Monday, April 12, 2010


From childhood, I have been hearing stories of how corrupt our country is -- the police is corrupt, the bureaucrats are corrupt, the businessmen are corrupt, and the politicians are even more corrupt. As I grew up, I started asking myself the question "What about the common people? What about you and ME?" Are we feeding into this?
We surely are. I need a passport for studying abroad -- I happily bribe the local policeman for hurrying it up. I need a driving license -- I pay a middleman for doing it without even knowing where the motor vehicles office is. There is a simple counter-argument to all this. You cannot get your passport if do not bribe, you cannot get your license if do not pay a middleman, and so on and so forth. Fair enough!
I have grown up more (at least in terms of years spent on this earth). I have become an academician, a teacher. In old days, people of our category was held in high regard. Even today, the respect is still there. What is our role in weeding out corruption? Is it enough to be honest yourself and turn a blind eye to the rest of the world? There is a famous quote from Rabindranath Thakur "অন্যায় যে করে আর অন্যায় যে সহে, তব ঘৃণা যেন তারে তৃণসম দহে!" The spirit roughly translates to "tolerating a wrong is equally heinous as committing it".
Here's a situation. Think of an important exam. You are entrusted with organising it. You catch a person impersonating a candidate. The impersonator even accepts that. What do you do? Do you take the easy way, note the candidate's registration number, etc. in a form meant for "doubtful" identities, and let the impersonator walk away? Or, do you hand over the impersonator to the police? The decision is not easy as it seems.
Everyone around you quickly enlightens you about the danger of the second option? There must be a gang operating, you fall in their eyes, you jeopardize the school's security, etc. etc., and anyway, the police is only going to extort money from the candidate's family and let the matter bury. This is social pressure -- this is what it does to a common man too used to corruption. The corruption seeps through your blood and ultimately your genes. Future generations will be born with this sense and will find absolutely nothing wrong in the society-wide corruption.