Why is corruption a part and parcel in our society?

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Moichingmayum Mustaque Alish Aijaja

The history of corruption is deep rooted. Now it is a shame that despite fifty years of independence India figures at 76th of most corrupt countries of the world. The credit for this goes to those who lack in morals and who exploited their positions, status or resources for personal gains. Corruption eats into the vitals of the system like cancer. The mushrooming growth of corruption ultimately leads to the collapse of the system. The stink is everywhere; the canker is widespread. The development of India is very slow mainly because of corruption. We should be against corruption like our great freedom fighters who fight against the British.

Way back in 2000 B.C. and around Chanakya, the famous writer of Arthasastra suggested bribery as a mean of weakening power. History reveals that bribery, grafts and corruption leads to the collapse of a country’s functionaries. Chanakya further suggests severe punishment for the corrupt practises in the state. In a developing economy like India corruption should be taken properly, otherwise it will infect the economy like the AIDS. Now the question arises, “Why was the corruption was a part and parcel in our present society?” No, never. Corrupt officials, when identified, should not be spared at any cost. To penalise seems to be the only remedy to check corruption. Otherwise, it will be accepted as a socially accepted norm. Action against corrupt officials should be taken by reducing their salaries for some months and by their premature retirement. If due to corrupt practises by somebody, the career of an innocent or his life is affected somehow, then the guilty should be severely punished. Punishments should include from suspension from job, jail for several months, banishment etc. Officials who have eaten money which was supposed to be spent for rural welfare, should be subjected to severe punishment. If people are found accused of minor corruption charge or indulges in corrupt practises due to force circumstances, then due care should be given to avert such happening in future. Government should provide loan facilities to its officials. For example, loans for buying costly but necessary household equipment, loans for buying lands and building houses on them, loans for the marriage of their sisters and daughters, loans for providing good schooling to their children and maintaining their family status as well. No corrupt practises will ever take place if citizens are of high moral values, strong character and have an indomitable will. Citizens should be taught to keep national interest above the self. Citizens of a strong character will definitely lead to a strong nation as they are the building bricks of a nation. If officials are of rotten moral fibres, they are very likely to become dishonest. Misappropriation and graft then become a part of their lives. The Arthasastra by Chanakya advise that the honesty of judges should be periodically tested by agents provocateurs and the “Vishnu Smriti” prescribes the banishment and forfeiture of all property of a judge found guilty of corruption.

In our society indulgence in corruption should be established as heinous crime. While the teachers of different religions should extol the virtues of honesty in their discourse, the government should give a pride of place to honesty in their constitution and penal codes. The corrupt should be excommunicated from society. People should be educated and then only they can combat the corruption. All we need against the corrupt is the mass movement as an aftermath of mass awareness. Movies like Hindustani denote the outburst of people against the corruption. People are demanding transparency in a government functionary. There should be nothing like official secrets. The united front government’s provision of “Right to information” for the common man is a nice step in this direction. By dint of this common man will be able to know at what level their applications have reached and what are the processes going on. Section 161 of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 have found the corrupt to be deliberately and intentionally exploiting their position directly or indirectly, for personal aggrandisement.

The Santhanam Committee on prevention of corruption, 1962 revealed that the corrupt exercise their power and influence associated with their office in an improper and selfish manner. It reveals further that a proper revaluation of the moral values and socio-economic structure of the society is required. It won’t be proper to say that corrupt are let scot-free. A lot of many things are being done against them. Beside the appointment of Santhanam Committee, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and CBI at the Central level and Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) at the state level are doing a lot against corruption. The special police establishments, the institution of Lok-Ayukta in different states, the Indian version of Scandinavian Ombudsman, and the appointment of parliamentary committees to check the corrupt have been some good steps to tackle corruption. Politicians seemed to be behind many corrupt practises. In this regard, Lord Acton’s words in his book Historical Essay and Studies appear to be very apt. He says power tends to be corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Sugar scandal, urea scandal, Bofors scandal, ayurvedic scam, share scandal, fodder scandal, housing scandal, 2G spectrum scandal and many other are on the tip of every Indian’s tongue. In the recent advancement against corrupt practises the former Bihar Chief Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav, along with others, was charge sheeted and arrested.
Politicians should not misuse their position for corrupt purpose and should not unnecessary interfere with the functioning of different departments. People should extend helping hands to the CBI in finding evidence against the charge sheeted people. Administration should be streamlined to eliminate corrupt practises. The moral education to the people alone could be shield against corruption. Corruption is in each and every work of the people in my native state Manipur. Giving and taking money has become habit of the people. Common and poor people are the most affected people. This is the time to stand against corrupt people and fighting against them will be very late in the future. (The writer is Senior Research Scholar of History, Aligarh Muslim University, UP)

Source: The Sangai Express

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