Yes, Together We Can
by (Capt) Ravi K Mahajan
24. GREED Leads –
Greed is the most Heinous & Despicable of all Human Follies. Greed generates Hate, Jealousy & Deceit within us. Greed has the capacity to destroy, what one has created in his lifetime.
Corruption, corruption everywhere, not a place to hide. Newspapers, magazines, TV channels, have been full of but one thing, Corruption. Overawed by the most inglorious and hideous chapter in our history of 64 years since independence, I also thought about it a lot and am confident that my readers also must be doing the same. Yes, Corruption at any level, concerns us, but it appears in paper headlines and magazines only when it is of very high magnitude. Obviously, only rich, famous and powerful can indulge in such a corruption which appears in newspapers, magazines and TV channels.
By now, you must have read many lessons in this book. If not, please stop here only and read the lessons on Adversities, Attitude, Change, Childhood-Parenting, Discipline and Character, Our Education System, Emotional Control-Tolerance, Giving-Sharing-Helping, Leadership, Money & Wealth, Peace of mind, Power of One, Self Esteem and Success Paradigm, because these lessons will help you understand the Corrupt & Corruption and empower how to fight this menace, which has taken its roots in our society like a chronic cancer.
Corruption of the magnitude indulged in by the rich and famous, has not only left our country in the class of poor third world countries, but also robbed us of our self respect, belief and peace of mind. It is not only that these rich and famous, have looted away your wealth, but also your honour, self respect and has put a blot on the very name Indian, putting our integrity, sense of responsibility and sincerity, always in doubt.
These greedy magnates were already rolling in crores and crores, but unable to suppress their insatiable greed for senseless more and more, they have disgraced themselves, their families, their states and, of course, their country and countrymen. If they were politician, they brought disgrace to entire political community, if they were bureaucrats, they brought shame and disgrace to the entire bureaucrat fraternity and when they were greedy-corrupt defense officers, they brought dishonor and shame to the very noble profession, they were responsible to uphold.
Now, put your mind on thinking mode and just think, what can and must be done by our government and people like you and me, so that we are not a mere helpless spectator in these sordid goings on in higher echelons. We cannot simply sit by, watch and talk. Some action is required on your part to show them your power, the ‘power of one’. Unless you acquire that ‘power of one’ aggressively, they shall, once again, come back from jails and be the part of the society, which they have tarnished and disgraced by their reprehensible greed. Never ever accept them as part of this society. Disgrace them where ever they go. Let your actions be so strong that other people think ten times before indulging in heinous corruption against the society or nation. Do everything within the ambit of the law, even when they are let out by courts and weak laws, they should not be let off by the people.
Greed is the mother of all types of corruption, whether you face it in a government office, while travelling by train, paying your taxes, in a government hospital, on road while driving or read in the papers & on TV channels, as we are doing these days with no end in sight. However, it must be clearly understood, that Greed is an unacceptable human folly, present in most of us to a certain degree. In some cases, it’s just the ordinary natural greed, while in others, it is insatiable. Senseless greed of the variety appearing in papers these days, is beyond my comprehension. It is literally suicidal, destroying everything they have made in life in one single stroke, when they are found out and hounded like a rabbit. Even if, ultimately, because of the weak laws and weaker enforcement, corrupt are acquitted, life will never be the same for them, with pricking conscience if at all they have one, dreadful knock on the door or bell ringing and worst of all, with terrible memories of the time spent in courts or jail and the social stigma attached. In the past, it might not have mattered, but future, with people awakening, is likely to be different.
Corruption is like diabetes in human system. Like diabetes, corruption eats away the system slowly but surely from inside, initially without knowing it, but by the time, you know of it, it may be too late. Hence, we are required to take action now, both government and the people themselves. Well, you can think and improvise upon what I am suggesting here but some serious thinking and action is definitely required.
