Saturday, May 18, 2024

Rotten system

It is well known that Nagaland is one of the most corrupt states in India. Corruption in our state has spread to the extent there is a general belief among people that it is an immutable phenomenon. So deeply ingrained in our psyche it has almost become blasphemous to talk about the rampant corruption in our state. People who have courage to stand up against corruption are labeled as heretics. Different people have diverse explanations for the causes of corruption here. Ruling class exploits the current political imbroglio to engage in fraudulent practices in all areas of public governance; there is no culture of accountability and transparency in most of the state’s affairs. Naga national groups believe the unresolved political issue is providing an ideal atmosphere for India to sow the seeds of corruption through its puppets – mainstream politicians. Ruled class – the general public – blames everyone. In psychology there is a defense mechanism called “projection”, where a person projects his dark self on to other person. In our society we seem to be displaying the phenomenon of “collective projection”, where everyone is calling others corrupt, except themselves. The corrupt project their unscrupulous self not only on the few honest people in our state but also on those who have never worked here. This may be due to the fact that these hard working and honest people remind them of their incompetence as law abiding and civilized citizens. Corruption is the most defining problem that hardly leaves any aspect of life unaffected. Everybody with barely few notable exceptions from top to bottom is immersed in the filth. So where to start and what to clean truly becomes an impossible proposition. Are we already not aware of the fact that the present breed of rulers is one of the most corrupt? In case a meaningful anti corruption drive has to start, for all practical purposes it has to commence from the real corridors of power. Without confusing ourselves with small and big names and irrespective of ruling and opposition divide, let us have a reality check. How many among the so called elected representatives can easily be described as truly honest? If we are discussing in terms of classic uprightness and not in narrow sense of material corruption, none among the present lot will fit the bill. Sure individuals are to be blamed but not solely. To err is human, an individual operating outside a moral and ethical framework will obviously fall prey to temptations. More than the individuals, what is to be blamed is the rotten system. What kind of democracy is this, where honest are unelectable and charlatans gets elected regularly. Is this just? Elections? What elections? Money, power and muscle is freely used and abused to win the franchise. Voter too has turned blind, he/she only cast his/her vote in favour of the powerful only; probity is no more a criteria. Over the years moral or ethical concepts have evolved in our state for people from all walks of life. Social conditioning has made corruption an acceptable and a respectable way of making a living in the society, and is currently reinforced by either being indifferent to the whole issue or by not making it an act of shame or punishable crime. Morality of self glorification and opportunism is exalted as good by both the political class and the ruled class. Our political class and public have jointly constructed a new mutated ethical code, allowing opportunism and corruption as acceptable practices and virtues for all. Both rulers and those ruled have mutated the ethical theory by agreeing on a new virtue of corruption. This new virtue has resulted in our rulers being secretly worshiped by people but openly abhorred (collective projection) as they seem to be enjoying the status quo. Presently there is a lack of yearning for change. People seem to have craving only to engage in corruption. Civil society pressure groups need to be persistent in highlighting corruption, which would act as a deterrent for these corrupt people. Civil society groups need to rise up against this menace and demand transparency, accountability and punishment of the corrupt lot. Swift and merciless penalties against corrupt people, including introduction of mandatory imprisonment, is very important.