I am reminded of the my young Sub-Lieutenant days. I was travelling by a train from New Delhi to Bombay. The train had started from Amritsar and there were these young students as my co-passengers in the Second AC compartment. They were playing cards and the subject was extolling the virtues of the TTE. Amongst other things, here is what I heard, “Marvellous and well behaved TTE (Traveling Ticket Examiner) really. Took a hundred rupees from each one of us and provided reservation without any fuss.” At this, another solemnly observed, “People like him are becoming rare these days.”
Then there is another incident I brought out in Adarsh Society, CWG, Corruption in Armed Forces and Public Morality; I am re-producing it here because of its relevance:
His reply is pointer towards the central theme of this essay, “Ab chhodiye bhai sahib. Main to ek do peg pi ke chala jayoonga; vigilance wale kam se kam poori botal lenge aapse“. (Just forget it, brother. I shall (quietly) go after one or two pegs; the vigilance people would demand a full bottle, at the least).
Is this what we are, honest and upright by comparison to the bigger fish? If that is the case we should be conscious of the fact that where we are today and the nation is, is not merely because of the neta and the babu. In the Indian society, as of now, it is a smart thing to be a man (or woman) of the street and know the tricks of the trade.
Have you ever considered asking your lawyer or doctor for a receipt of the fees paid to him? Are you scared that in case he/she get annoyed with your effrontery he/she would spoil your case or your health, or worse still that of your children or aged parents? Does your not asking for receipt make a difference? Of course it does because he/she then obtains – what is called – black-money and the government doesn’t get tax on his black income. Have you ever thought why is it that whilst a doctor or lawyer gets large amount of fees he/she is shy of receiving these in cheque or even by credit/debit cards? Is it because all these instruments leave a trail that he doesn’t want to leave?
Have you looked the other way when the vendor tells you the price of a thing and that it would be cheaper by a certain amount if you don’t insist on a bill or receipt or invoice? Have you ever considered that the cumulative sum involved of these kind of sales is much more than the loss to the state caused by A Raja?
Well, chances are that you actually thought of these things but have argued that a drop is really a small thing as compared to the ocean of corruption. Isn’t it the same convoluted reasoning we give for not voting or for littering or for playing our loudspeaker?
Yesterday I was listening to Kabir’s dohai (couplets) and the most appropriate to the situation that I heard was:
Lets do everything to set right public corruption. However, lets set right ourselves too.
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