If you are from Bihar you know the impact of corruption; it defies laws, trumps logic and degrades humanity. What will be a better resolution for the New Year than to ask the New Generation for the promise to eradicate corruption? It will be herculean task worth taking.
I am from a serene village of Bihar and proudly sing the song of the son of the soil. (*1). However, I have lived in the USA for so long that corruption was an academic concept until I faced the situation on one of my visits. Not that corruption was unknown to me but it was eye opener when I faced it personally. Only then I realized that fairness might have been the humanity’s oldest paradigm but the new paradigm is bribery. It is ubiquitous and preferred way to get things done and there is no escape from it. If you do not want to pay bribe: go jump in a lake.
Having experienced the humiliation of bribery, I looked beyond. What I found was frightening. The people involved were the power elites of our society known as elected leaders, highly educated bureaucrats and greatly incentivized businessmen who control the destiny of the people. People rely on them for justice but needless to say justice is not what they have in mind. They have shared objective to misuse of the power entrusted to them for personal gains.
Who is not aware of the the dishonest, unfair and illegal means the power elites use to accumulate personal fortune? As far as they are concerned, bribery, favoritism and nepotism are the privileges, not disgraceful acts. So, they plunder public funds with impunity to enrich themselves.
Unfortunately, our great State of Bihar is the cesspool of corruption. Well publicized corruption case was the Fodder Scam. But, there are other scams of similar enormity. Multi-crore purchases of medical equipment, MNREGA scam involving crores of rupees and Bihar flood relief scam like Fodder Scam have one thing in common; public treasury was looted and goods and services were purchased from particular business interests at the cost far above market price. People suffered but the power elites benefited.
On a smaller scale, ask Angan Bari Workers. They will tell you that they have to share their allowances with their supervisors whether it is their salary or the food allowances for the children. Ask the recipients of Housing money under Indira Awash Yojana and they will tell you that they must bribe to obtain funds. Ask the people about the police. They will tell you that bribing the police works wonder. The real culprits get away by bribing and wrongly implicated accused pay the price of the horrendous justice system where cases languish in courts for years.
Corruption is the way of life in Bihar and there is consensus that the dominant source of ill-gotten wealth is corruption for the power elites. They use political patronage to enable bribery, extortion and abuse of power and siphoned off the resources allocated for development. Bihar is in the perpetual state of corruption, which is not isolated to any one sector; it permeates across all sectors of the State government. Therefore, the consequences of corruption are enormously grave. It hampers development and the society suffers from defective, dangerous and inadequate infrastructure, poor and incomplete roads, badly constructed government buildings, unkempt hospital facilities, poorly built, bridges and housing units and above all, inferior educational system.
Now the question is what if anything can be done to ride Bihar of corruption? Many would argue that it is impossible to eradicate corruption because of its omnipresence. But, I am not that pessimistic. I have some optimism and my optimism emanates from the New Generation. They are hungry for change and change they will bring. It may not be brisk but it would be real. We may not see the end of corruption but we would see powerful struggle to end corruption. My only hope is the struggle would be peaceful and the new generation would act smartly, fearlessly and without trepidation unlike the previous generation that did not even try to end corruption. However, if the peaceful revolution can not bring satisfactory result, it would be just to launch rebellion to eradicate corruption.
The primer of peaceful revolution in democracy is to capture the imagination of the masses. If the cause is to oppose corruption to bring about good governance, I am sure honest, fair-minded and responsible people would lend support. Who does not was want corruption free society and who would be averse to unequal education, unequal wages, and influence of back money in election, graft for awarding government contract and, above all, the highhandedness of power elites. I see the opportunity and justification for uprising and the New Generation would be remiss to shy away from it. To tolerate corruption would be unpatriotic as well as irresponsible. It would be dereliction of civic duty and repudiation of responsibility for a just society. On personal note: I will include dowry for marriage another cause of the unrest.
Warning: The power elites are strong and vicious and their reaction will be equal and opposite. First they will deny the existence of graft, bribery, favoritism and cronyism and then they will do everything in their power to thwart the uprising. They may use police power or let the criminals loose to subdue you. They may even tempt you with favor to renounce your action but how resilient you are in the face of all these obstructions would depend on your dedication. If you are dedicated to your cause, they can not break you. But if you are spiritless, you are destined to fail. Do not risk failure because your failure will discourage future generation to take action to eradicate corruption. But if you take the risk in spite adversities; you will win the world. You will leave the legacy of good governance and your posterity will thank you for your courage and determination.
(*1) Son of the soil by Zolani Mkiva
I do not have perfumed lips
But I speak the truth
I do not have cat eyes
But I can see the true colors of the universe
I do not have donkey ears
But I can hear what make sense and what is a nuisance
I do not have a dog nose
But I can smell and distinguish between carbo-monoxide & oxygen
I do not have a big heart
But I do have passion for love and I love people
I do not have soft hands
But I can deliver my people from shame
I am the son of the soil
Like daughters of the land
I am the filament of freedom
I am the pistil of peace
I am the calyx of consciousness
I am the corolla of peoples cause
I am the pollen of prosperity
I am the anther of amicable solutions