WHAT GOVERNMENT MUST DO :
1. Corrupt protect the corrupt; For bringing the corrupt to book, irrespective of how much high, powerful, rich or famous they are, political parties or government, should not come to their aid, making statements like ‘he or she is not guilty’, beforehand only. Once responsible agencies like CBI, DRI, IT, ED, CVC or CAG or even responsible media members, have levied corruption charges, which mostly are true, the political parties should distance themselves from such individuals. Let them prove their innocence. In most cases, parties or politicians come to the rescue of the corrupt, which must be stopped. Statements like ‘this is political vendetta or conspiracy’ are very old and have lost sheen. Such statements are not only demoralizing, but also threatening for the persons holding the enquiry. The way present government and its cohorts behave, it is obviously a case of ‘Corrupt, protecting the corrupt’ .Even if the Prime Minister himself is not corrupt, the argument is invalid because Prime Minister is responsible for the conduct of his entire cabinet. Leaders, the world over are responsible for their cabinets colleagues and followers.
2. Strong and independent investigating agencies: Investigating agencies like CAG, CVC, CBI, DRI, ED, IT, NSC or NHRC etc. must be made strong and independent from the influence and control of the Government or unscrupulous political class or corrupt ever-obliging bureaucracy. Use of these agencies against the whistle blowers must stop as public knows very well why investigations have been initiated now, not earlier. These agencies must carry out free, fare and time bound investigations. Corruption charges must be levied only after fool-proof cases exist against the culprits.
3. Demonetizing high denomination currency: Not only the government, political parties and our laws are corruption friendly, it’s also the high denomination currency of Rs 500 and 1000, which makes corruption so easy and convenient. Except at smaller levels, one might pay bribe in thousands, lacs, crores or even in hundreds of crores, as in the case of 2G scam or other scams, finding prominence in papers and TV channels. Imagine bribes of such magnitude being paid in Rs 100 notes, if Rs 500 or 1000 notes are not there. You might have to carry the cash in truck loads. These high denomination notes make the bribe giving and taking, so much convenient and easy. With property prices sky-rocketing, imagine the difference in actual and guideline cost, amounting in crores, being paid in Rs 100 notes. Wads of currency notes shown by the MPs in the Parliament as bribe to them, which was aired on all TV channels and Newspapers, was all high denomination notes only. Since no sane person accepts bribe in cheques or other documents, high denomination notes come in so much handy. If this government is not prepared to do this highly desired, though quiet difficult to implement step since most of those who have to implement the same, themselves must have stored them to be used during elections or other such times. Yes, it might involve extra expenditure and cost in printing and destroying old high denomination currency, but Corruption is a monumental problem which requires such drastic steps. Because of various known excuses and involvement of various high and mighty who have to take steps against corrupt, lame excuses will always be there, but where there is will, there is always a way. And if the will to eradicate corruption is missing in government, public must go for an agitation on the lines of Jan Lok Pal.
4. Bank Lockers: Black money cannot be stored in the air. It has to be kept somewhere. Keeping at homes is quite unsafe, so bank lockers come in handy. Agencies like CBI, ED or DRI would know better, but my estimate is that 90% usage of lockers is for storing/ hoarding black ill-gotten wealth. Immediately, banks must be asked to get the pan numbers of all the locker holders and list of all holders sent to the I-T. Whenever, any new locker is hired by anyone, it must be mandatory for the bank and the individual to inform the I-T deptt. I-T deptt. must be empowered to have surprise checks of bank lockers. Allotment of bigger size lockers, extensively used for hoarding black money in high denomination notes, must be regulated properly through a system, in which corrupt do not prosper helped by the government.
5. Marriage functions, property deals & exotic holidays: Thousands of crores of black wealth is used for above purposes under the very nose of the government. Laws are there. Only thing is, we require will to implement them. Political and executive will, which has been missing. Sale of high value goods, must be totally stopped in cash. It may be done only through cheques or cards.
6. Bureaucrats: Unscrupulous bureaucrats both at higher and lower levels, not only make money themselves, but are conduit for politicians to take graft on their behalf. Often, even after their involvement in corruption, bureaucrats are seen being protected, promoted and further profiting from the corruption friendly system, which these bureaucrats and politicians have created for their benefit. It is a pity that some of the shameless types, not only accept and pocket the bribe right in front of lower level staff such as clerks and peons, but also asking the giver to give them bribe separately. Because of the corruption-friendly atmosphere created by the fearless unscrupulous higher and lower level bureaucrats, corrupt have a field day squeezing the people.
