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A nation without character- An insight into mindset of Indians

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ogjatt
The author is an environmentalist and has been working in field of rain water harvesting, water conservation, forestation and afforestation. You can reach out to him on his e-mail ogjatt11@gmail.com

From being oldest civilisation which had shown path to entire world to new heights of immorality.

If you have seen Indian movies of 1960s, one very common feature shown was Lala/Munim hoarding the food grains and selling them at exorbitant prices. Well, this very much sums up today’s situation with only difference being that hoarding now includes medicines, injections, oxygen cylinders, hospital beds, vegetables, fruits, and other daily life necessities. One really wonders, what’s wrong with us! And is it us or the administration or the Govt?

Is something wrong with us?

We have all kinds of national symbols be it national anthem, emblem, bird, animal, tree, etc and the list goes on. But surprisingly, one of most important thing which gives a nation its identity is missing – Yes, character, it is!

Corruption – a way of life

We all have been exposed to various corrupt practices of public servants as well as private entrepreneurs. It could have been in form of adulteration of food products or bribes being paid in public offices, this is a routine practice and it seldom shocks us anymore.

The last one year of pandemic saw these corrupt practices rise to a new level. In March 2020 when lockdown was announced what came with it was increased price of everything be vegetable, grocery, or other daily need products. The message was clear – pay what you are asked else leave.

The second wave however has surpassed all records with life saving drugs, oxygen, oxymeters etc being sold on exorbitant prices. It may be failure of the Govt and administration to rein in such practices however what shocks a common man is the cruelty and lack of sympathy of such black marketers and hoarders. It’s simply shameful and barbaric.

The corporate world was quick to jump in especially FMCG and Food Processing industry.  In last one year can you think of any food/beverage/toiletry item which has not been marketed either as immunity builder or as COVID preventer. Nothing sells better than fear, isn’t it? The second wave of COVID also established relationship between severity of pandemic and scale of corruption as directly proportional i.e. more the severity more will be corruption.

2014 – A ray of hope but not for too long

Taking cue from agitation against corruption, transparency and governance in 2011 led by Anna Hazare, BJP did well to adopt it as poll strategy in 2014 elections. They promised eradication of corruption, return of black money, reduction of prices and growth on Gujarat model with slogan of ‘Achhe Din’. Riding high on these sentiments, the party projected larger than life image of Narendra Modi, their PM candidate with stated goal of ‘Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat’ (One India, Great India), by adoption of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’. Unfortunately all these remained mere slogans and as the time passed nothing was visible on ground. This is evident from the available statistics of Corruption Perception Index which is carried out every year for around 180 countries of the world. After the first year improvement in the position from 85 in year 2014 to 76 in 2015; the country was back to square one in 2020, in fact one position behind (86th position) since NDA came to power in 2014. Have a look at the chart below showing India’s position since 1995.

Chart showing India’s Corruption Perception Index since 1995

India Corruption Survey 2019

India Corruption Survey 2019 conducted by LocalCircles and Transparency International India reveals following:-

– More than 50% Indians have bribed government officials at least once in 2019.

– 82% feel that either no steps have been taken to curb corruption or that measures have been ineffective. – 64% people feel that they were forced to pay bribe to ensure that their work gets done.

– 64% people feel that they were forced to pay bribe to ensure that their work gets done.

Department wise breakdown of Bribes paid in 2019

Property registration and land issues26%
Police19%
Municipal Corporation13%
Transport Office13%
Tax Department8%
Water Department5%
Electricity Board3%
Others13%

It’s loud and clear – we are not only corrupt but inhuman too

Only person in the country who is not corrupt is the one who has not got a chance as yet. It does not matter if the person is a public servant, politician, businessmen, farmer or anyone else.

Would the country have been better off today if we were still governed by the British; I leave this to your imagination and logical thinking.

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ogjatt
The author is an environmentalist and has been working in field of rain water harvesting, water conservation, forestation and afforestation. You can reach out to him on his e-mail ogjatt11@gmail.com

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