CORRUPTION – BEGIN AT HOME !
Have you heard the popular Kannada slogan ” Swalpa adjust maadukolli !!”
This saying which means “ kindly adjust a little ” was created with an intent to convey ”take it light and move on” to help us forgive small mistakes so that we all co-exist peacefully.
This is the very essence of INDIA-to live and let live in peace!
But are we to apply it to the rising corruption and accept it as part of our fate and lives???
My humble take on Corruption is that it stems from a Corrupt Mind and an Aligning Society!
Let us take a look at existing modalities of corruption and broadly classify into levels based on the enormity of it and how closely it affects the “Aum Janata( Common man)”.
Few Corruption Scams in India over the last 2 decades are,
- PNB fraud – 2018 – 11,400 Crore
- Indian Coal Allocation Scam – 2012 – 1,86,000 Crore
- 2G Spectrum Scam – 2008 – 1,76,000 Crore
- Wakf Board Land Scam – 2012 – 1.50,000 Crore
- Commonwealth Games Scam – 2010 – 70,000 Crore
- Satyam Scam – 2009 – 14,000 Crore
When headlines like this flash, it gives an adrenaline rush to the nation, with all NEWS channels debating and India ke “Aum Janata” wanting to know what is happening with their hard earned money. The opposition parties kick into force, eager to gain their point over the ruling government. The people and organisations allegedly involved in the scam, soak in the limelight and are all over the media adorning the front page of all leading newspapers and NEWS channels.
The excitement & euphoria is not short of that witnessed during an IPL match!
Endless commentary, debates where each one is voicing their opinion on the scam. However, it almost always ends up as someone else’s fault!!
Couple of days later, most of the accused have escaped to another country for another luxurious innings and the fizz is out! We, the Aum Janata curse the government , we have had some fun venting and preaching what is right & wrong. We in fact feel like representatives of GOD, passing verdict on who should have done what to thwart this corruption.
Well, few more weeks down the lane, all is forgotten by ALL. Media is already on a hot trail for its next juicy bit of news.
Moving on to lower rung of corruptions like land misappropriation, misuse of power for vote banks, corrupt police stories, government bodies taking bribes for licences and registrations which seem to happen closer home.
What’s our reaction to these corruption cases ?
We thank our stars that it didn’t happen to us. We convince ourselves that those who became victims of corruption are just repaying their karma! We then blame it on our entire system being a corrupt mafia.And go on to pity ourselves,the “Aum Janata” who have to work their way through corruption to enjoy even their basic rights !
Few enlightened and enraged ones may dare to file an FIR. Some of the cases if lucky, may get some media attention and push. Either some prompt action is taken or a case may be filed. Post that, no one is aware about the future of the case and if any judgement can happen during the victim’s life time? And when it happens, would it do any justice to the victim at all?
Moving much closer home are corruptions like these; maids having issues with ration shops, drinking water supply, residents unable to get roadside tree branches cut, telephone lines mismanaged, electricity thefts , implicit bribes for police verifications like passport work, house plan approval bribes, school donations taking the toll, drainages clogged, pot holes, garbage collection woes etc.
These seem to pinch most of us a little more as this is corruption closer to our skin and most of us have faced one or more of these in our lifetime. This is when we sit up, get emotionally charged up, scream, crib and vent it out on corruption and the need for its eradication.But mostly end up greasing the palms of relevant officials (read as bribe) and get our work done! By the end of it, we feel as if we achieved nirvana!!
All this winds up with discussions with neighbors, friends and social media about our unwarranted brush with corruption and how we were helpless victims and had to yield to it.
From a school bus van driver to garbage collector to gas delivery man, all want to get rewarded (often demanded) in form of money or material for just rendering the services that are their duty!
From educating a kid by bribing with gadgets and toys if they score high in studies, to seeking choicest boons from God,it is built into our DNA that only if we get something extra in return, shall we do our duty properly.
So, who is fuelling/nurturing corruption ?? The bribe seeker or the one satiating their demands by behaving like a victim as he/she wants their work to be finished instantly or ahead of others?
So far, i broadly classified corruption, levels of it and it‘s grip on our lives.
I now want to share few incidents(seemingly unrelated) that speak of our drifting psyche in general;
Years ago, while I was travelling by an auto, I noticed that the driver was aggressive and breaking all traffic rules to stay ahead of others. I went into an observant mode as to what makes him do so. After some time, I would find the same overtaken vehicle in line with us at the next signal. This got me thinking as to why we rush when there is a levelling super power operating always?
So, I gently pointed this to the auto driver and earnestly told him ”Sir, last 35 years of my life, I haven’t made much difference to the world or myself apart from living a regular life. Saving on few minutes more wouldn’t help me either. I am in no rush, so please drive without stress and let us not inconvenience people by breaking rules set up to help us all drive and travel safely”. Embarrassed, he slowed down and followed the rules.
