N.S. Venkataraman for BeyondHeadlines
As yet another Independence Day would be celebrated in India, on 15th August, the nation will go through the usual ritual of taking pledges and listening to the President over TV and Prime Minister addressing from Red fort. All these have become customary and official events without real participation of people or any visible enthusiasm from the common man.
While we hail the event of getting independence from the Britishers, now many people wonder as to whether it is a case of jumping from the frying pan to fire.
In the independent India at the present juncture, the matter haunting the people is the widespread corruption not only in the official machinery but practically in every aspect such as in commercial establishments, educational institutions, hospitals, judiciary and even in religious places.
Common men are now inevitably bowing to such demand for bribery for any dealings with government or other agencies. He appears to have lost the confidence to fight against such corrupt conditions and has now virtually become cynical, thinking that there is no hope for any improvement in the conditions in foreseeable future.
The grim fact is that the corruption has become the order of the day in India today and the corrupt persons are no more feeling ashamed or have any sense of fear. It is not correct to damn only the politicians for the corrupt practices, as corruption has spread its tentacles far and wide and deep in almost every aspect of life. The most distressing scenario is that people themselves have an active participation in the corrupt dealings as giver or taker and in most probably without any guilt complex.
In recent times, any political leadership that promises to eradicate corruption in the government and public life have received overwhelming support from the people. The immediate examples are Aam Aadmi Party and Mr. Modi’s stewardship of the recent election campaign for BJP.
While Aam Aadmi Party has convincingly failed to meet the expectations of the people due to its quixotic behavior, Mr. Narendra Modi is yet to take effective steps that would give confidence to the people that corruption free India would become a reality now or in the near future.
Many people are not protesting against corrupt conditions due to their helplessness and they are reconciling themselves to situation by thinking that corruption is only an additional cost for them. This is the most stupid way of viewing corruption in the country, as corruption inevitably weakens the fiber ad fabric of the country steadily just like termite.
The people who are most affected by corruption are those who cannot pay bribe money and cannot meet the exorbitant demands of the increasingly greedy and fearless corrupt persons. Well qualified persons may be denied jobs in the government because they cannot afford to pay.
Competent organizations may not be able to get the contracts because they do not have the wherewithal to find the money for paying bribes. In the process, efficiency and industrial and economic progress with equitable income and opportunities become the casualty.
In such conditions, one wonders whether Independence Day pledges and address to the nation by President and Prime Minister have become an empty rhetoric, leaving the country with no better conditions, with just one more Independence Day passing by.
(N.S.Venkataraman is a Chemical Engineer from Annamalai University in Tamil Nadu and Director of Nandini Consultancy Centre. He can be reached at email@example.com)