1. Corruption at Individual level
Example — In school, a student brings a chit to the exam, and no sooner than the teacher is away, he cheats.
One more example — An individual finds an umbrella in the bus, he picks it. He sees there are a lot of people around, but nobody sees the umbrella, and none has seen the man picking it up. If the man keeps it, without asking if somebody has lost his umbrella. Isn’t that possibly stealing?
Why does it feel tempting? — A shortcut to success, and in this example, the student wanted to explore his boldness or dare.
Why is it wrong? (What’s the payoff?) — It’s a seed or start of corruption, the decay of integrity, and the deterioration of individual values.
Influencing factors — Parents (culture), friends (peer-pressure), environment (media, movies etc.)
Solution — Abiding to zero tolerance for corruption, there is no guarantee that an (irrespective of nation, or whose son it is) individual will be corruption-free throughout his life.
If you are a parent, teach your kids words like conscience (vivek), etc. early in their life.
Motivation — Once Sachin Tendulkar caught the ball like a hedgehog, none of the cameras could see the ball. All they could see was that he rolled in mid-air and followed the roll on the ground. The umpire was about to give out, but Sachin said the ball did one tap to the ground and the batsman was not out. He did what was right when no one was watching. That’s integrity.
2. Corruption at Societal level
Example — Once, a sage asked a king — Rajan if you want drought and famine to go. Tonight, ask every citizen of your kingdom to bring one cup of milk and pour it in the dry well in your courtyard. Next day to their surprise, everyone saw that the well was filled only with water.
Everyone thought, If I take just one cup of water and mix it with water and nobody will realize it.
One more example — An individual finds an ₹2000/- note in the bus, he picks it up. He sees that at the same time another man saw the note. Another man blurts out that it’s not yours. The individual says neither is this yours. In the blink of an eye, both of them agree to split it ₹1000/- and ₹1000/-.
Why does it feel tempting? — Shortcut to success, listening to the herd's voices and getting validation from others, getting assurance and security that everyone else is also doing the same. You get to point fingers at the government, say "system kharab hai or blame others.
Why is it wrong? (What’s the payoff?) — You got a quick win, and you also got a tribe just like you, but this pleasure based win and experience is hedonism, and it takes you away from your true potential of what you could be; away from being a true hero, a true leader.
Societal level corruption, builds a detrimental culture, a way of life, it rots the nation and future generations coming ahead.
Influencing factors — Mindset of someone doing societal level corruption is not my problem, chalta hai attitude, language creation and the way we use it — Traffic cop is called Pandu (derogatory), and bribe is called chai-pani. — Rishwat dena toh khud papa ne sikhaya (from movie 3 idiots)
Solution — Education, many people believe that with education societal corruption will get reduced, it works to some extent. But what’s observed is that educated people with low life-values shape their narrative to mislead and misguide to suit their agenda.
Education can educate a person, but not necessarily a corruption free citizen.
On a different stroke or track — Money can buy a lot of things, but it can not buy class.
Motivation — India is the 85th least corrupt nation out of 180 countries. It’s a Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International. So basically it’s a questionnaire asked to both Indians and people abroad on their perception about India. People from the Netherlands and Japan are honest and corruption free, we go gaga over the stories of their honesty and non-corruption, we can also become like them. If tourist Indians can change themselves to be honest and corruption free, it means it’s possible at the societal level that each and every Indian can become societal corruption free.
If there are two job candidates, Ramesh and Suresh
Ramesh has life values in which honesty ranks 1st and cleverness ranks 2nd
Suresh has life values in which cleverness ranks 1st and honesty ranks 2nd.
Whom will you hire? — I will be hiring Ramesh.
3. Corruption at Systemic level
Example — You receive an invitation from the event manager, to join a mega popular corporate award ceremony, and if you pay just ₹5 lac they will announce you as the leader of industry in that category and facilitate you.
Why does it feel tempting? — You get ego pampering, power and prestige
Why is it wrong? (What’s the payoff?) — You are rigging the system to your advantage, a well deserving candidate will not get the award. Just like organized crime, organized corruption is lethal, This happens at the institutional level and more in the bureaucracy for getting deals, contracts, job postings, etc. The public is looted systematically, tax papers money is used in scams and scandals.
Influencing factors — Politics (majorly ruling party), lack of good functional opposition party, independent judiciary, news media, etc.
Solution — Catch the scams on camera, technology can help, make it public in social media, file RTIs unearth wrongdoing; if news media is not speaking about it, raise your voice, do a fact-check before forwarding any content. Raise your voice, tweet or speak about it, and do peaceful morcha where required.
Motivation — When Modi came into power, he said, I will stop (systemic) corruption, na khaunga na khane dunga. But throughout his first tenure, corruption didn’t stop, it became covert and advanced. The news media have no clue about it and the government at the center has already declared that government’s public data as unreliable.
From the phrase — Choose one battle and choose it wisely — Instead of battle against corruption, Modi and the BJP have chosen to go for battle of being in political power in the center and all states. Nitin Gadkari, before going to the election for 2nd tenure, took a U-turn and said you can’t expect corruption to get over overnight. It will take years and decades.
Now, if the majority ruling party, with full public support in India and abroad, can’t stop systemic corruption. The party that has so much power that in their ruling period all media houses could be pulled to their side, nuclear tests could be done, Jammu and Kashmir could be made into union territories, but cleaning up systemic corruption. Nope we (they) can’t do it. Which means it’s such a big monster, that it can’t go away.
You might say, "What if someone says no to corruption at their workplace and they lose their job or it could be a threat to their lives?" Yes, it might take a Gandhi of a man to take a stand and say no to corruption to bring about transformation.
I still feel that It’s possible for India to become true (systemic) corruption free. It will need a political party, a working 4th pillar of democracy — that is, the press and Aam Janta—who want to make Indian systemic corruption free.