August 18, 2011

Corruption: A Different Perspective

Corruption box
Taken From Flickr, under CC License

Corruption: (from Google Dictionary)
  • Dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery
  • The action of making someone or something morally depraved or the state of being so
Corruption is a hot potato right now in India. Dozens of scams are being unearthed and investigated. Some of them date years back. While I am tempted to comment on them or say how Indian govt and bureaucracy and everything in between has become corrupt and how there doesn't seem to be any way out of it etc. etc. Because it is really easy to shoot a hurt goose!

But, I instead choose to focus on the corruption closer to me, because unlike the multi-thousand crore scams being talked about right now, I can actually relate to the acts of corruption happening all around me.

Corruption in Services
  • I have got a medical certificate made bypassing long queue by giving money to the compounder of doctor.
  • I have got a few Original certificates attested after giving money simply because all the gazetted officers I went to were either not available or didn't have time to do such "stupid small thing". My other option was to attest it myself using fake stamps!
  • When I got my MTNL telephone connection for the first time in 1999, the technicians asked for money by themselves before proceeding any further. Not only that, since the telephone connections were a rarity at that time, they behaved as if they were doing us a favor by giving us a connection.
  • Recently I applied for a passport. And it was almost granted that the verifying officer would have to be given "his share" if the the process needs to go without hiccups.
  • I believe a lot of traffic officers are morally sound, but every time you see them stopping someone, you can't help but assume they will ask for bribe (just notice people staring at the officers!).
  • Of course, (almost) everyone knows about ticket checkers in trains/buses.

Corruption in studies
  • You give donations and you can get admission in a hi-fi engineering / management college under "management quota"; never-mind your qualification and capabilities.
  • I have experienced teachers doing favoritism both in school as well as in college (sometimes based on gender!). And I won't mind saying, I have gaining party many times because of that (but have been on loosing side even more!). Sometimes I appealed, sometimes I didn't; but I have never been in favor of favoritism.
  • I am not really a great cheater, so I don't cheat during exams (thankfully most of the times I don't need to), but I have been guilty of helping friends sometimes. Now, we can debate all day about whether it is OK or not; but I feel there is no exam in the world failing in which will end your life.

Corruption in me
  • I have copied assignments/files a lot of time. But, when you find that your hard work is not rewarded you can't help but feel that spending hours digging out answers is not worth it. Having said that, corruption is corruption and nothing justifies it.
  • I feel procrastination is a form of corruption too. You have got mountain of work in front of you. You feel overwhelmed and chicken out and instead spend whole day watching TV series. The guilt at the end of the day vindicates that it was after all, an act of corruption.
  • There have been so many times, where I have broken promises, to myself, to friends and to family, most of the times due to avoidable reasons. If mind is pure and honest, we can save ourselves of these types of embarrassment.

Of course, one has the right to feel hurt and angry when we see that deserving are not getting enough opportunities. When the hard earned money gets drained by inept officials or gets stashed in the accounts of greedy ones, the temperature automatically rises, no doubt. So, when one Anna Hazare rises to fight it, it is not just a choice but an obligation to support him in every way possible. 

But the biggest contribution to this fight that we can make is keeping ourselves and our surrounding (friends, loved ones) corruption free and do our duty with full zeal. Because if you are corrupt and call any one else a corrupt, you are just a hypocrite. Because there is nothing like small act or big act of corruption. Corruption after all, is just corruption, that's it.

Jai Hind!