By | Tawseef Ahmad Mir

Corruption is worse than prostitution. The latter might endanger the morals of an individual, the former invariably endangers the morals of the entire nation (Karl Kraus).

Corruption story is making its roots firm in our state Jammu and Kashmir. The problem even worsens when society starts to expect a certain level of dishonesty. Some of the stories that have survived from the period of frauds in settlements, of the undeserving making it big and many deserving families getting overlooked show that not all was settled on merit and most of those who had been entrusted with the task of ensuring fair distribution did not live up to what was expected of them. It remains an open question what impact this early corruption and undermining of trust has had on the psyche of the nation and society. It occurs every time, errors of omission or commission notwithstanding, people fail to understand and carry out their responsibility. Those who are not using their time, effort and resources optimally, given their commitments and responsibilities, are not doing justice to what they were entrusted to do. When the objective before us is human welfare then good intentions and correct methodology must be seen in our behavior and body language. It is not only when a teacher takes money for passing or failing the students that she does not uphold to her commitments. If she is not teaching to the best of her ability and is not putting in the requisite effort to make it understood to students, she is also not being honest with her commitments, her profession and with herself.

Standards of integrity have to be set high. Many of them have to be internal standards, society will have to create binding external standards too in order to ensure possible optimum performance. The problem for society as a whole becomes even worse when people start expecting a certain level of corruption for their benefit. Too much time and effort is being spent on trying to justify intentions and actions rather than on achieving the good results.
Much of the current debate on corruption, privilege and VIP culture in our society is actually about the trust and standards for expected behaviour. But our society is telling those in positions of privilege that what they have been given are positions of responsibility and not just of privilege. Those who are benefiting or have benefited from positions of power and privilege in any way would never like to be told that they should not be self-indulgent. They will also not like the people who remind them of their selfishness. Laws against corruption and abuse of privilege have to be strong and need to be enforced. Lawyers are supposed to behave as protectors of the law. Setting the right societal norms need to go hand in hand with getting the laws right. Norms then also help in enforcing the laws.
All we need is to challenge the existing norms and to create better ones for the betterment of our society. It has been well said by Joe Biden “Fighting corruption is not just good governance. It’s self-defense. It’s patriotism”.

Author is a research scholar of Botany at Jiwaji University Gwalior-MP.
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