Reflecting on this, I wondered why we are in a rush all the time? To accomplish what??
I often fondly remember the joy we felt by carefully stashing away a new dress and saving it to wear on an upcoming festival, even if it is two months away. The joy of waiting and wearing it is incomparable to our current trend and capability to instantly satisfy ourselves any day with a new dress.
Similarly, recollect the excited wait for some special dishes made at home, on special occasions and the tantalising taste it left. It truly was worth the wait! But now by throwing few bucks, we can INSTANTLY satiate our desires through restaurants dishing out everything in an instant !
Wonder how we all got into this Instant gratification mode??
Prior, we as kids were allowed to grow at normal pace, with focus on one activity at a time and given enough time to enjoy it and live the moment. Now we want kids to grow faster and master all possible fields. We often find kids being ferried from one class to another without any free time for them to observe their surroundings or even dream!
All that we seem to want is to equip our kids with all that is needed to make a hefty earning and compete with all whom we know of.
This single minded focus to train kids only with perspective of them being able to lead a luxurious life has sadly translated as our definition of providing good life for our children!!
Many kids do manage to excel and few even outperform their age.
Few may not be able to sustain their steep rise to stardom, get burnt out. If they are not counselled and guided properly, can get into depression as they have got used to rewards and limelight and weigh their lives based on the number of followers and likes they get online.
Winning becomes a compulsive disorder and values and virtues no more are the focus !
What are we teaching our kids so young? That “Paisa hai tho sab kuch hai( means if you have money, you can get it all) “ ?
Where are those societies which respected the benevolent, enlightened people and not necessarily the wealthy ones?
Why as a society, we have forgotten that humanity, kindness, being sensitive and caring to our environment and being righteous is far more important than amassing wealth??
Why is gluttony glorified and seen as way to be successful, display of wealth and grandeur attracts reverence and respect??
I wish to summarise it all in 3 points, based on the snippets of my life, I shared above.
- Can we move away from indulging in “instant” gratification for ourselves and our children?
Children truly imbibe what they see their parents doing and NOT what they preach. This quality of letting life and its processes take its natural time will allow us to be patient enough to adopt the right way to get things done, be it license or registration or allotments or traffic violation fines et al.
- Secondly, by doing so, we are subtly letting the next generation know that money is not the “ Dodapppa(Big Boss)” but virtue and patience is.
- Thirdly, we are letting it sink in that we don’t need to be awarded or appreciated or bribed to do our duties and responsibilities.
We can then evoke a sense of what one’s duty is! A kind word and a warm smile is enough to convey our gratitude to others for a job well done.
Let us as true citizens of our country, abide by the rules and stand up for our righteousness and weed out even a scope for corruption!! This seems a practical approach at individual level to weed out and discourage corruption.
The popular Kannada saying “swalpa adjust maadukoli (why don’t you adjust/compromise a little)” should NOT be applied to tolerating corruption at grass root levels itself !
With another share, I rest my case about probable ways to handle corruption at grass root level, all those which are under our control .
During a particular phase of my life, I was very perturbed by the economic disparity existing around us, that of extreme luxury and inhumane poverty coexisting on same street many a times.
When I started to feel helpless and disgusted by this, I sought solution from my mom as to how to solve this global problem.
My mom as a matter of fact, simply said that “ if each of us can raise the type of citizens and leaders we want and follow the culture that we want our nation to have, firstly we ourselves need to BE that and try our best to ensure our kids grow up so irrespective of how the environment currently is. If we stop running behind amassing wealth as our sole goal or to rise to fame and create our identity as our mission in life, we will be able to achieve this in few generations to come”.
Her simplicity blew my mind away and suddenly it all seemed DOABLE !!
I herewith conclude that we need to create a smaller doable version of how we want to see the bigger world to be. Then, slowly, step by step, spreading our wings to the extent we can influence/inspire others to emulate us.
To begin with, we have to transform ourselves first, followed by our home, moving on to our neighbourhood, town, city, state and country!
A collective conscious mindset to be virtuous and abide by rules and be righteous is the need of the hour!!
In due course, to add momentum to the anti corruption movement, just like we have effective mafias who are highly committed group of like minded people, focussed on achieving their ulterior motives, good citizens should get together and form an anti corruption squad/mafia and go HEAD ON against corruption even in its myriad tiniest forms and inspire and support others to join the movement !
As an after thought, why give energies to what we wish to demolish. Let us call it an “BE IN INTEGRITY” movement!! That automatically will annihilate corruption.
Together we can, be it inch by inch !!!
Just like the saying “Charity begins at home”, Curbing corruption begins at home too, by BEING IN INTEGRITY !!