My first tryst with corruption was in the 12th grade. I was a student of Science back then, trying to get a P.U. (Pre University) certificate from a well known college in Assam. I do not know whether it was because I generally lacked an aptitude for Science or if it was the awry education system which fails to prepare a 10th grader for a vast course like Pre University Science, but I was absolutely clueless about what was being taught in class. And don’t forget, P.U. in Science meant practical exams.
My memory fails me now, but I think Physics alone had around 53 odd experiments that needed to be completed in around 8 months. And apart from Physics, I was also studying, or at least pretending to study, Chemistry, Botany and Zoology.
There was no way I would pass my practical exams if I didn’t get to do the experiment I knew and remembered the notes for. What was to be done in a situation like this? The answer was very simple. Bribe the lab bearers of course.
And bribe I did. I paid Rs.30 each to every bearer in the departments of Chemistry, Botany and Zoology and they in turn told me what salt was in which mixture, brought me Hibiscus rosa-sinensis and a Periplaneta americana to dissect. And they also let me copy the notes from the chits that I had carried. The rate for the Physics Department was Rs.45. I never enquired why. They got me pins, mirrors and scales to complete the easiest and the only experiment I knew how to do without any supervision – reflection.
I am sure like me everyone else has, in some way, partaken of corruption. Haven’t we all taken a 100 rupee note out of our pockets and handed it to the Traffic Policeman because we didn’t want a ticket? Or agreed to pay an extra 10 rupees to that Auto Driver because we were too tired of arguing? That is also corruption by the way.
And to those who say that they have never indulged in any such activities, I really respect those souls. You, dear Sir or Madam, are like unicorns.
Anna Hazare is ready to fast until death for a corruption free India. Support is trickling in from everywhere. Social network sites are full of applications and badges and what not to show solidarity with this cause. All important people are taking a stance. Celebrities are speaking up. Others have also started fasting.
Bring all corrupt politicians to book. That seems to be the unified cry that is arising from a nation of more than a billion.
But the question is, are we ready for a corruption free India? Is every Indian, you, me, your brother, your neighbour – ready to always wear a helmet when riding a bike, never drink and drive, never jump a signal, never pay extra cash to speed up our work in government offices? And if caught doing so, are we ready to pay for our misdeeds? Are we ready to take complete responsibility for our actions?
If not, then we are not ready for a corruption free India. Because no matter what, at the end of the day it is not the politicians who make India corrupt. It is us – the common people.
Read about Anna Hazare here.