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Monday, June 09, 2014  
Societal Contempt is the answer to Corruption
"In Sambalpur in Orissa, a government servant could not get his pension papers ready before his retirement. (It had appeared in a newspaper about a 18 months ago) The official was honest and not used to taking bribe. After retirement, he found the job more difficult. The clerk concerned did not process his pension paper. Eight years passed. The man became older. He had a stone developed in his kidney. He had no money for the operation. And then he became mad and this fact was brought to the notice of media by his ailing wife. What is this? Is it any way less than terrorism? But the babu concerned cannot understand and the babus, who justify giving and taking money for small favours, cannot understand the colossal damage they are causing to the teachings of the tradition. This is actually white terrorism. If somebody is involved in corruption, he cheats the whole country."
Biraja Mahapatra
   

Corruption is reflection of a state of mind of a person to grab something that he or she is not legally entitled to.

Every human being while in the process of grabbing something (means either in terms of favour or cash or kind)  which he is not legally entitled to, fights with himself for a moment whether he or she should do it or not.

If one succumbs to his desire to grab, then that person becomes corrupt. If the person withstands his temptation of earning that something, which is illegal, then he or she becomes honest at that spur of the moment. Therefore, honesty is a matter of practice.

Collins dictionary defines corruption as “dishonesty and illegal behaviour by people in position of authority and power”. This definition may not be correct. Corruption involves at least two persons. One is beneficiary and the other is the victim. Again there could be a situation where the victim may also be corrupt. Some times it is a chain involving so many people, who are both victims and beneficiaries as well.

To give an example, a gentleman was standing in a long queue at a Delhi Railway Station counter for a ticket. He came to know that all tickets would be exhausted for the train by the time his turn would come to reach the counter. But to his good luck, there was a young boy who came to him and told him that he could fetch a ticket for just an extra Rs 50 buck. The gentleman immediately and without any hesitation handed over that Rs.50 and a little later got his ticket. The gentleman then subsequently withdrew himself from the queue. So this gentleman became a victim as well as a beneficiary. He was not in the position of authority and power. But definitely his behaviour at this juncture was illegal. It is because somebody else, who was ahead of him in the queue to get the ticket, would have come back disappointed.

Be that as it may, had this gentleman have refused to accept the offer, he would have been in trouble. He fought with himself and succumbed to pressure from within. Thus his behaviour became illegal and he became corrupt at that point of time. Most of us would argue, what he had done in the circumstances was right. It is because we are accepting this method as a way of life.

A campaigner colleague who is in Build India Group has once told his clerk that he should not hesitate to cough up few hundred rupees for getting photocopy of an order for his client and that he could not afford to see harassment for his client to come to the court time and again for just copy of an order. Most of our educated and wise people would say there was nothing wrong in it. But have you ever thought how it influences the thought and character of the pampered Babu?

There was a recent example. In Sambalpur in Orissa, a government servant could not get his pension papers ready before his retirement. (It had appeared in a newspaper about a 18 months ago) The official was honest and not used to taking bribe. After retirement, he found the job more difficult. The clerk concerned did not process his pension paper. Eight years passed. The man became older. He had a stone developed in his kidney. He had no money for the operation. And then he became mad and this fact was brought to the notice of media by his ailing wife.

What is this? Is it any way less than terrorism? But the babu concerned cannot understand and the babus, who justify giving and taking money for small favours, cannot understand the colossal damage they are causing to the teachings of the tradition.

This is actually white terrorism. If somebody is involved in corruption, he cheats the whole country. He definitely deprives somebody of some legal entitlement. This is anti-national.

Take for example the UTI scam in which several thousands of old people had deposited their money with an expectation of high returns and their entire money was lost. Many died in shocks, due to heart attack and many suffered from blood pressure. We have seen many bridge collapse cases due to use of poor material. We have seen many hardened criminals going scot-free due to favour from police officers or even at times magistrates at a price. The examples could be many.

We talk too much of corruption but we never hesitate to take out- of-turn favours, howsoever; honest we may be in our day to day practice.

Let us peep into the primitive society when there would not have been any regulation on sex. A father could have had intercourse with his daughter and a brother with a sister. Today it sounds perverse and ugly. How did it happen? Marriage came up as an institution making sexual relation between husband and a wife sacrosanct while prohibiting the same kind of sexual relationship among others as immoral. A stigma was attached to sexual relationships between a male and a female other than the one through marriage. Thus stigma worked with marriage coming up as an institution.

We have also attached stigma to crimes like rape or murder or even terrorist activities. All these are illegal behaviour, and a civilized man would not resort to such activity.

How does stigma develop? Stigma develops from societal contempt. Societal contempt comes from puaranas, religious texts, dramas in which a villain is either killed or punished or withered or judicial pronouncements. We get societal contempt against terrorism in festivals like Dusserah, Holi, Diwali, Janmastami etc. As a demon is killed, people revel. This revelry is demonstration of contempt against terrorism. This is called celebration of punishment.

Celebration of punishment carries with it the message of "DON'Ts".

Therefore we need to have a festival for unleashing societal contempt against corruption and terrorism and at the same time loving our own nation and protecting its interest at any cost.

This is what Build India Group propounds through a unique programme of pledge festival to spread the message of “LOVE YOUR NATION, HATE CORRUPTION AND DEFEAT TERRORISM”.

(Author is the founder member and Principal Campaigner of BUILD INDIA GROUP (BIG) that works for a better Nation Building.)

 

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