The recent assembly elections in five states again saw frenzied political parties and frantic leaders. And one can see this every time there are elections in India. Accusations and counter accusations fly freely and mudslinging becomes the order of the day. The major political parties of India take to radio and television quite happily and caustic jingles blare on, hoping fervently to bring about the opponent’s downfall. But, amidst all this the most relevant issue is always forgotten: India’s progress.
The one thing that is plaguing India the most is corruption. Corruption is eating away India’s resources and economy. The last two years have been full of scams. Today newspapers read like an oxymoron, petrol price hiked making common man’s survival tougher and at the same time a glimpse of the palace built by Jagmohan Reddy, who was in the news because the Andhra High Court had frozen the accounts of three firms owned by him. A few days earlier, it was revealed how our Honourable President decided that her grandchildren needed a ‘grand’ holiday and took them along to exotic South Africa. This ‘granny-love’ cost the exchequer Rs 205 crores. And the cherry on the cake has to be the Rs 870-crore scam led by the Reebok’s ex-Managing Director.
Anna Hazare shone like a beacon of hope in the wake of such widespread corruption. His heart seemed to be in the right place, when he protested against the government’s toothless Lokpal Bill and demanded some pertinent changes. But emboldened by the phenomenal support Mr. Hazare soon turned to churning out colourful theories on how slapping the corrupt was the right way out and how FDI in retail was “enslaving India”. And, as usual, the primary agenda was lost in transit.
Obviously, mere discussion on this issue is not the solution. What is important is to focus on what we, as citizens of India, can do to bring out a change. For one, it’s about time we stop the “chai-paani” business. In 2011, India was ranked 95th out of 182 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index published by a non-governmental organisation, Transparency International. Tata Tea’s anti corruption campaign is an eye opener. Watching the fat policeman squirm with embarrassment elicits a laugh but it carries a powerful message.–say no to offering and accepting bribes. Spread the message.
Today, people are so tired of corruption that they’ll come out in droves for a cause that truly deserves support. You can join movements like ‘India Against Corruption’ or ‘I Paid A Bribe’ and contribute your bit to stop this evil.
Right To Information Act is another powerful tool. Use it to ask the ‘right questions’. A recent RTI application filed by a citizen revealed that Meira Kumar, the Lok Sabha Speaker took 29 foreign trips in 35 months. The Lok Sabha Secretariat later hastened to clarify. But the message is clear. All public servants are accountable.
Finally, always remember you have the ultimate power in your hands; the power to elect the government of your choice. India is the world’s biggest democracy, let’s make it the best.
Hopefully, the near future will bring about a fresh gust of wind, ushering in a corruption free, truly democratic India.