By Rijuta Gupta:
The past year has witnessed so many scams that it has lost its news-worthiness. Corruption has become a topic for gossip these days. Very few people get outraged by this widespread menace unless it strikes them personally. Corruption has been here since long; the only difference is that today it has been exposed in every sphere and we no longer can keep our eyes shut. But the most disturbing part of this revelation is that everybody is assuming that they aren’t part of the system and thus ‘others’ are blamed for these disastrous proportions of corruption. Cynicism cannot totally be done away with but along with that don’t we need self-introspection? How can carrying on with blame games solve the problem? Hasn’t the time to stand for honesty arrived?
There were scams before Harshad Mehta took the centre-stage. This scam took figures of bungled liquidity to thousands of crores, a figure that was unheard of prior to this episode. People were shocked and soon this shock transformed into awe for this biggest scam-monger of Indian history. When Harshad Mehta did it — many people were impressed and dubbed him a clever man who could take Government machineries and regulatory authorities for a ride. That was 1990s. Telgis and Ketan Parekhs followed and Lalu Yadav was cherished for his media histrionics after the Fodder scam. We talked at lengths about them but weren’t outraged yet. Such things used to come to surface far and in between and we could easily ignore them. Smaller scales have mostly failed to catch our attention.
A little dishonesty was acceptable and cited as a necessity for survival in this practical world. But standard definition of “little” was missing and the scales of this measurement kept changing with time, space and increasing temptations. Corruption became a norm and what we are witnessing today is manifestation of the same dishonesty that was always prevailing and was increasing in its proportion.
Then came Satyam scam which exposed corruption in the corporate sector. Commonwealth Games, 2G scam, IPL fiasco followed in quick succession and uncovered the nexus between Public and Private Enterprises and also took the Sports world in its stride. Year 2010 has turned into year of scam and 2011 is turning it into a tradition. Our Judiciary’s image started getting blemished. Media was no longer a vigilante for public. When these watchdogs were failing at their duties, nobody was noticing. We all got used to it. Corruption was considered a domain of few sections but today it has breached all boundaries. No section of our society, no part of our administration remains untouched. Collectively or individually, we all fall in one or the other category of the system that is corrupt.
Being exposed isn’t something to be proud of but rather than being ashamed or get dejected we can look for ways to better ourselves. Exposure of corruption has also exposed the hardship that an honest person faces in such scenario. It’s the time to replace cynicism with corrective measures. In fact these exposures have given opportunity to honest and honesty to raise their voice, the voice that has been strangulated many times. Whistle-blowers have paid with their lives or were constantly harassed for exposing wrong-doings. They favoured us and made us aware of the real picture. Now is the time when one needs to decide that if this awareness must be used to discuss it just to fill our spare time or one must stand up for building an honest nation.