Claims of corruption abound so strongly in Indian society due to perceptions of corrupt activities in social and political organizations reinforced by proofs, everyday experiences of corrupt dealings in various public and private bodies, and an understanding of the requirement of kickbacks to oil official machinery, that it can be classified as one of the stereotypical characteristics of India, along with curry and Modi’s foreign trips. Recognizing it as a social evil does no good, because the first solution proposed in all forums- be they school essays or news articles, is awareness. And it is tragic that corruption, with its plague-like nature, is a phenomenon that all of us have too much awareness of and willingly participate in. The Great Indian Hypocritical experiment reveals that Indians have no qualms giving bribes to traffic police officials to prevent challans, but express horrified disappointment in chosen representatives when they implement the same model at a larger scale. And expectedly enough, our worthy leaders also become billions of rupees worth, as successive governments’ promises of recovering black money fall flat. Expensive property, profitable businesses, and languidly luxurious lifestyles are coined as keywords when one comes to power, while the vote bank which helps them rise remains a perpetual vote bank- reduced to voter ID cards and back-breaking poverty. They pray for the well-being of their leaders and load them with blessings, cheerfully forgiving years of aching disenchantment, and getting on with scrounging for food. It is safe to say that our politicians are our new brand of aristocracy, hiding feudal thought and capitalistic exploitation behind the disguise of democratic statehood.
The pattern goes on like a never-ending spiral slowly pushing life into a quagmire of repeated failures. One only has to replace names in news reports to find exact parallels and similar circumstances in corruption scandals- the latest being that of RJD’s Lalu Prasad Yadav and his son Tejashwi Yadav, the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar. In a crisis that promises to create permanent fissures in the mahagatbandhan formed by JD (U), RJD, the Indian National Congress and other parties in Bihar to counter BJP influence, the poor relations between Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his Deputy might distort the equation between different party members even further. For someone who rose to power in the state by flashing credentials vehemently opposed to corruption, Nitish Kumar is reported to have been deeply disturbed by the new scandal, especially in the wake of his attempts to re-align with his party’s former national coalition, the NDA. This ‘land-for hotels’ scam can be traced back to Lalu’s reign as Railway Minister, causing his son Tejashwi to completely dismiss the FIR registered against them on account of his young age and accusing the BJP of ‘political vendetta’.
“Everybody knows that they (BJP) are afraid of Laluji. But, it was not known that they are afraid of even a youth of 28 years of age. Can you believe that a child of 14 years of age whose moustache has even not grown will indulge in corruption?…Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are conspiring against me and family members out of political reasons,” Yadav said. Some officials have pointed out that the CBI raid conducted on Lalu Prasad’s properties was preceded by the Prime Minister’s Office informing Nitish Kumar of the situation so that adequate arrangements to prevent disorder and violence could be made. The cross-fire of blame is very confusing, so one can only conclude that leaders of the parties in opposition often undergo raiding in the name of ‘vendetta’ because the ruling party enjoys immense control over ‘caged-parrot’- like organisations, but no one in the picture is completely innocent.
However, the most depressing aspect of the case is that every leader questioned and covered by media channels has drawn attention to how Tejashwi will not resign, how the coalition is not under any threat, and how these are false allegations because Tejashwi was a child when this happened. The fact that gross injustice has been committed with hard-earned taxpayer money to satisfy personal/professional greed is not the focus of reporting or defensive arguments at all. At the end of the day, the vast faceless majority of the people will suffer.
JD(U) leader Shyam Rajak commented on Lalu’s predicament by referring to the power of the people, “If people can bring you to power, they can also pull you down.”
Is this now merely a maxim?
-Contributed by Tript
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