BY Arbind Kumar
#1 Farmer dies at the altar of commission-
It is quite usual in the house; all members are engage in their own work. But the head of the family Ram Babu is burdened with the responsibilities of setting the account of kitchen, educating three children etc. The real income comes from five acre ancestral land at the periphery of the village. He is a proclaimed farmer. He uses to get two produce in two seasons per year and some vegetables in between. He is 35 year old, though seems to be 50. There is Perennial River nearby his agricultural land, but dying down even in rainy seasons. He mesmerizes with the memory of just 20yrs ago, when he used to jump in rejuvenating river with his colleagues. Time has quite changed his fellow flew off to other cities in search of making money as agriculture is not a profitable profession now. It has become death trap. He has no other option but to engage in ancestral activities. He has his own four room kachcha house near primary school in the village. His has two children with two year gap in age, younger reads in class third. Mansoon has become bigger concern but hope never dies down. With a hope, the next crop would heal the wound; he follows the steps of other farmers. He ran to new soodkhor e.g. government as well as private banks. His hopes hang on visibly scattered clouds in the sky. This is fourth year since mansoon has not made proper presence despite meteorological department forecast of average rainfall. To get a respite from bank agents frequently thumping at the door to pay dues, he is now trapped in vicious circle of village lender. Initially he bribed bank Babu to register him as farmer and again bribed five percent of total money he received as loan to the bank officer. This is eighth seasonal crop since he started running behind bank. Consequently loan amount he received also gradually decreased with increasing commission of bank staff and it is now whooping 20 percent of total amount.
Loan he received first time was like Amrit kalas but soon fade up its shine. One season happiness with loan money slipped off in passage of time, and again he seems to be an aged. To run the house in order, he thinks other ways to make money. However he feels a cord tightening round his neck. It was wee hour, Ram babu’s wife Khushumati got up and rounded the house. Not seeing Ram Babu, she thought he may have gone to see the crop. She fallowed her thought to farm. She spotted Ram Babu at the last leg of farm lying unconscious. He was horridly brought to primary health centre in the village where doctor declared him dead. News got prominence in media, ‘Corruption and crop failure trap another farmer’, ‘’corrupt system tied the rope round the neck of another farmer”, “Committee set up to probe farmer’s death”, “Bank officer questioned in bribery case”, and so on.
#2 Commission put the banker behind bar
Ramesh chokte, a senior bank loan officer, just got up from his bed in magnificent big bungalow in the heart of city. He is in-charge of farmer’s loan. He is a well paid officer and commissioned the job only eight years ago. Bank provided him comfortable loan on 3percent interest of which he made his dream house and owns a Honda city. He has two children, one in play school and other in class one in a reputed and costly school. He enjoys affluent life style as if he were a big businessman. His daily routine is over tight and uses to fasten his steps in the morning walk because there happens to be number of mixed visitors at his doorstep from different walks of life before he leaves for office. He is reputed to change the fate of many people in his jurisdiction. Government has entrusted him the job of providing lone in different categories; loan at zero percent interest, loan waiver, get loan today and start paying interest after a year, loan with hand pump, less tilling area comfortable amount you get, community loan etc. He interacts with political managers at his residence and scores high in the political domain as he keeps three poles e.g. political mentor, bank boss and general public in his favor. Ram Babu’s demise sent crossed signals as he enjoyed good reputation among farmers. Due to political pressure police have speeded up inquiry and visiting MP, MLA and opposition leaders accuses one another.
Chokte feels disturbed although he enjoys favor of high officials because he use to send green cards’ to all concerned. He purchased land at beautiful location in city and village. He renovated ancestral house in village and looks like newly made.
He reads some omen in Ram Babu’s death. Since then he is more conscious and tries to set the issue in right perspective. Today is Tuesday and he gets in drawing room to interact with the visitors. Kripa is first farmer and he begs to sanction 5lac rupees as loan, although he is entitled to get 6lac.
Chokte said, ‘you can get 3lac. If you need more, you will have to take care of other things also. You understand, I have to keep happy high officers and political mentor, otherwise nothing is in my hand.
Kripa explained his inability to give high amount as 50,000 rupees and further added I have only my ancestral land on which we are dependent. If I sell that land, than I have only option to be dependent labor.
Chokte retorted, ‘you have to manage the situation. Suppose, you do not get loan, how you can manage things. This is your last option. Chokte turned up to the next person in the queue.
Chokte made his way to the bank on time. When he got in his chamber, with smiley Kripa appeared,
Kripa said, ‘I thought it in deep and you are only man who can rescue me from this situation. I discussed with fellow. They said, you helped many people and this is the only way. So I borrowed the amount and I am here to get your help.”
Chokte smiled and said,’ you know there are some unwritten rules and if we don’t follow that we would be in trouble.’ He further added, ‘Don’t worry; ’
Kripa stood up and got bundle from his pocket and threw that at the table. Chokte opened the corner and seeing mixed note asked, ‘Is figure correct? I think so.’
Chokte is in full faith that a villager can never speak wrong. He opened and divided the packet in two parts, checked and put up one in his bag and another in drawer.
Chokte got few papers from his drawer and placed before Kripa and said, ‘these are not only papers but also money. Sign here and I shall credit the amount till evening.’
As Kripa was to get out of chamber, ten people horridly got in, searched the chamber and seized all amount, papers and arrested Chokte.
The news broke out like fire in the forest.’ This time headlines are,’ Now Ram Babu would rest in peace.’, ’Blood sucker banker caught red handed’, ‘Billionaire banker arrested’, etc.
#3 Greed galloped whole family….
