Pt. Shriram Sharma Acharya
Corruption – is not a thing, it is not an external object. It is an internal flaw in the character of a human being, which shakes up his moral and ethical foundations. It is a mental affliction.
Corruption pierces the boundaries of religion, sect, culture, society, history, clans and shows its presence everywhere. Today government, administration, politics, even our social life nothing is left untouched by corruption.
It has become an incurable epidemic. This is a global problem, it’s not about a country or a society.
Acharya Kautilya has described corruption in his epic work – Arthashastra (Science of means) – in the following way – “It is possible to track the flight of a bird flying high up in the sky, but its impossible to track the activities of people who abduct money from the royal treasury”.
Acharya Kautilya describes eight forms of corruption. They are – Suppression, Use, Behavior, Concealment, Deprivation, Consumption, Alteration and Forfeiture. In other words – pratibaṅdha or creating obstruction, prayoga or inappropriate usage, vyavahara or illicit trading, avastāra or faking accounts, pariahāyana or encouraging tax evasion, upabhoga or misappropriating funds for one’s own use, parivartana or exchange and apahāra or plundering.
General Nejushen has termed corruption as – Cancer of a nation. And according to him corruption is a product of a perverted mind. When a whole society becomes corrupt, it adversely affects the moral gauge of people and organizations. In them instead of honesty and truthfulness, selfishness and deceit flourish.
A Muslim scholar – Ibn Khaldun, ‘Abd al-Rahman (1332-1406) has stated, “When a person gives in to consumerism, the desire to earn more than the current wages becomes quite strong”.
To achieve this he wants to break all the moral rules and boundaries and where this happens the “chain reaction” of corruption starts.
The word corruption is used in three contexts – bribes, extortion and favoritism.
All the three are of similar nature. If we analyze them, it would be like so – It always happens between more than one person. When a single person commits this crime its called cheating but when it transpires between a group of people its called corruption.
Chiefly it’s done in secret, behind closed doors. People deliberate between themselves and then for their own vested interests take action. Here, in such a fraud there is no explicit breaking of laws, but the fraud is executed with systematic precision.
Drafting a law cannot be the only option available to eradicate corruption. An individual’s strong moral character, honesty and courage are a must to tackle this vile demon. It requires both inner and outer strength to deal with the evils of corruption.
Therefore, people need to be educated to prevail over their weakness of greed (one’s own personal interest) and attachment (the interest of the near and dear ones) and become brave to act and be strong in character.
The widespread evil of corruption can be eradicated only when such thoughts and intents arise in people’s minds and they act on it.