7. Criminals in Politics: Entry and welcome of criminals in politics, only shows our insincerity in rooting out corruption from our country. We cannot endlessly take refuge in the argument that ‘unless proved guilty’. Don’t we know, how much time it takes to prove someone guilty, if at all?. Whether accused or convicted, criminals should never be allowed entry into the politics. To safeguard the interest of a few, in the weight of the argument ‘unless proved guilty’, we cannot let the whole system be corrupted. By their entry, they make mockery of the law, they are supposed to protect. Worst is that almost every political party is doing it. A day may come, when we might have ministers or even Prime minister doing their onerous duties from their cells in the famous Tihar jail. Corruption is so rampant that even change of governments, mean replacement of one set of corrupt by another. Behaviour, body language, oblique smiles of the two cabinet ministers who were initially made in-charge to deal with Civil Society and Anna Hazare, resembled more like dons, than sincere government ministers trying to settle issues.
8. In case of corruption charges, benefit of doubt and loopholes, must never go to the corrupt. All corruption cases must be settled within specified short time, not lingering on for years. Judges and prosecution lawyers must be protected and should feel safe and should not be afraid to do their duty. Corrupt must be treated same as bringing disrepute to the national flag, because, by their nefarious acts, they have not only stolen the public money, but also brought disrepute to the nation.
It is one thing to show solidarity with Sri Anna Hazare at the Ram Lila Ground or assemble in thousands at India Gate or hold collective demonstrations all over the country, but another to fight corruption at sight. What I mean is that you must revolt where ever you see corruption. Corrupt must be fearful to ask for bribes and if people revolt against giving or accepting bribes, then half the battle is won. It is the fearlessness about corruption which is behind the rampant corruption and corrupt practices.
Well, you have as much stake in the destiny of this country as anyone else. You can think, discuss among yourselves and act to see that the above points are imbibed in our system. Only relentless pounding on the government and it’s agencies, will yield results, otherwise things will be as they have been.
However, you as individual, also have duty towards your country. Once again, I can think of the following, but you can also add many more points you or your friends can think of:
What Individual People must do to eradicate Corruption;
5. Corrupt, howsoever, ‘high and mighty’ they might be, should not be invited to social function and family gatherings. Corrupt is corrupt first and cease to be ‘high and mighty’, when he is corrupt. Members of public must form public groups to humiliate them, whenever seen in public. The idea should be that the corrupt must feel totally isolated and ostracized from social activity. Let them eat their ill-gotten wealth all alone.
6. In jails also, they should not be accorded any special status or food from home or other facilities. Since they are petty thieves, many times worst in magnitude, they should be treated like any other ordinary criminal. It is really shocking to see all types of legal and illegal facilities extended to these thieves. Type of thievery, disrespect and dishonor, they have brought to the country and we still treat them as VIPs, even in jails. This is atrocious.
Genesis of Corruption and Black money has gone deep inside our society like cancer. And cancer requires long term specialized treatment, which is quite painful. Everyone has to participate to eradicate the corruption from society wherein it does not hurt our honour and self respect. That is what we must endeavour to do, as people. But be absolutely merciless and ruthless on the corrupt, their cohorts and families, because corruption is not ‘all alone’ affair. Corrupt are actively helped by their seniors by looking the other way, by juniors for doing various chores, helping and actively participating in the generation of illegal wealth, by their families by taking care of the illegally generated wealth. It is only with full support, cooperation, inaction and lack of will of our political class, that things have come to this shameful pass. We must stand as one, to eradicate this evil from our society.
There is one more thing, we should always remember. Corruption is infectious and corrupt are mostly aggressive. In a government office, if twenty people are working, one or two corrupt may corrupt the whole department, because corrupt will be aggressive, will keep the higher officials happy by sweat talk and illegal money, and will make fun of the honest person and make his life hell and survival difficult. Honest person, may ultimately, join the band wagon or leave.
Now I come to the most important aspect of corruption, which is the quality of human resource, we are producing. Seed of the corruption lies in the childhood and upbringing of the child, when all his good or bad habits get ingrained. Once again, we reap what we sow. I can say with conviction and full confidence that, if the childhood training at home and in school, is value based, we cannot have so many high flying shameless corrupt in our society. Like in Adarsh housing scam, involvement of two Ex-Chiefs of army staffs and number of Lt. Generals was unthinkable and unimaginable for me, being an Ex-army officer myself. After the officers and their families, I can only hold their parents and school teachers responsible for their disgraceful and greedy conduct.