Radhsohan Verma is secretary level officer, and is senior director in the department. He is known for his honesty and reputed for his decision and works. His 35 years of service is neat and clean, no one raised a single question. He appeared in news for his tough decisions at number of times in his long service period. Government used to depute him at tough places and he showed his acumen in solving complicated problems. Vermaji belongs to a landlord family of Ram Babu village and enjoys high reputation in his circle, villagers etc. His three floor house in the village can be seen from the other side of river. He is the only son of his father and he is Harvard University pass out. He cleared his federal examination and is senior executive of the government. He has a son and a daughter. He lives in the capital city of the nation. Because Vermaji is reputed for meeting goal of large project with given budget and time”; government has entrusted him the responsibility to complete a large project with whooping budget.
He was driving back to his home late in the evening, in the way he was interrupted by a Mercedes at Zooho Bridge and young age lady got down from rear door of the fabulous car. She politely got to the car of Vermaji and said, “Sir, I need to have urgent talk, this is in your interest also, please!’
Vermaji didn’t understand what to say. However he asked, ‘Ya, tell me what is the matter.’
Young lady again said, ‘Sir, if you don’t mind, please come in my car.’
Hesitant Vermaji ordered his driver to wait few minutes; he got down from his car and boarded in Mercedes.
There he noticed, a young man, with good height, flair complexion and in black goggles, already present. Young man warmly welcomed him, ‘Please do come, sir.’
‘Sir, I heard your name and fame. You also enjoy good facilities provided by the government. You are powerful enough to change the fate of any business house. I own big business house and am in search of such pen holder. I use to make the arrangements of needful in the government and I am fortunate to think to help you after your retirement this year.’
Vermaji, ‘Thank you, but I do not need any help. I have enough to support my family.’
‘I know, but you would lose the facilities provided by the government. And this would be painful that is why, I extend my hand of friendship.’ Man further said.
Vermaji, ’Please come on the main issue.’
‘Sir, this is my gift and similar things will use to come frequently at your door.’ Young man said putting up bunch of 10lac rupees bundled before Vermaji.
Before Vermaji could speak anything young man further said, “Laxmiji use to visit only to fateful people and you are lucky one. You can’t deny. This is small amount in exchange of favor in a bid.’
“Your pen is enough strong and you can overrule the decision of committee.’ Young man added.
Hesitant Vermaji plucked his eyes and said in low voice,”Ok, will try to do…” and came out of car.
Waiting lady picked up bundle and threw in the car of Vermaji.
Hardly half a mile Vermaji went on, his car stopped with big jolt. He fell down in between the passage of seats. Helping himself, he came on the seat and inquired what the matter was.
He saw outside ten five cat commandos with five smart looking persons in goggles has surrounded his car and one of them asked Vermaji to come out. They searched his car and seized cash and documents. They all are vigilance officers.
Next day headlines in newspapers were-‘Honest officer! Caught red-handed’,’Honesty is not the life time property of honest officer’ etc.
Vermaji was behind bar and member of his family were ashamed of and didn’t want even talk to anybody. Vermaji’s wife and his daughter made a visit to village and after few days’ news came out that they finished their life one by hanging and another jumped from the top floor of his house.
Vermaji was set free on bail to perform last rights. He was getting to Hardwar. There his mentally disturbed son killed himself. After few months, Vermaji fell sick and one day in Jail he died due to heart arrest.
Corruption became demon and virtually killed whole family.
#3 Reform, reform and reform….
Villagers gathered at Chaupal. Weeks ago heartfelt news first came in the form of Ram Babu demise and there was some respite with the news of Bank officer sent behind bar as he had been a matter of suffering for many farmers. But Vermaji’s whole family demise was more heartening. He was respected as well as he has always been helping whosoever got to him.
Ramu, a M.sc. student, deplored the demise, and said,”Vermaji and his family always had been good for the villagers, but this is unfortunate he fallen down to mischievous people”.
Monu, a software engineer, retorted, “Strong soul always stands like Himalayas. There must have been Mariana trench in soul of Vermaji. Why did he accept 10lac rupees?”
Sonu, a social worker, postulated, “No, no, this is not the fault of Vermaji. This is the fault of system. We have not devised the system to check corruption.”
Ramu,’Yes, we the people of beautiful country, we must understand this evil is gulping down the ethical content of citizens.’
Sonu positively replied,’ Yes this is license raj that crumbled the system. Populist policies of political parties made the system worst and this created more opportunities for corrupt. Reform in governance is a big matter. Economic reform that started in 1991 is half run; many more areas are in queues to be reformed.’
Monu further added value in the discussion,’ However, Nehru socialist-economic policies created license raj, quota raj, these are the root of corruption. The root of corruption lies in politics and democratic system and these needs to be reformed.’
Raja, a high school student, interrupted,’T.N.Seshan and J.M.Lyngdoh were chief election commissioner who dared to do something to reform democratic institutions.’
‘The idea of Lokpal is borrowed from Scandinavian countries and in terms of corruption they reformed and cleaned the system. In India, the idea of Lokpal was the outcome of Santhanam committee and this committee recommended precise and simple rule for administrative decisions so that business house could function freely. Though, committee warned it must not be blanket shield to protect corrupts.’ Sonu elaborated.
Monu concluded the discussion, ‘The road to prosperity lies in building infrastructure, skill development and we need to increase investment in different sectors that will create jobs. More jobs, less corruption. Reforming government institutions is more necessary to curb corruption and ethical values must be taught in schools and collages so as we create high value society. ’
(Writer is journalist and soft skill trainer, M.N.91-9424753979) firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com