Corruption (Please) Free India

While watching a recent new movie, I couldn’t help but wonder, why do people enjoy when the good wins over bad? Why do we applaud when a sincere police inspector crushes the corrupt politicians and government people?

Corruption is a word that is used frequently in a common Indian’s vocabulary. Just like the famous David and Goliath story, independent India awaits a David to eradicate corruption which has taken the form of a monstrous Goliath. India is facing voluminous problems vis-a-vis poverty, terrorism, unemployment, crimes against women, etc. In my opinion the root cause of these problems hails from corruption. Understanding corruption is no rocket science. We could define it as a union of politicians, bureaucrats and criminals or an inefficient administrative system or the criminalizing of the Indian political system. The real issue that raises concern in India today is the agony of all those Indians who are inadvertently victims of corruption. Today corruption has such a bloated effect that it is clearly visible in all the sectors of the Indian society.

The effect of corruption on our economy is blatantly evident today.. We face the evil of corruption everyday, in the form of donations to educational institutions, bribes to government officials, and under-the-table transactions. It is appalling to see the innumerable scams in our country. The 2G scam, which involved Telecom Minister A Raja giving away unified access service licenses at throw away prices, which cost our country Rs 1.76-lakh crore. Known to be the biggest corporate scam in India, the Satyam Computer Services scam horrified shareholders and investors as it fueled out Rs 14000 crore from the Indian market. The high-rise Adarsh Society was a high-rise scam where apartments were distributed amongst bureaucrats, politicians and army personnel, instead of allotting them through a legitimate auction. Abdul Karim Telgi, of the famous Telgi scam, looted the country of over Rs 20000 crore by printing fake stamp papers with the help of many government officials. But, the hallmark of scams is undoubtedly the Commonwealth Games scam which has caused national shame and has triggered uproar amongst the Indians. In the recent years scams have come out of the box and the pace at which they do doesn’t seem to lessen. The real problem is finding the cure for this disease called corruption.

In 1966, the Sanathanam Committee found that the Lokpal Bill would be helpful in curbing corruption but no political party strongly acted on it since then. Forty years later, the youth of India have awakened and are determined to get a good and strong Lokpal Bill under the leadership of Anna Hazare; which is to be passed in the monsoon session of the Parliament. Will the implementation of the Lokpal Bill reduce corruption in India? If the Lokpal Bill is passed, will it succeed in punishing the real culprits? Even though the Government has tabled its own version of the Lokpal Bill, there is agitation as the civil society activists say it has numerous inadequacies. The need of the hour is to pass a positive and strong Lokpal Bill during the monsoon session in August itself. A Bill that will ensure the end of corruption! Rather than disputing, it is preferable that the Government, the civil society activists and the youth of our country form a nexus and work towards a corruption free India, making the Lokpal Bill the medium.

At this juncture, I would like to mention what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in his famous speech, “Let us begin anew remembering that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate. Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. referred to ending an era of slavery of the Black people in the United States and spoke well of fighting slavery in a united manner. We Indians should stand up to corruption and uproot it out of our system. As I end, a very famous song enters my head, “We shall overcome, we shall overcome someday, deep in my heart I do believe, we shall over come someday” Will a corruption free India remain a mere dream?

Mehak Budhrani