Salman Rushdie once famously remarked – “there are two things in Indian history – one is the incredible optimism and potential of the place, and the other is the betrayal of that potential – i.e. corruption. Those two strands intertwine through the whole of Indian history”.
Echoing his thoughts, Pratibha Patil stated that – “Corruption is the enemy of development, and of good governance. It must be got rid of. Both the government and the people at large must come together to achieve this national objective”. Corruption, thus, has been a favourite topic for discussion in the Indian polity. Schemes, which are optimistic, full of potential and efficiency, are often discussed, but seldom implemented for the larger goal of the development of the citizenry and the nation.
Effective implementation is lacking in several spheres of the Indian polity. Alan Greenspan’s interesting observation is worth mentioning here – “Corruption, embezzlement and fraud are characteristics which exist everywhere. It is regrettably the way human nature functions, whether we like it or not. What successful economies do is to keep it to a minimum”. The quote is interesting because it accepts the inherent tendency of a system to be attracted by corruption. It states that successful systems have a minimal amount of corruption whereas non-successful ones reek of it.
As is the case with the inculcation of all good habits, the habit of shunning corruption also needs to be imbibed within a person right from one’s childhood. Abdul Kalam strongly believed that if a country is to be corruption free, three societal members have a quite significant role to play – the father, the mother and the teacher. By placing the onus on these key figures, Kalam has struck at the grass-roots level of nurturance.
The legendary Kurt Cobain exhorted that it is the duty of the youth to challenge and end corruption. When corruption becomes a way of life for a group of people in society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it. Corruption is the mortal enemy of a democracy.
The UN Secretary General pointed out – “Corruption is measured not just in the billions of dollars of squandered or stolen government resources, but most poignantly in the absence of hospitals, schools, clean water, roads and bridges that would have changed families and communities”. The benefit that altruistic actions could lead to, are not realised because of the menace of corruption, thereby leading to a stunted growth of the democracy and its citizenry.
Besides the domestic damage, it also leads to a large-scale demolition of a country’s image in the international sphere. The recent hulla-bulloo surrounding the Commonwealth games in India is a fine example. One thing is quite clear – one perpetuates a corruption system by participating in it. The need of the hour is to stand one’s ground and be firm in one’s stance against corruption.
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