Sunday, December 20, 2009


It appears that the fight against corruption has now reached a dead end in the country. It is more than evident from the fact that the country men do not any more react to multi crore scandals and scams where the public money is being looted by section of the country men. Several ministers, bureaucrats and business men accused of corruption walk with their heads high and do not feel any sense of shame. The large section of country men do not treat such people with contempt but run behind them, as long as they hold positions of power and authority.

It is sad that Indian citizens and media do not any more distinguish the dishonest and corrupt persons from others, which indicate the fact that people have become immune to the “corruption shocks”.

Finally, the fact that politicians bribe the voters openly to win elections and voters also accept such money and wide publicity given in media with photographs to such deeds do not make any difference to the ground reality, make one think that the battle against corruption has been lost already. People seem to have reconciled to a situation where corruption is the order of the day.

Companies, business men and even individuals are reported to earmark certain funds for paying corrupt money to get business and other deals done in their overall budget.

During one of the interactions with a few college students who are born after 1990 , the students said that reading the life sketch of great national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Subramanya Bharathi give them a feeling as if they are reading Ramayana and Mahabharatha , as life style of Mahatma Gandhi and Bharathi are so unlike the present day conditions in the country.

With the Government and the politicians and bureaucrats running the government being part of the corrupt political system, one cannot anymore expect that the government will stand by the country to put down corruption. The judiciary was one hope but it is no more so, with Dinakaran episode bringing out the worst in the judiciary. There have been repeated talks about media having gone into the hands of business houses and functioning with commercial objectives , who squeeze the news amongst the advertisements and then publish only those news which provide sensation or of entertainment value that would boost circulation and consequent advertisement income. Media taking money for publishing paid news has become the talk of the day.

It is difficult to conclude as to whether the fight against corruption has been lost due to the above conditions or the above conditions exist due to the failure of the fight against corruption. In any case, the net result is there for all to see.

Certainly, those at the helm of the administration in the country including the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers have let down the country and allowed the fight against corruption to be defeated by either by their indifference to the corrupt practices around or themselves being corrupt , for the sake of clinging on to the positions of power at any cost.

The citizens should also take up the responsibility for such sordid state of affairs, who have subjected themselves to be part of the corrupt system even unwillingly on many occasions, due to their lack of will to sacrifice their interests and lack of mindset to show the will to resist the corruption at individual levels. Can anyone of them show a single instance of registering a property for sale or purchase without greasing the palm?

Due to the widespread and unchecked corruption at every level, the administration in the country in all states have virtually collapsed. The corrupt elements have become very bold and are increasingly taking the law into their own hands. The law abiding citizens feel insecured.

Now, what is the way out and where does the country go from here?

In spite of such alarming situation, there is no doubt that the millions of Indians feel sad about such state of affairs and earnestly desire that the conditions should improve. But, how will it improve when the concerned citizens simply remain as arm chair critics and confine themselves to exchange views in closed door meetings. Most of them with good intentions at heart and great love for the country feel insecured to come out and protest in public, as it may mean crossing sword with the administration and thugs and resulting consequences. Quite a number of them write letters to the media both anonymous and otherwise but rarely get their thoughts published.

The silent majority have to protest but they dare not do so, the present conditions being what it is.

The only alternative is for concerned citizens to go for massive and passive resistance. What is passive resistance ? Passive resistance means, that one would refuse to involve himself in corrupt practices for the sake of getting things done. They should deny themselves even rightful benefits if such benefits would come from only by greasing the palm. Corruption is knocking at the door steps of everyone everyday. Refuse to open the door when the corrupt elements knock. In the process , if one would suffer , let it be so.

Such passive resistance to corruption on national scale will certainly bring about great and significant changes before long and make the corrupt forces realize that there are people who go for such anti corruption satyagraha at their own levels. Like salt satyagraha launched by Mahatma Gandhi that shook the British administration in the independence movement inspite of the fact that it was only a symbolic act , this passive resistance will certainly drive home the point.

When facing such situations of corruption knocking at your door, if you happen to have a dilemma, then think of Subramanya Bharathi, the man who fought for values under extremely tough and adverse conditions. If the life style of Subamanya Bharathi cannot inspire one to act for the forces of truth and welfare of the country, then nothing else can.

Column by:

N S Venkataraman

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