Greed and Corruption is, sort of, mainstay of our higher education and technology, which is the foundation of country’s economy and industry. Our IITs and IIMs, which we can call first grade by Indian standards, are the most coveted destinations for any youngster these days. Because of paucity of seats, very few bright students get into these dream institutions. But the irony is that none of our higher or technological institutions including prestigious IITs and IIMs, can find a place in hundred best institutions in the world.
Number of students who cannot get admission in these institutions, settle for other institutions directly run by or part of various universities. After IITs and IIMs, we can call these institutions as reputed but second grade institutions. Most of these institutions are affiliated to various universities and are government dependent for funds, hence in government control, directly or indirectly.
In last two decades, there has been proliferation of private run Engineering, medical, MBA and other professional colleges, where a vast majority of our students have to be admitted, most of them, after paying huge capitation fees. In these institutions, where almost 90% of our students learn their engineering, medicine or MBA, standards vary from abysmally poor to reasonably OK. Reasons for poor standards are simple. As per government norms, these institutions have to be run by so called ‘Non Profit organizations or trusts’. For our reference, we can call these as grade three institutions.
All these institutions, grade I, II or III, are directly or indirectly under government control or dependent. Major funding of IITs and IIMs is from the government. Universities and their affiliated colleges, get their funding from University Grants Commission (UGC) which again is a government body. Unfortunately, where ever government touches, corruption comes in automatically. There is government interference, nepotism, unaccountability, irresponsibility, casteism and favouritism. No wonder, none of our prestigious IITs, IIMs or universities, find place in top hundred institutions in the world.
Though private colleges, catering to the need of vast majority, almost 90% students, do not have to depend on the government for finance, they have to get various approvals & recognition from the corrupt government agencies, such as buying land and development of infrastructure, approval of courses, various inspections and most of all, for fixing fee structures etc. all from various government agencies. At every stage from the inception of an institution to finally, it’s running workably, they are dependent of corrupt government officials, agencies and influential but unscrupulous politicians. At every stage, they have to pay bribes from bottom to top, or use the influence of unscrupulous politicians, which also comes with money only. No wonder that almost all such private institutions are owned and run by small time business persons, liquor barons or relatives of influential politicians. Leaving a few, most of them have poor infrastructure and faculty. Though called ‘Non Profit Organizations’, they make and generate, unimaginable vast amount of money by selling the seats.
Because there is lots of money, private professional colleges have sprung up all over the country. But no reputed corporate or any respectable organization has entered in the field. Because of ‘Non Profit’ clause, and since the trade is mired with greed and corruption and government dependent at every stage, no honest person would like to enter and the result is that for these so called ‘non profit trusts or organizations’, only aim is to make money by whatever imaginable way it is possible.
If we unleash the ‘power of one’ on these scamsters and corruption mongers, I am sure corruption can definitely be brought down drastically, where Indians can live with honour and dignity. But this will not be an easy thing to do, because of the vested interests, which have deeply taken root in last sixty years. There are ‘Haves’, who have become used to benefits from the corroded system. These include most of the politicians including criminal politicians and the super rich, who have taken best advantage of license raj and now are capable of spending crores on one car for it’s snob appeal. They can also spend crores & crores on marriages or live in high rise palaces, to look down even the richest of the rich, the world over. I have no problem them enjoying their riches the way they want, but when, on the other side, I see farmer’s suicides, children starving and colossal disparities in incomes, I feel ashamed. There are thousand times more rich in developed or first world countries too, but can one think of such inhuman and nauseating disparities there?
Genesis of any ailment or disease, must be fully understood before an attempt is made for its treatment. Corruption, results basically from Greed, which is normal part of human psyche. Initially only, I have asked the reader to go through various lessons in this book again, because if we adopt life skills and wisdom from these lessons, it shall help a great deal to churn out persons of character and discipline to get over the greed which leads to corruption. Once a person has got the better of his Greed, he elevates himself and would not indulge in corruption. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says that corruption starts where sense of belonging is not there. Very true! You will not ask for a bribe from your brother, father or mother because they belong to you.
