Can anything be done about Corruption?
- Where have the moral standards gone?
- Marriages are business deals between families
- Keep money in its place, it is not everything!
It is most regrettable but true: as a country we are trapped by corruption. It is like a Hydra-headed monster with its many coils – nepotism, graft, black money, and so on. No wonder we are close to the bottom in the global corruption index, in the dubious company of impoverished and under-developed countries.
When patriotic fervour is low among the people, corruption reigns. If I have no pride in my country, whether it progresses or regresses, I will have no qualms about sinking to any depths to ensure my own wealth and success, by hook or crook. Selfishness leads to corruption.
Gandhi and Nehru, Vivekananda and Tagore, Mother Teresa and Moulana Azad have enriched this country. But have we imbibed their high moral standards and selfless devotion to the cause of society? They never yearned for physical comforts or wealth.
It is not that corruption does not exist in advanced countries. There also live people who try to cheat their nation anyway they can. But in such societies, the basic amenities and processes are available to the man in the street without any ‘extras’. Vigilance and policing is high, the courts are responsive and there are adequate checks and balances. Yet, at one time, it is surprising that no less than Spiro Agnew, the then Vice President of USA, was caught accepting bribes on a regular basis!
Closer home, in the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, the then Chief Minister NT Rama Rao decided to indulge his belief in ‘Vaastu’ by having a sizable portion of the wall of the Secretariat broken and rebuilt again, all at government cost . Likewise, more recently, Telangana’s Chief Minister K.Chandrasekhar Rao has got all black government escort vehicles painted white, due to his belief in a superstition. (He then went ahead and ordered another fleet of new vehicles!) Is this also not a form of corruption, when you spend people’s money on your own beliefs?
Money is usually the root cause of this disease. One can observe this evil at work in the form of dowry at the time of marriage. This is simply a bribe offered to the groom’s parents to ensure their acceptance. Huge amounts are demanded and paid, all this even though it is all prohibited by a long-standing law. If one father cannot come up with the required sum, no problem: there will always be another girl’s parent ready to sacrifice all his savings. It is nothing but a business deal struck between two parties.
Let us try our utmost to pull our country up on the international corruption chart. We deserve better. You may ask: when this evil has permeated to the very grassroots of our society, how can things improve? Yes, they can. But we must be strong in will and determination. We can take a pledge not to ever take bribes or other inducements. If we remain firm in our resolve, we will also set an example for others to follow. Police and judiciary and other arms of the Government will also become morally strong. Punishment can be made more stringent to deter law-breakers. Ultimately, it is up to us to keep money firmly in its place and not give it too much importance. Otherwise, India will continue to remain among the most corrupt on earth.