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Corruption has institutionalized itself in India
Viewed from an organised, structured, cultured society, corruption is wrong. Outside the society corruption is an activity. Corruption is impermissible as a value, not as an act. Corruption is to by-pass a rule in order to derive a benefit.
The King of the 10th century felt all the income of his kingdom was his. Nor did the population disagree, though they resented parting with it. Those were days when aspiring to the throne was considered an act of treason. In a sense, the king he provided physical protection had a right to the income of his subjects physical labour. Patronage was a privilege. Men were valued by the height of patronage received or he is capable of conferring. This was not even considered wrong. It was a matter of pride. Since those days, kings have disciplined themselves by self-imposed law, restraint, culture, honour. After that, going back on those values has been regarded wrong, illegal, corruption, nepotism. In Asia, the harem was an index of a king’s eminence, its strength, his strength. In Europe, Christianity and prohibition of bigamy stood in the way, but the king trespassed into every marriage. It was tolerated, understood, acquiesced, welcomed, and received as an honour.
Theoretically corruption was a stage in any society to be overcome.
In India beyond law there was justice that matured into Dharma. Dharma is an exclusively Indian concept untranslatable in any other language. It is a national cultural value self-imposed by the king on himself. It was observed more in the breach. But the national atmosphere was so charged that kings of higher personal value were punished by Life – Life Response – when they transgressed it. India’s epic The Mahabharata was a symbol of fighting such the evil of those who transgressed dharma.
India lost its evolutionary vigour around the 9th century. The nation did not acquire territorial unity until 1857. The Muslim invasion and the British conquest were the devices of Nature to unite the country.
In such periods of decline at the physical level, we see injustice rising at a rapid pace. At the same time the inherent, organised subconscious values survive in family and rural life.
The British came and introduced into India democratic behaviour, a very clean honest administration by men of honour and principle. So, we see a subject nation suffering from cancer whose inherent cultural vitality is preserving precious values in pockets as well as in thin layers all over.
In 1947, freedom came which incidentally became freedom for corruption. Even in 1930 a foreseeing statesman warned of a coming corrupt government, even though he was a frontline Freedom Fighter.
There were the untouchables who were made constitutionally free. Children born outside wedlock were a considerable percentage of the society, as castes were created on that basis too. More than poverty, the social oppression sought an inverted relief. The emerging abundance of prosperity being an avalanche, officers with a pittance of salaries could not deny themselves the benefit of it by corruption.
Corruption is a stage no country’s history has escaped.
Two observations can be made.
- The inherent cultural values and the power structure of the constitution still existent in 2007 offer scope for its eradication.
- Whenever the nation is overcoming the temptation, the new tradition thus springing up is so pure that one need not feel all is lost.