[Sample scene:

Person1:  “yaar Anna Hazare is the new-age Gandhi. I wish we can root out this menace of corruption from our country.”

Person2: “hmmm…”

Autowallah: “Boss, 20 rupiya…”

{Person 1 takes out a torn 10 rupee note, conceals it in another 10 rupee note. Hands it over to the unsuspecting autowallah, and walks away smiling at person 2.Person 2 smiles back}]

Why?

Corruption in our country stems from lack of personal honesty. When you cheat in an exam, you’re indulging in corruption at your own level. Unless we’re personally honest, no amount of show of solidarity with a movement is going to change anything. It’s always convenient to cheat. And we are people who crave convenience.

We might go and light a candle in support of Anna Hazare today. But does that mean we aren’t corrupt anymore? Corruption in our country, in my opinion, is not purely systemic. It has got a lot to do with how we as people think. It is deeply entwined with our “chalta hai” attitude, our low attention span, and our tendency to pass the buck. We make the system. And ironically, we blame it when it doesn’t suit us.

We are brought up in an environment which shuns the basic concept of accepting your mistakes, an environment where the norm is to make excuses-and feeling good about it.

I personally do not claim to be honest. Given a safe chance, I would not let go of an opportunity to make a quick buck as long as the risks aren’t high. Morality is pliable. Practicalities and temptations almost always outweigh morality-at least in most people, I would dare to presume.

As long as this attitude exists in “so many” of us, I can’t help but be cynical. We are proud of our “smartness”, our ability to bypass rules-the ugly side of “jugaad” that we practice everyday.

A people’s movement like the one we are currently witnessing would be shamefully ineffective if we do not realise that we, as a people, are corrupt. We need to reform ourselves too. Our leaders and babus are born among us-and they learnt whatever we are learning today.

We need to condemn corruption at every level-however insignificant it may be. We need to introspect. That alone, can make this a success.

Time to THINK.

– Ayan Mukherjee. 

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