One weekend, when Sathya’s friends had come over, they began discussing the land scam that shocked our state. It involved the son of a BJP minister. His friend said something simple but insightful, “If fathers stop leaving property to their sons, there won’t be corruption”. Is that so simple? Can corruption, that has plagued our country for so long, & in such enormous proportions, be tackled at the level of a family? Can we ask fathers not to leave their property to their sons? I’d thought corruption was a systemic problem; it needed a 360 degree treatment. Isn’t India one of the Top 10 Most Corrupt Countries in the world?
A philosophical look at corruption is that its manifestations are severe in societies that have seen periods of deprivation. If I’ve been hungry for 4 days & not eaten a morsel, on the 5th day, if I’m offered a lavish spread, I’d stuff my face with all that I can lay my hands on! A society that has seen days of penury laps up every opportunity to accumulate wealth. A father, who has seen days of struggle & hardship, tries very hard to ensure his child doesn’t go through the same ordeal. He wants to acquire, by hook or by crook, all that he sees. The son’s secured future becomes a testimony to the father’s hard work. He builds an empire of abundance. Land, gold, cash, cars, houses, everything is amassed to the maximum extent possible & in the minimum time available.
If there was no inheritance, they needn’t bend backwards to build up their bank balance. All they had to do was give their children good education. Give them wings & they will fly. But the reality is fathers spend their lives making money for their “suputra”. Sons spend their lives enjoying the riches. The vicious cycle continues. For those who become rich, the sons have the security of dad’s loot to lead their lives. Those who don’t become rich, slog away in a 9-5 job trying to make ends meet. The unfortunate fathers suffer a feeling of inadequacy that they couldn’t do anything for their children. Hence the slightest opportunity that presents itself where they can make money, they snatch it. Who hasn’t heard of human greed?
Once the pressure comes down on the father to stockpile money for his son, the pressure goes up on the son to study, to pursue a career & to make an honest living out of his life. After all, he does not then have uske baapdaada ki jaaydaad to fall back on. Khud kamao khud khao. But these so-called simple solutions are very hard to implement. It needs a change of mindset. But attitudes don’t change overnight. It usually takes years & years of awareness & education.
The ones who don’t take a bribe in India become a laughing stock. There is a case in my husband’s own family. There are 2 people in the state forest dept. The older one is retired, the younger one still in service. Everyone laughs about how, sarkari kaam mein ‘uncle’ made no money; the other one is admired, “yane duddu madidarey gotta?” You know how much money he has made?!
A lady I know keeps grumbling about how her father didn’t make any money as a Jail officer, he did not make enough to even construct a house, & how he is still living in a leased place. What should’ve been a thing of pride is a source of great pain & shame. They’d rather the upright man had misused his position. They could’ve at least had their “own” house by now!
Unless this attitude changes, corruption can’t be controlled.