Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Musings on the Anna brigade

Adjective: corrupt
1. Lacking in integrity
2. Not straight; dishonest or immoral or evasive
Verb: corrupt
1. Degrade morally or by intemperance
2. Make illegal payments to, in exchange of favors or influence
3, Place under suspicion or cast doubt upon

I find it imperative to clarify the meaning of 'corrupt' before I proceed with my diatribe. Now raise your hand if you have not been 'corrupt', in the real sense of the term, at some point in your life. If not you, someone else close to you has been, and you did not make an effort to stop it. Be truthful, you owe it to yourself, once a while. Think about the time a cop caught you and your friends evading traffic laws, and you had to grease his palms or resolve. Or think about a time when you cheated on the exam, by carrying chits, hiding books or simply paying the supervisor to ignore your actions. Or when you took a little help from your influential uncles/aunts or parents to gain admission into a prestigious college, either monetary or by faking a caste certificate. I can go on, but I believe I have made my point.

Anna Hazare is a simple man. He believes his good work precedes his name, he wants to be instrumental in fighting the age-old corruption rampant in our society by proposing the ombudsman bill; but most of all, he believes in YOU. He wishes to enlist the support of the younger generation of India for his cause, assuming their hearts are pure and swords are clean. Everyone loves to rebel, it's the cool thing to do, look at the Arab nations! No one has time to read through the Jan Lokpal bill in this age of FB updates and tweets, so someone came up with his/her version of '10 things you need to know about Anna'. That soothes the conscience of thousand others who were being accused of not knowing what Anna's demands are. As we grew up, our elders talked about how corrupt politicians and bureaucrats are and how the country is going to dogs (whatever that means). And we subconsciously made peace with the "fact".

But where did these men in power come from? Were the 2G scam perpetrators tossed onto earth from Hell when no one was looking? Did the politicos materialize out of thin air like Terminator? No, they were born and bred as we were. They went to schools (okay, maybe not all) just like us and grew up facing similar trials in their life. And the process is ongoing. We, the young guns of India, are going to take their place. What do we have to offer in their stead? Who can meet Anna in the eye and say he/she has not been corrupt throughout their life? And if you can, how can one test you? What proof can you offer that you will continue to be the same way in future (except an oath in the Parliament)?

Being corrupt is a trait ingrained in all of us Indians, which we need to weed out. It is a slow gradual process, but one must be diligent. Most of our actions are fueled by our social structure, which as a whole tilts towards being dishonest. There can be no better time to bring about this revolution in our mindsets, considering India has a majority population in the young category. Additionally, we have active social networks which can be effective tools monitoring and rewarding honest behavior. Let us tweet about how we overcame the need to be corrupt. Let us berate those who take pride in pulling off a dishonest feat. Let us remember that the government is no foreign monster, it is made up of people just like us who are either too chicken or too abrasive to handle the current moral decline. There can be no guarantee about the honesty of the authority which the Lokpal bill proposes. Going gung ho about Anna's incarceration, 'liking' pages and sharing news can quell your ego for that instant, but to achieve a real positive change, we must be alert all our lives, not allowing a single weakness to dent our moral fabric. We must question our elders about any dishonest act, we must teach our children the value of morality and we must, against all odds, give ourselves a chance... for redemption.

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When US beckoned me by Siddharth Wagh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.