Sunday, February 25, 2024

Corruption – sucking our life blood

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By Jenniefer Dkhar

Man is blessed with the power to reason and think and to distinguish between what is right and wrong, what is moral and immoral. This is the one thing that separates man from other creatures. Yet today man has degenerated into a brute instead of a reasonable being with the power to think. One wonders as to what will become of mankind here on earth? This bleak perception emerges out of the tremendous change happening around us. Corruption has grown by leaps and bounds but we are mere onlookers and at time are party to this heinous crime in some way or the other. The greatest enemy of conscience is corruption which is the abuse and misuse of power for personal benefit. It could occur in different forms – bribery, extortion, misappropriation of funds and embezzlement, favouritism and nepotism or even cronyism. The reason behind a corrupt mind is the silencing of conscience and the absence of ethics and morality in societal attitudes. A man with conscience will have the ability to distinguish and judge between right and wrong. A conscientious man will constantly be troubled by wrong actions. Victor Hugo believes that conscience is God present in man. Unfortunately conscience is the voice that every individual soul is born with but it is also a voice that many of us prefer to sideline, disregard, shun or even bury for good.

Let us look at one of the most crucial aspects in life – education. I cannot help but take the example of my beloved school, Pine Mount School. The recent imbroglio in which the school is caught in vis-à-vis the admission results for KG class. We are all aware of what had taken place that resulted in the defaming of the institution. The point here is that while the Education Minister need not have worried his head about admission into the school admissions, the parents and guardians too should have allowed merit and the capability of their children to decide the admission. Alas this was not to happen. Thanks to the interference of politics and nepotism.

As parents we want nothing less than the best for our children. As parents we will always strive to do all we can for our children’s comfort, welfare and happiness. The point is are we so blinded by our love for our children that we fail to allow them to grow the way they should. The fear is that in the long run will this hamper the future of our young ones. If we can indulge in nepotism and seek political recommendation at their tender age there is no guarantee that we will stop here and never do it again for old habits are hard to die. Gradually as our children grow and they are to go to college we will again follow the same route. In fact even getting jobs is no longer based on merit. It seems merit is no longer an eligibility criterion. A classic example is the white-ink scam. Again education has received a major set- back. Nepotism, favouritism and the power of money is dominating in Meghalaya. Mr Toki Blah is absolutely right when he says that education is one very important matter that needs adequate and prompt deliberation in our state.

Health is another grave matter. Go to any public hospital and there is a shortfall of medicines, doctors and nurses. Mostly frequented by the poor, the ignorant and poorly educated people from the villages, these hospitals have been a near disaster. What is really needed is a quick revamp. There are examples galore of lackadaisical attitudes from those who should be providing service to the sick and poor. These health personnel have been paid to do their jobs but they behave as if they are providing free service to those who come to the hospitals or health centres for treatment often at critical times. The poor cannot ask questions for they will be shouted down. They have to take everything lying down. If this attitude is due to the lack of conscience in us then what is the point in attending churches and temples. The Khasis says we can only love God if we love man first. If we cannot love our fellow human beings then what is the point in praying?

Every morning tea as we read the newspapers or watch the news on TV there are reports of crimes committed against women and the girl child. Rape has been the most visible offence and a ghastly crime. Today above all other crimes rape seems to be taking the lead be it in our very own state or the entire country. It is mentally disturbing to even read and watch on the news channels the violation of a girl child as old as three years. News reports have it that even a seventeen month old baby girl fell prey to this act of monstrosity – “Hundreds of rape cases pending with DC courts”. Rape simply spells the death of conscience and a display of the brutish nature that has overpowered a man with a mind to understand and reason. This also shows the lack of concern and the death of our humanitarian nature and a lack of will on the part of law makers to tackle crime seriously and their failure to take the criminal to task. The question is why are cases against rape pending for so long? Isn’t rape one of the most heinous crimes that should galvanize the conscience of one and all? Where is our sense of right and wrong? Where are our moral values? Why are our souls so wicked and blind to the inner voice of conscience? The reason why there are rapes taking place in abundance is also due to the fact that the criminals are never brought to book. When there is delay in pronouncing justice there is bound to be a lack of fear on the part of the evil-doers. After all even after committing a crime they can still walk away scot-free without any fear and without their conscience pricking them. Sadly with justice delayed and justice denied the victim lives with the scar of shame and pain while the perpetrator is allowed to lead a normal life. We must all give it a thought because this is a crime that is not only disturbing but also horrifying. Our frozen conscience needs to be awakened.

However, in spite of the bleakness around I believe that all is not lost. If we the people wish to make this world a better place to live in we certainly can. It only requires a tinge of goodness and a pinch of honesty in whatever we do and whatever we feel that will help sustain our worth. As parents and teachers and elders we have grave responsibilities towards our children. Besides providing our children with all that they need materially we must also nurture their hearts and minds and help them nurture their conscience by living exemplary lives. We have to make our young ones realise that the most important value that they can imbibe upon on this earth is the value of righteousness that can come only with a mind and heart that is principled, fair and conscientious. Mahatma Gandhi says that there is a higher court than the courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supersedes all other courts. If our faith and religions fail to ignite our conscience then we are really lost.

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