Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Why are we corrupt?

The Rang De Basanti magic is fast fading. Few indian motorists gave diabetic 80-year old ministers a second look while manouvering the unending array of potholes. Decades of our indifference and apathy has made corruption and bribe a necessary evil in our country. On one hand you curse a corrupt building contractor who used sub-standard materials to cut corners (and make potholes), while on the other hand you are paying the electrician a 100 rupee 'tip' to make sure he fixes the power connection in time for the cricket match telecast. It is time we realise that corruption is not something inflicted upon us by the government, our predecessors or the beureaucracy- it is very much within ourselves.

What Martin Luther King rightfully pointed out in the context of racism can be extended to how we look at corruption in our country – “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.” The very definition of honesty and values is being redefined in our nation. Every time ambition, greed and pure necessity drives me and you to do something that makes corruption gather more foothold in our society, we need to pause and give it a thought. Everytime we accept the loss with silence, which perhaps the outside world will never come to know of or appreciate, a precedent is being set towards a society which regards giving bribe as a criminal activity.

So, those of you who watched the Aamir Khan starrer with clenched fists might as well not let the new sense of resposibility be dampened by a coke bottle (marketed by the very same man) that is on your left hand. It is going to be difficult, because for some, such forays means more headlines and for others the incentives are far less enticing.

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