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  Asia-Pacific
Corruption, No Less Dangerous than Communalism
By Tanveer Jafri
Contributing Writer
Former BJP president Bangaru Laxman caught red hand during a sting operation taking bribe.

While India, the world’s largest secular democracy, on one hand, is rapidly moving towards becoming a developed nation and on the other hand, there are some manmade problems facing this country which are creating obstacles in its development. While the spread of communal forces in the country is a problem, the corruption throughout the country is no less dangerous than the problem of communalism. We Indians can thank God only for the fact that probably hitherto our Prime Ministers, Presidents and Chief Justices and Lok Sabha speakers have never been charged of corruption. Otherwise, we couldn’t have known the spread of the limits of corruption.

We have seen the impeachment procedure of a judge of the High Court in Parliament. We have seen the precipitation of Indian currency during the helicopter accident of a Governor. Indian media, through sting operations, has caught Union Ministers, President of a national political party and many Members of Parliament (MPs) accepting bribes red-handed. Here the Chief Ministers of the states have been found involved in corruption scandals. Numerous Union Ministers, State Ministers, MPs, Members of Legislative Assemblies (MLAs), bureaucrats etc. can be found charged with corruption. In these circumstances, there is doubt that the raising of voice against corruption, by a few responsible people like former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh would have any positive effect. The roots of corruption in our country are so deep that in some government departments it has become the norm. In such departments, the situation is so worse that the bribes and corrupt people are known to be ‘talented’, while an honest official is termed as ‘moron’. The incident of Bhagwati Prasad Dixit of Kanpur might be known to the readers that how this honest and hardworking engineer, who dared to act against corruption, was declared mentally ill by the corruption ridden system. And eventually, while fighting against corruption, he died. Apart from this, there are innumerable cases of people like Satyendra Dubey, K. Manjunathan and Manoj Gupta, who became victims of this corrupt system. People get more encouraged to indulge in corruption when the entire system is submerged in it.

Recently, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, addressing a conference of anti-corruption agencies, admitted that there is a perception that while petty cases get tackled quickly, the “big fish” escape punishment. He said that there is an urgent need to change this. He also said that "high level” corruption has to be aggressively pursued. He said that all such cases should be investigated on priority basis. This has certainly raised the eyebrows of those corrupt high level officials who carry on accumulating wealth for coming generations by misusing their office.

People of the country have taken seriously the clear message of Prime Minister. And now they are waiting for the first “big fish” in consequence of Prime Minister’s directive. There is no other view on honesty and courage of the Prime Minister. This also became evident from the recent general elections in which the people of India ‘erased’ those from the political scenario of the country, who, in order to grab power, were trying to declare Manmohan Singh as a ‘weak Prime Minister’. There were anxieties in many parts of the country over his being related to the Sikh community. But the Prime Minister himself stated in an election meeting in Ludhiana (Punjab) that first of all he is the Prime Minister of this country, and then a Sikh. He also said that he is against the mixing of religion and politics. In the same meeting, Member of Parliament Rahul Gandhi called him as “pride of India”.

Congress party, the largest constituent of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), tried to convey to the people that the Congress’ hand is with the common people. Certainly, the common man wants this slogan transformed into action. And if the common man really feels that the government is with him and he is getting justice, then he definitely support that government or political party. A small example of this was seen in Uttar Pradesh in recent general elections. The performance of the Congress party was best in those 39 districts of the state where the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) was enforced in the first phase. The areas in which the unemployed got employment with full transparency and they need not migrate for earning livelihoods, such people joined the chorus of ‘Jai Ho’ with the Congress.

Today the common man wants to see a clean administrative structure, transparent and corruption free environment. And it would be possible only when the high level corruption, which provides patronization to corruption at lower levels, would end. The problem in India is that either it is the person adulterating life saving drugs or food items, economic fraudster, gangster or professional criminal, such characterless people quickly get political ‘asylum’. And after this patronization, the middle and lower rank officials automatically become helpless. In such situation, these few honest people are left with just two options. Either they face the suspension or termination of job while fighting against high level political intervention, become victims of such corrupt network or felling in line with them, they become participant of that network and enter its ‘mainstream’. Today we are concerned about the increasing might of China. But we ignore the basis of that power. The entire world is aware of the steps taken by China vis-à-vis population control. Last year, the same China sentenced two people to death, who were involved in a tainted milk scandal. In our country, since long time tainted milk, poisonous vegetables are available in the market. And now even there is news of fake blood. Amidst this, the Prime Minister’s concerns are not only justifiable; there is an urgent need to act on his concerns.

Hopefully, the top level honest officers would be encouraged with Dr. Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister and they would be able to ‘trap’ a ‘big fish’ as early as possible. Perhaps, then only the common people would say "Jai Ho."



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Other Articles by Tanveer Jafri
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Mr.Tanveer Jafri, who serves as contributing writer for The Seoul Times, is a noted columnist in India. He writes on a variety of issues including world peace, anti-terrorism, and national & international politics for numerous news dailies and portals in India. As a devoted social activist he is member of Haryana Sahitya Academy & Haryana Urdu Academy.

 

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