Thursday, March 1, 2012

We have fought corruption. What about you?

This post was selected for Blogadda's Saturday Spicy Pick.

Since the very beginning, I have been vocal about the fact that I am against the "India against corruption" movement. Wait! Hold it! Read further, first.

I don't know Annaji, Kejriwal or any of the ppl behind the movement. But I know myself, I know the people around me, I know the situations we face, and, I know how righteous we, as Indians are. My qualm is, against the thousands of Indians, who blindly joined hands to fight against corruption, not many of whom are sans corruption themselves. One would say I am generalising, but that would be an argument just for the sake of one.

Look around. If you don't want to accept that you yourself have resorted to some kind of corruption at some point of time, what about the people around you? Be truthful. How many times have family members not paid parking ticket, or bribed the traffic police/ticket collector, purchased rail tickets via touts or resorted to school/college admissions through 'source'?

'Source' is a big thing in our country. Everyone has some political connection and it is very conveniently used for admissions. Now, I cannot possible go shake everyone around me and give them a gyan on anti-corruption, unless I get rid of it from within myself. 

My question across all public forums had been - Have you removed corruption from within yourself, to point a finger at the government and others? NOT a single person came up and answered this, all they kept repeating was, how wrong I was in not supporting such a great revolution. Television coverage of Azad Maidan during those days was seriously funny! Thousands of people ignoring their daily chores/appointments, loads of donations pouring in, and all that was desired was media attention. A handful of people might be doing it for the right reasons but what were the rest of the thousands doing there on the ground? Rendering support? I say, your support would be more valuable if you clean your own neighborhood off corruption. Each neighborhood adds up and we have a corruption free country. Instead, what did you do? You piled up in thousands, caused traffic jams, didn’t turn up at your work places and vied for camera attention?

When the time for ‘jail bharo’ came up, television channels showed parents with children at the venues. What were these parents thinking? Bringing toddlers along and putting them to jails will make this country a better place to be?

Yes, we are neck deep in corruption. Yes, it needs to start somewhere. And, yes, I am no one to decide how it needs to start. All I am saying is make your own world corruption free and make it grow. Teach your child it’s NOT ok to break signals. Don’t take them to jails or mass morchas, teach them to value others in their lives. Teach them the difference between the right and the wrong, but first, you learn it yourself!

There was a lot of noise made about how NOT to vote for Congress. Fair enough. So WHO do we vote for? No answer.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I went to Puri for the weekend. It was our first trip to Odisha, and it was via rail. The overnight journey was mostly uneventful, except for when the TC came to check our tickets.

On the electronic ticket, next to my details, instead of Female, it showed Male. Now the TC didn’t point it to us directly. He twisted it a bit and asked us, “Samarpita is a boy?”. [Ok Sir, my name is rare, but YOU are dumb!] It took us a while to understand what the smart ass meant. I showed the return ticket (which thankfully said, female) and tried to reason with the TC. Husband took charge and said, “Yes, this is a mistake on our side, how can we rectify it?”

By now, the TC had moved ahead, so my husband followed him. It was evident the guy wanted to speak to him away from the other passengers. Once at the outer end of the compartment, he said, “I am not ticking next to your names right now. I will be getting down in the next station, I won’t be penalizing you.”

My husband found this strange. “If you are not ticking next to our names, the next TC will ask to check our tickets and will go through the same conversation. I realize this was a mistake during computer booking, and we are ready to pay the fine. Please give us a receipt.”

The guy just walked away.

The next morning, 3 TCs came and crowded over us. Before coming to us, they were asking for new passengers who had boarded, but when they came and stood next to us, they knew who we were. Fair enough. We gauged they had already been informed and had a plan between them. When they asked to see our ticket, while taking it out, my husband said, “We need you to reissue my wife’s ticket. We’ve made a mistake in it.”

The expression changed on all 3 faces before us. The main guy, at the center, said, “You will have to pay the ticket's charge and a fine.”

Husband, “Yes, I am aware of the rules. Please tell me the amount and give me a receipt.”

TC, “Your fine will be doubled because you have almost reached your destination.”

Husband, “Not our fault. We had asked to be fined last night, when the other TC detected this problem in the ticket. Why didn’t he?”

TC, “No, still you will have to pay double fine.”

Husband, “Fine. Show me you rule book and make me a receipt of the entire amount.”

TC, “Why do you want to pay so much? You pay us a little instead.”

Husband, “So that another one of you catches us at the station and demands more money. No, we accept we are wrong. We wish to pay the fine and follow the required process.”

TC, “No one will catch you in the station.”

Husband, “Still. We will pay in full.”

TC, “We shall escort you to the exit, you pay us.”

Husband, “You follow the entire process now, or if I am caught at the station, I shall lodge a complaint questioning why I wasn’t fined the first time my ticket was checked.”

The three TCs got up and left. They didn’t come back to ask for fine or bribe, neither did anyone stop us at the station. We wish someone had, because the whole incident deserved to be reported. Rarely does it happen that someone is ready to pay the penalty, but it was not accepted. We did think of complaining, but if you have been to Puri station, you will understand why we didn’t.

It felt good to stand up against corruption. It felt good to ask for their rulebook when asked for double penalty, and see the colour drain from the faces of govt servants. Corrupt people need to know that we are educated and we know our rights as well as duties very well. Many a times, we pay a small bribe to get out of bigger problems. Instead, I would say, face the problem then and there and end it. If you follow the correct procedure, it will never grow big.

If there is a license to be made, go stand in queue instead of getting done via a driving school. Just like you are getting your license w/o giving a test, remember, someone else is too. This person might not know how to drive at all, but tomorrow, armed with a license obtained by the wrong way, he does have the right to drive. And hit, or kill. If you get your license the right way, others too will follow.

Khud ko sudharo, aapke aas paas ki duniya khud hi saaf ho jaayegi.

Ek baar try karke toh dekho.

Disclaimer: I started this entry with the IAC movement. While my views are different, I do respect the extent to which Annaji and team have tried to fight against corruption. It would have been nicer if he and his aide Kejriwal had cast their votes, like other ideal citizens did. To have faith in someone, we need to see them doing the right things, don’t we?


  1. People should understand that corruption is like Diabetes. It can only be controlled. It can no way be eliminated (from our lives). It may be shameful but i will take my stand and say, I support corruption for my normal living & existence.

  2. Object Bhau (Bijoy)- it can be, only if people think they can clean self rather than society!!! On the other hand for some situations, it seems like there is no corruption (keeping aside the Swiss accounts). Steep rise in population, had developed a race in securing things (material / non-material) which is also considered as corruption somewhere down the line. its a big never ending debate!!! isn't it? but cleaning self is very necessary.


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