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How corrupt are we?

Corruption seems to be an endemic part of India as the latest report of Transparency International rates India as the 85th most corrupt country in the world but did we really need an international report to tell us as to how corrupt we are?
New Zealand, Sweden and Denmark seem to be from a different planet all together as they have been voted as the least corrupt countries all over. The redeeming fact was that our next door neighbor Pakistan is at the 134th position, but seeing our economic progress and the lack of theirs, Pakistan is not really the country that we should be comparing with. Where India and China were at par at the 72nd position last year, India has slipped whereas the Chinese despite hosting the most high profile event of the World- the Beijing Olympics have maintained their position.
The harsh reality is that corruption in India is not limited to the politicians and the government employees. It is woven in the social fabric of our country and is tangible in every section of society. Just look around you and you will see the impact of Corruption. The traffic policeman standing at the signal, the ticket checker at the railway station, the peon in the college premises have all been involved in corruption. But to say that these are the only people who breed corruption would be giving credit where it is not entirely due. For we are the people because of whom corruption thrives in our country.  It isn’t just the public sector where corruption thrives but the entire society. The person who offers the bribe is equally corrupt as the person who accepts is. So is it a lack of the respect for the law that makes us corrupt? Is the law enforcement in our country so weak that people believe they can get away with such activities?
The differentiating factor between India and the other nations of the world was its rich culture and heritage and its spiritual and religious outlook. But inspite of all this corruption has thrived in India. Look every where whether it is the public sector, private sector, the government, the judiciary and even the armed forces, none of them can stand up and say that we are not corrupt. Is there something wrong in our parental and teaching process for not instilling morals in us?
Perhaps this is the cynic view that many NRI’s hold once they have shifted abroad. The reason why they refrain from coming back to the country is corruption. The irrational rules of the system, the inefficient bureaucracy and the corrupt society are what confirm their beliefs. And those are the feelings shared by many of us staying within the country.
India is on the threshold of becoming a superpower in the world. But all these dreams can not be realized if corruption were to continue. One of the actors in Rang De Basanti had said, “No country is born great, it has to be made great”. It applies to every country including ours. Strong efforts need to be taken by all of us in order to curb corruption. The Right to information (RTI) act was a great step in empowering the common man in his fight against the system. Now he has the courage to challenge corruption. But this is not enough. For starters we could have separate to speed up the corruption cases, the media could play a bigger role in tarnishing the image of corrupt people in public and we could have stronger laws to deter corruption. We might have received freedom from the British more than six decades ago but we are yet to receive freedom from the perils of corruption. Corruption is like a termite which if not stopped now could eat up our entire society. But as Mahatma Gandhi had once said, “Be the change you want to see in the World” – the efforts will have to begin from our side.


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