The Corruption Hullabaloo
PROF G R MALIK
I had first written anti-corruption hullabaloo. Then I removed the prefix ‘anti’, and that is far more profound a comment on the situation around us than anything said in abstract terms. For what is this pandemonium created by Anna Hazares and Ramdeves but an optical and mental illusion which may at best prove to be a temporary palliative for the common man and at worst an exercise in hoodwinking, intended or unintended. Even if we take for granted the nobility of their intensions; even if we admit that there is no nexus between them and the forces of evil, what then? Suppose you have a Lok Pal, how can he be different from the people who are now charged with corruption? The Lok Pal and his team will obviously come from the very same people who have thrown up their cream which is now stigmatised as corrupt, how can the men of your choice be different?
This is not cynicism but stark realism and bitter truth. We have built our whole life on ideals which can nurture nothing but corruption. The organs of our society are religiously harnessed in promoting corruption. Our education is merely vocation-oriented and refuses to see beyond this. We educate our children in order to make them efficient and exorbitant money-earners and neglect their human side altogether. From the day our child opens his eyes and begins to think we teach him to measure everything in terms of money and this-worldly advancement. We teach them to call those people great (baed mahniv) who have amassed wealth and power by hook or by crook – that is how we define a great man.
Our government, semi-government and autonomous institutions are extremely sensitive to questions of propriety. Corrupt people – many of them with criminal records – are carefully chosen to occupy positions of power and responsibility. This ‘wholesome’ procedure is strictly observed while filling up what are known as key positions. Due care is taken that no ‘badmash’ should find an opportunity to creep into the citadel. If in the presence of all this direct and indirect encouragement of corruption, we expect to reap a harvest of honesty, then we have deliberately chosen to live in the paradise of fools.
Our lot is comparable to a man who waters a poison tree day and night but keeps on planning to cut its branches and hoping thereby to escape its poisonous effect. The poison tree of corruption has its roots in the depths of the diseased human heart and mind. To borrow William Blake’s words, used in a different context:
The Gods of the earth and sea
Sought through Nature to find this Tree;
But their search was all in vain:
There grows one in human brain.
What we require is to undertake the fundamental task of purifying our hearts and minds and building a model human character on the foundations of this purification. For this we will have to change our corrupt attitudes, corrupt ways and norms, and work for a new social orientation. Legislation is necessary; accountability has to be institutionalised; punitive mechanisms and investigative bodies have to be put in place, but these mechanisms and institutions can prove fruitful only when they are manned by clean men in a society where crime and corruption is not the rule but an exception. At the moment the situation is exactly the reverse of it. Crime and corruption is the order of the day and honesty and integrity not only an exception but a commodity that has no space to live and is gasping for breath.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 16 Jun 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 16 Jun 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 17 Jun 2011 00:00:00 IST
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