Then another main reason for corruption is the ‘comparison’ factor which is rampant these days in the society. Within the society, there is lots of up-man-ship, to show other family or person, down or vice versa. Whenever, any other family buys a new house, new car or any such expensive items, mainly to show-off, people start feeling uncomfortable and will not rest till something better or more expensive has been bought to show to that family or others, that we also can do it. It is so unfortunate, but is there all the same in most of the households. By hook or crook you want something like that. Does not matter, if you don’t need it or is wasteful or can’t afford it. A wave of comparison has swept the society which is taking it’s toll in the shape of restlessness within. It is linked to insatiable desires. More you have, more you want. Nothing satisfies.
While dealing with corruption, deal with the society’s realities also. Long time back, A Dharmendra hindi movie ‘Satyakam’, very objectively depicted the plight of an upright and honest government officer. How much difficulties, an honest person can face, is not possible to bear with most of the people. Whole system which he is supposed to protect with all sincerity, goes against him. Hence, we have to first change the system which protects and encourages the corrupt. Unless we do that, enacting thousand Lok Pals will not help because when we deal with humans, we should first treat hearts before we treat the head.
Genesis of corruption can be traced to the ruling class or the politicians. A person is not borne corrupt. Only when you see your seniors as corrupt, one tend to be corrupt because the person does not want to be left behind. He also feels when everybody is doing it, specially the seniors, why he should not do it. Unfortunately, most of the politicians are those who could not do anything else in life. So they indulge in every conceivable trick to get the ticket which is their passport to power and affluence. If their party is elected to power, then getting a ministership becomes the goal. Mind you, all through they have the company of like-minded persons, both physically and mentally. Whether they become minister or not, their only aim is how to maximum amount of money for themselves and their supporters, so that with money and power, they can retain their status. Unless the political system itself is changed or some morals or ethics are put in the system, any hope for improvement is only wishful thinking.
After politicians, come bureaucrats, who are well educated and have to go through tough competitive exams to become a bureaucrat. But, most unfortunately, they have to work under the unscrupulous politicians with their carrier, postings, transfers in the their hands. To remain in the good books of their political bosses, they either have to become like them or face all sorts of transfers, enquiries, suspensions which can ruin their family life, as well as carriers. Very Few persons can withstand that torture.
Corruption is not only looting the public money, but in essence, while fulfilling the desire to own and possess whatever we like, in fact, corrodes the basic character of society and destabilize it. It props up unhealthy competition and comparison. As can be seen, Corruption money with the corrupt may be thousand times more than his genuine income or pay. The outcome is unsustainable lifestyle bringing hatred, envy, jealousy and other such strong negative reaction from others who might take the honest path. In most cases of high level corruption, money is simply lost from the exchequer and definitely not put to any use because you cannot put such bad money to any worthwhile use except fighting elections and looting more such money from the exchequer.
Revamp in School Education System, is a must and should be top priority, if we want long lasting results, as there is no point introducing or taking recourse to stop gap measures like Lok pal bills or such legal measures, but keep on producing people with low values, low ethics and integrity of which, we have plenty these days. People of values, ethics and morals, can only produce a system high in values, morals and ethics. High values, morals, ethics, integrity, discipline, character, patience, self control etc. must form a part of our education system. Psychologically, people must get out of the web of ‘Comparison’ which has taken over both our society and psyche. Proper money perspective must be taught to the children from a young age, so that our coming generations do not go after the money and wealth as the sole aim and objective of their lives. And people should not laugh at you when you talk of morals, values and ethics. Yes, these days that’s what happens.
Objective should be to deal with corrupt, corruption and black money by a stern hand presently, but side by side, sow the seeds of right thinking, contented, disciplined, giving-sharing-helping type of children, who believe in the theory of ‘Karma’. Ultimately, we will have to start from the basics, if we are serious enough about corruption in society. Honesty, integrity, sincerity, ethics, values and morals will have to be learnt from the childhood, to have a lasting effect. They will be the God aware children of future generation, who will take over from us and take India and Indians, to the pinnacle, in the comity of nations, where we actually belong. YES. TOGETHER WE CAN.
Treat your workers and Subordinates well.
Their whole-hearted Support is needed for your Growth.
It is Better to have one person working with you,
Rather than Two working for you.