As per a news item appearing in today’s dailies, at 39%, India has reported the highest bribery rate in all of Asia. It’s shocking, because at least I had a feeling that with technology, more and more activities would become contactless and transparent leading to reduction in bribery; but, Alas! It’s not been so!
A nation’s character comes to the fore in the moments of crisis. I thought, we showed a great resilience of character in our fight against the COVID. People were largely compliant and till unlockdown happened in phases, they stayed indoors. Of course, it’s not to downplay the sufferings of certain sections of the society- mainly migrant labours and poor – but within the constraints of population bursting at seams and other practical difficulties, we managed Covid better than many of the advances countries. We also rallied behind our Government, when China’s aggressive expansionism was effectively thwarted by our forces.
But how do we tackle these big social malaise of corruption in public life and practices such as bribery? I think there is a dire need of financially enabling certain sections like police, primary teachers, health workers, sweepers, messengers et al, who are not paid as well as their private sector counterparts. The contrarian view, however, is that no amount of money can be substitute for character building, which is primarily the responsibility of social institutions like family and schools. In fact, bribery and corruption are not limited to lower strata but in fact, could be a much larger game in upper echelons!
Indian doesn’t need such sobriquets like the one making us leading in bribery rate in all of Asia. Let’s work towards making India clean, green, beautiful, peaceful and corruption free, which is possible if we do not forget our spiritual teaching and roots that exhort us to detach ourselves from materialism. There’s no end to material requirement for which any amount of income may not be sufficient that would eventually lead to unhealthy practices such as bribery!