The TV is full of news about corruptions and scams. A survey conducted by the news channel CNN-IBN points out that politicians and bureaucrats are mainly responsible for the present situation. I, for one, strongly believe that a situation, good or bad, takes a while to develop and take shape and if it were not for the indifference shown by the common man, no one, however highly placed, could have got away with being part of a multi - crore scam. So in a way I am as responsible as the scamsters for the situation.
Long back, when I had just taken admission in a local college to do my masters, I was told that one of my class mates had perhaps tampered with her B. Sc. Results. Those were days when results were announced in local news papers and according to the news paper the girl had obtained a second division but her mark sheet indicated that she had first division marks. She could not have otherwise got admitted to the master’s program since the cut off marks for the year was 62.5 and our HOD being a very strict person would not have allowed her entry. I was about 12 to 14 years older than my class mates and having worked in a college for nearly 5 years I knew that very often due to printing mistakes the results announced in newspapers are often incorrect and I said as much to my class mates. Just then the girl in question arrived and when confronted she openly said that her father being an IAS officer was in a position to influence people and she had indeed been favored. Had the rest of us been in her position we might have done the same. It happened all the time and her father in turn would oblige people with favors when his turn came. I was too shocked to respond. The girl however did not continue for long. She married a man in the administrative services and left within months. I can only make guesses regarding the favors her children might have obtained along the way since they had not only a father but also a grand father lobbying for favors on their behalf. Not that I could have done much but the least I could have done was to have voiced my protest/opinion in the matter. But I did not. I felt that she would not understand since her upbringing was different. She was brought up to believe that she was entitled to certain favors by virtue of her dad’s position.
We later had a student whose dad was a senior professor in a reputed college. The girl was bright enough to obtain a first division by her own efforts. But her brother was an IAS topper and had a brilliant academic record. She was under tremendous pressure from her family to top the batch. Her dad would ring up evaluators and examiners and casually pass on her roll number to them. However, the examiners were not influenced and she did not top the class let alone the entire batch in her undergrad examination. She went on to do her masters and was caught cheating on the final day of the university examination and was debarred. She later got married and left the town. If her father had not interfered she would have managed to pass with good marks. But the man wanted to flaunt her as being outstanding and she ended up being disgraced and debarred. I wonder why we could never bring ourselves to tell the father that he ought to leave her alone. He was a very senior academician and a good teacher. But is there any rule that says that his daughter had to be the best? We found excuses to remain silent and our respect for a senior colleague was just one of them.
Can we blame our politicians and others in influential positions for being corrupt? Are we not endorsing the practice by our silence? Do we not want to have it easy? Are we not suggesting to our youth that greasing palms and skipping the queue once in a way is okay. “Who has the time?…………” is the usual refrain. We catch hold of agents who in turn bribe dealing assistants to get forms submitted or for files to be moved from table to table.
What then is the solution? Frankly I wouldn’t know. I end with a story about the HOD of our PG department. He was a principled man and stood in a queue to submit his tax return form. He saw people paying the clerk Rs. 2/- each while submitting the form and ventured to ask why the money was being collected when his turn came. The clerk looked up and said “please wait I’ll let you know.” He put his form aside and went on to collect other forms. Finally after making him stand in the scorching sun for nearly 2 hours and after the last person left the man gave him the acknowledgement slip and said-
“Log apni khushi se diye aur hum liye. Apko koi taklif hai kya?”
(People gave me money of their own accord and I accepted it from them. Does this bother you in any way?)
This happened some 30 years back. No one knew why they had to pay the clerk. They paid him just because others were paying him and thought that it was perhaps expected of them. Like all other aspects of life corruption too has become part of our lives. They day it affects our dignity self respect it will probably die a natural death.