Various facets of our society are at a crossroad. This article attempts to outline some of them. The players in these would do well to steer in such ways as to cause least pain and smooth transition. What follows in this write-up are not sermons but a gentle reminder to one and all that meaningful and lasting change can come around only if all sections of the society contribute. Some examples have been incorporated for better understanding.
Business community must realise that they need to play an active role in not encouraging corruption. One would be naïve to think that it is only the government sector which is indulging in corrupt practise. The adage that you can clap only with both hands should be remembered. One or the other business house’s name has figured in all recent scams to rock our nation. Present business leaders would do well to implement ethics in word and deed.
The unmindful acts of Mr Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines and Mr Subrato Roy’s Sahara are examples of what one should not do.
Thousands of families have been affected adversely by their deliberate mismanagement.
Politicians should realize that they are either custodian of public resources (if in power) and / or as a watchdog (if not in power) to ensure that mis-utilization of such resource does not take place. Needless to say, politics is a profession and the society should evolve a realistic compensation policy so that they need not cry hoarse of sacrifice- whether their own or their grandfather’s.
The oft repeated shameless cry of being a martyr by going to jail for all wrong reasons cannot be compared to the freedom fighters. Society has a demonstrated need for accountability on behalf of those in public life.
Politicians should not behave as CEO’s of a business. They are elected for a very specific period and need to have time-bound program for their constituency and public welfare.
“Corruption is the enemy of development and of good governance. It must be got rid of. Both the government and the people at large must come together to achieve this national objective,” Mrs Pratibha Patil ex President said in her farewell address to the nation. Having seen governance from close quarters she definitely found government’s functioning short on this account- otherwise she would not have mentioned it.
By vulgar display of wealth and power, these leaders bring decay in the society (recall- 15000 guests for dinner in wedding reception of Jayalalita’s foster son !).
Beaurauacrats need to remember- who is paying them and for what? They need to remember that in a democratic setup it is the taxpayer’s who are actually footing their salary and all citizens deserve equal and fair treatment.
Do they really need to be servile to those in power and execute immoral / illegal decisions?
They have this unfinished task of repatriation of US $ 500 Billion from abroad which is illegally stashed. It can happen only if the civil servants work without fear or favour.
The common man holds the key. The citizens of this country have several times decisively shown their mind (rejection of Emergency was one such instance). They need to reject all that is wrong.
They do need to introspect also.
Social evils like dowry, casteism, conspicuous consumption such as extravagant social (marriage / birthdays) events need to be eliminated. Parents need to teach children basics of honesty by setting examples themselves. Somewhere , somehow society has lost simple standards of etiquette and behaviour.
Mr Azim Premji is on record having said that 20% of teachers are not sincere and lack in commitment. He opined that at times, government schools in rural areas are better than private schools.
With liberalization of economy, formal education and degrees are being “purchased”. Several private institutions attract children of rich and famous by offering Air Conditioned class rooms and hostels. This is fine only if the academic standards are first ensured.
The students of such institutions grow up with conviction that everything can be bought. This frame of mind ultimately manifests in day to day affairs once they are out in the open world.
School Teachers- once upon a time a respected community need to regain confidence of students. It is in their hands that young minds are moulded and values ingrained.
Today’s young people’s search of a role model should include those who overcome odds and contribute to society’s betterment.
The powerful media of today need to highlight the contribution of such role models and not just high profile crooks.
Judiciary- the judge’s fraternity also needs to introspect. They have a contempt of court defence for themselves. But they forget that their own conduct is not inspiring (let us recall the case of cheating in LL M examination by some of the learned Honourable judges in Andhra Pradesh). How can they command respect? It is simple- they need to be honest and also seen to be so ! They could begin with at least working eight hours every day and not postponing hearings on frivolous grounds.
The purpose of writing above is – all sections of our society need to simultaneously stem the rot that has set in. The malaise is getting deeper by the day. Response of major political parties has been casual – sab chalta hai . Yes, it is easier said than done.
We are at crossroad -should we allow moral values to go further downhill or change the course ? Tomorrow, as we celebrate Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, we should give a thought to all this.
The present leaders should realize that they have this huge task and bring about changes peacefully.