By Soumya Raj:
Our country is a well-oiled machine that works on the fuel of money. Like a vending machine, for each and every thing that needs to be done, a crisp 500-rupee currency note needs to be deposited from whomever the services needs to be extracted. In India, the duties and rights are only skin deep, they should not be confused with more important “virtues” like selfishness and dishonesty. Corruption in our nation is a very human character with a very human personality. Its presence can be felt in almost every office of our nation. This entity feeds on wealth and conscience of the leaders of our country, growing fatter everyday while we amusingly ask ourselves, “Where is all our money going?”
If one closely observes the leaders we have today, we will notice that they have started resembling corruption in astonishing ways. The same serene, deceptive, plain white kurtas and pajamas that cover the round, raindrop burlap sack-esque pot-bellied politicians, bureaucrats, authority and office holders everywhere, each and every one of them resembling the newest Deity of Unfair Means on the block. Amidst this new-found faith that dictates the “hands” that govern our Republic of Incredible India, transparency and integrity are attributes as evasive as snow in Sahara , “hands” I say because our leaders believe that service to the country must be done through service to ourselves, self-service before service to country above all. Who knows how many calluses those hard working hands bear, swapping bundles of cash under their tables which enable them to serve our country better?
Surely, our leaders shouldn’t be the only ones to be blamed. We, as countrymen, are equally responsible, we have apathy ingrained in our senses to the extent that we do not bother finding out where and how the finances are traveling. And when we finally did care, our front-runners left no stone unturned voicing their opinions — certainly their work is more important than being pulled within the ever sharing shade of RTI. We will not be a part of it, they said. It is central to us that our hard work not turn transparent, they thought. How many of us have heard of the former President of Uruguay, Jose Mujica? Deemed the poorest President in the world, he donates 90% of his $12,500 salary and retains only the remainder. Leadership and selflessness are two attributes that go hand in hand. Neither can exist without the other. Sense of righteousness cannot be store-bought, like volition it comes from within oneself.
We are the largest democracy in the world, with the best constitution too. But we lack the candor and willingness to implement such laws. We want to remain indifferent as long as loosening our pockets a little gets our work done quicker. For me it is utopia, imagining India without the termites of corruption gnawing at its roots. What would it be like not standing frustrated in queues, garnering joy from our work, having hopes from the government? Indian politics revolves around the pivot of sleaze and venality. Getting in, it is inconvincible that one will not dirty their hands or hearts. Eventually the mighty appeals of power and position drag each one of them in, even with those we have the highest hopes, even those who plunge in saying they will make a difference. Who will make a difference, how and when? Will our leaders drink money to the dregs and leave our expectations as a hollow shell? Or will a Jose Mujica be born in India too? Our system is a scavenger and feeds on honesty, tearing pieces away and politics is simply, the ghost of its corpse. In a country where money acts as an incentive even for God, it is a long, uneven road, waiting to be paved yet.