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Corruption- What is new
|by Seshu Chamarty|
I still recollect the time when my dad (let his soul rest in peace) had once refused a packet of sweets from one of his patients. The man was just discharged from the hospital and he wore a beaming smile. Yet my father’s rejection robbed his joy and he wore a long face and left our house. My father used to say, ‘Why should I accept a gift when I was drawing my salary from the government, even though the gift happened to be a humble packet of sweets.’
When I was studying in the college, I heard people saying that corruption was rising compared to the olden days. In India, to my knowledge, till the eighties, the corrupt used to be rebuked sternly as someone mean, and the bribe takers called as the antisocial elements. Even those practicing corruption felt their shame and used to be repentant also. Their life partners must have been sporting their jewelry secretly within the four walls of their homes, probably before mirror at the dressing table.
The ‘tradition’ of corruption has turned an ugly turn. The practitioners no more feel the shame because the community itself seems to have accepted it as a norm. The warm reception meted out to the tainted people of the population endorsed this. All the more, the thanks go to the politicians as corruption is an entry level price in the political systems, when it was the party’s very foundation. Slowly corruption has come to stay as part and parcel of innumerable financial and societal transactions.
The cost price of many goods and services got a corruption element embedded within, seen or unseen, just like cess/ VAT/ premium. That prompts one to question, if this factor was really loaded into the displayed price and also taken into the consideration in the general costing process in terms of risk management norms? When a good or service is traded, the sellers are inclined to demand for something more, that part which should be going into the kitty of sleaze handlers, namely the brokers or the elite in the executive. Relatively speaking, the wayside robbers in the back streets have to be now called as small-time operators in their humble career.
Only a few in the society dare to question, ‘why should we be made a party to the sordid side of transactions?’ One will be also forced to wonder, ‘Do I have an alternative to carry on with my everyday life?’ If something is wrong then it always has to be a wrong as such without dilution. Unfortunately in our age, one has to explain even to life partners, why the tainted money was not insisted upon right at the beginning of a transaction process. Conversely, the opposite party will also be boasting to the respective spouse, how the transaction was clinched to his or her gain, so cleverly.
Those corrupt with a public label as corrupt or even those punished for the same are reveling in the ‘glory’ as if it was a great achievement. It is like an elevation in the job or raise in the social status. The lay public is looking up at that sleazy part of the community as national icons. This hero-worship of the corrupt is being shown in the films too in a similar fashion. During the elections the lay voters conveniently ignore the darker side of the candidates or forgive the same and vote them into power positions even though the latter are charge-sheeted.
Some theories in economics are gaining ground such as without the parallel economy the people will be poorer in their purchasing power and the wheels of economy grind to a halt, eroding the growth rate leading to shutdowns ultimately. They say there is a rise in the sale of certain big-ticket items in the market thanks to the tainted money. Finally it is better for the society if the ill-gotten properties and cash are confiscated and put into better use such as using it to make the polity aware better about the evils of corruption which eventually widen the present gap between the haves and have-nots. Nowadays people are earning well in big way rightly in the straightforward ways since the conditions in systems and procedures of economy became more transparent and fairer in this free competition world of better opportunities and better awareness, but of course on merits.
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