7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018

We can fight corruption only through spirituality

Corruption is the fruit and we are the root.

No one can denounce corruption and dishonesty in public life without first examining and probing himself deeply.

We are all corrupt and we are the root cause of corruption and the endemic corruption we see in public life today is the fruit of the collective greed and avarice of the general populace.

Politicians are not a special corrupt class of people who have descended from heaven; they are one amongst us. Although we loathe to be identified with a corrupt politician, we have to introspect and then admit that all of us have all the negative qualities of a politician albeit in a minute degree and given an opportunity, we all are quite capable of rising to the lofty heights which our corrupt politicians have ascended. Only opportunities are lacking for all of us and only a handful of vicious corrupt people reach the summit of power and indulge in unabashed corruption.

The only way corruption can be combated at micro (individual) and macro (society) levels is by reviving our eternal spiritual and moral values. For this, the education and empowerment has to start at home. When parents encourage their children to become successful at any cost completely oblivious to all religious and moral edicts, the natural outcome would be the emergence of selfish, aggressive and corrupt individuals who will strive hard and push ahead in the rat race and any and all means to become successful will become acceptable as the end justifies the means. Selfish and corrupt parents can only beget corrupt offsprings. Amidst the majority of selfish and corrupt people, there still exist some honest and decent people, but they are very few and far between and will be easily subjugated by the majority.

So the solution is a revival of our rich spiritual and moral heritage which has now been pushed to the back-burner. Integration of spirituality into politics will create a sense of responsibility and belongingness to people which is essential to ward off corruption. For this we need to impart knowledge and training to the ruling class. When the parliament or legislative assembly is elected, let's have all legislators undergo rigorous sessions on the concept of divinity of human beings, the laws of karma (every action has an equal and opposite reaction), the negative reactions to be suffered when people indulge in corruption and abuse of power for personal gratification, etc. Let's teach them the art of meditation, breathing exercises, prayer, and surrender to the divinity so that they will think twice before indulging in immoral activities. This training should not be a one-off session and should be an ongoing process.

But the moment something like this is mooted, it will bring about a huge negative reaction from the media and intelligentsia of the country branding and rubbishing them as communal and not in conformity with the (pseudo) secularism followed in India. We need to come out of this self-imposed aversion to anything to do with spiritual and moral practices. If Mahatma Gandhi, a frail old man used the power of spirituality to drive away the mighty British, why can't we deploy the same power to weed out this soul-killing practice of corruption? It is possible, but we need to have an open mind, be flexible and willing to explore alternative routes.

H V Ravi Shankar

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