Thursday, April 07, 2011

Corruption - I cannot bring myself to stone her

I had a thought provoking conversation with my colleague today regarding Anna Hazare and his movement against a weak anti corruption bill.

We both shared a clutching feeling, a tightness in the throat and a feeling of "We must do something" that is ever so familiar to us middle class people.

As we continued our discussion, my colleague came up with some questions that I felt were very pertinent and soul searching.

Summary of our discussion:

We do decide to jump in, and join the agitation and contribute in whatever way that we can, be it fasting till Annaji does and being part of local chapters and help in organising etc, etc. That involves a certain level of commitment in terms of resources and potentially life altering commitments. In that case, do we understand what are we fighting against? Who are we fighting for? Is it worth it?

The What:

We fighting against the system that lets several obviously tainted politicians occupy position of power and enables them to further abuse that power without any sort of accountability associated with their actions.

The Who:

1. People happy to pay couple of thousand bribes to a customs officer to avoid tens of thousands of import duties.

2. People who are willing to pay couple of thousands of rupees to avoid the hassle of filling up a couple of pages of forms, and learning driving, and prove your skills in a driving test etc instead get the drivers license delivered to their homes?

3. People who want to associate themselves with feudal local politicians that gives them flexibility to park in a no-parking zone and argue with the enforcement guys "Do you know who I am?"

4 . People who are willing to pay in Cash and without receipt so that they can avoid sales tax?

5. People who are willing to pay several lakhs in bribes to get good postings, knowing very well that they can earn several times more when they get those "good postings".

6. People who accept free this, free that in exchange for their votes?

The list goes on.......

So is our joining the fight worth it?

Can a Top down approach to control and eliminate corruption work? Or should it be more bottom up?

I think it was Jesus who said, "Those who are without sin, cast the stone on her".

I regretfully admit, I cannot bring myself to stone her.

What I can at the very least do, is promise to myself that I will not resort to bribing, no matter what the consequences may be, and instil this value in my children, and hope and pray that we find more people who have the moral right to cast the stones, and provide them all the support we can.

Jai Hind!