The other day, I was seated with a group of people discussing development in India. The moment someone mentioned the word “politician”, everybody else came out with adjectives like liar, selfish, greedy, corrupt, power- hungry so on and so forth. While all of what was said about the politician was valid, it set me wondering, if this is what they really are! Do these adjectives fit all politicians?

Wait a minute! Are these adjectives meant only for politicians? Does not a person coming from any other section of society or any other community have these qualities? Yes, of course everyone has these qualities. Even you and me!

Ladies and gentlemen, all these qualities are inherent in almost all of us, no matter which section of society we come from. How many of us can say, with absolutely clear conscience, that we have never lied, never been selfish, never acted with greed or any ulterior motive, never been corrupt or even never accepted / given a gift in exchange of a favour given/received, never craved for power or to be the best in whatever we do, unmindful of the consequences?

Very few, I am afraid.

When we are talking of driving away, corruption from our country, what are we really willing to put at stake to achieve that? How many of us are really willing to admit the instances when we have lied, been greedy, been selfish or been corrupt; and clean the mess that we have created?

The question we have to put to ourselves is:

Am I willing to tell my five year old child that I lied, I have been greedy, I have hankered for power at home or at workplace, I have first kept aside for myself and then shared with others?

AND IF I DO SO, CAN I TELL HIM/HER NOT TO BE GREEDY, SELFISH, NOT TO LIE?

Or even if I do, I will sound so fake!

THEN WHAT DO I DO?

The basis of driving ills from society is the courage to tell my child that I have done things which have had negative impact on the society and the country today. I am sorry for that and promise never to act in the future, in a way which would impact negatively and I am willing to be held to account for that.

Here, I use the word ‘I’ as a representation of our generation. In some cases, ‘I’ may not apply to me / or to anyone else as an individual.

Coming back to driving corruption away from the country, yes, it can be done!

It is not an overnight phenomenon. It is a slow and willful shift in our mind-set, each and every person’s mind-set, from “first me, then others” to “first others and I am included in them”. Inculcate the new belief in my children, my grand-children, my students, my neighborhood children and every child around me. Set an example to them by living the kind of lifestyle, I promised I will live and inspire them to live that lifestyle. When I live life in my new, shifted mind-set, I encourage my children and my grandchildren too to do so. (Believe me, this will take a lot of patience! Do not lose hope and heart! Be patient and loving always)

They in turn encourage many more of their peers and acquaintances to live that kind of life. Slowly and surely, when this mind-set shifts in the society; it will take country into its grasp. Many of us may not live to see this shift or experience the fruits. We certainly, would be the first people to initiate a positive change in our country and take it back to the glory that it once was! We would be the people who had the courage to take the bull by its horns and tame it and bring it down to whatever it was worth! It is only when the society shifts from “me phenomenon” to “others, with me included phenomenon,” will the seeds for an incorruptible country sown by us bear fruit.

Ladies and gentlemen, I happily declare that we, as a community of authors, can really set the ball rolling and take our country to the rightful place of an nation OF HONEST PEOPLE WITH INTEGRITY around the globe!

SUJALAAM SUFALAAM MALAYAJA SHEETALAM; SHASYA SHYAAMALAM MAATARM VANDE!