touching feet or just being obedient are some of the ways to show respect. Respect is communicated through empathy by which one listens to others, understand their feelings, heed to their viewpoints and no matter how severe one’s disagreement the response is civil taking care not to hurt anyone’s sentiments. Through respect we inform others of their worth that we have for them. It is a sort of one’s own evaluation report that is compiled taking into consideration one single or multiple aspects of their lives. Therefore, while self-respect is one’s own view about one’s own way of life, respect for others is the high level of personal value that they are assigned with and thus duly acknowledged. There is no requirement that the person who is respected has to be idolized. There can be many disagreements regarding different factors of another’s life yet there are some outstanding qualities that merit respect. A good example would be that of one’s parents. No matter how much one differs with them on matters of ideologies, lifestyle, relationships, they are still loved and respected for all they do to raise their child. There would be very few instances where the offspring may react with vengeance for any malice which they may harbour against their parents otherwise in most of the cases the element of respect is always there. Respect is where no one is judged for their lifestyle, their decisions or the way they make their decisions Respect is where no one is judged for their lifestyle, their decisions or the way they make their decisions and where there is no complaint about how certain people are or expectation of how they should be. Acceptance of others as they are, is perhaps the greatest form of respect; even better than mere physical expression. Feelings of gratitude can also be discerned where a respectful attitude is apparent. In the words of Michelle Obama, “We learned about gratitude and humility — that so many people had a hand in our success, from the teachers who inspired us to the janitors who kept our school clean…., and we were taught to value everyone’s contribution and treat with respect.” In interpersonal relationships that we experience from birth to death, the presence of love and affection are really not essential. One can sympathise with others, one can care for others, one can have compassion for others but one may not be compelled to love everyone who comes along in our lives. Love has a variety of meanings for all and its application also differs from person to person. However, respect does not necessitate love but is instrumental in establishing cordial associations. Where an environment of respect for one another exists there is no reason for uncivil behaviour or rowdiness which always sprouts from the moment we start taking others for granted. Here is where the true sense of humanity and brotherhood springs forth. Perhaps, more important than academic education, is teaching young men and women the art of living. There was a time when so-called illiterate persons from the lower strata of society stood out for the way they conducted themselves. These people comprising mostly roadside vendors, janitors, domestic help, drivers, peons etc. knew how to behave, had a modest style and took pride in whatever they were doing. They abided the law taking care to follow rules prescribed by the government. They proved faithful employees standing by their employers through thick and thin. Many families had a lineage of domestic servants who were well looked after and who never thought of leaving their masters. Tremendous respect was shown to the servants in general with the elderly ones never called by their names. Everybody seemed content with their destiny with many examples of rags to riches where bright children of the servants were picked out for better education and grooming. There was a sense of ownership and loyalty. There was freedom to grow amid confidence of support from masters. However, as time passed and more specifically after 1971 trends started changing rapidly. Thanks to political manoeuvring those very people who were fraught with humility, were suddenly made to realise their indispensability which sparked off a streak of arrogance in their demeanour. They were awoken to the fact that their rights were being usurped by those with wealth and power and they had every right to claim whatever was before them as their own. A feeling of disdain began to cultivate in their hearts for the well-to-do and loyalty was replaced by disgust which gradually led to competition and in the race for becoming rich overnight, morality seeped down, hitting the bottommost tier of cherished values. No wonder that today our society is suffering from all kinds of malaise-from dishonesty, malpractices, unprofessionalism, violations of rule of law on a lower level to stripping the wealth of the country at the national level. With a large population that managed to get degrees without the complementary grooming necessary to churn out good and humble members of the society, respect has also faded in oblivion. One needs respect in order to coexist with others without getting involved in petty conflicts over differences of religion, race, ethnicity and language in addition to being faithful citizens of the country. To achieve a peaceful society lessons in respect will have to be re-taught by parents, teachers and all those who are blessed with consciousness. They must infuse respect for others and respect for the living (including plants and animals) but above all lessons in humility and modesty, because arrogance is indeed the biggest obstacle in the way of a respectful attitude. The writer, lawyer and author, is an Adjunct Faculty at LUMS Published in Daily Times, October 10th 2018.