By Amit Singh Negi
Edited by Namitha Sadanand, Associate Editor, The Indian Economist
I was horsing around in the market with my friend, when I asked him about his Summer Internship. He told it was easy to apply until the official asked for some Verification document from Police station. So I asked how the experience with the cops was. ” Come on! I didn’t go to cops, just paid the official 200 bucks and got the training. Thank God! The bribe system exists in India” said the 21 year old NIT student.
Well I wasn’t very shocked, I am well acquainted with this attitude of my contemporaries. It seems that young Indians have accepted corruption as a legacy. There is the mammoth belief that you can’t get a Driving License or Passport without nepotism or bribes, so much so that people prefer driving around without a DL. With such a pathetic outlook of Youngistaan, there is no big surprise that India ranks 94 on the Global Corruption Index.
With the new BJP- MODIfied government at the crease, the citizens have high hopes & aspirations for a ‘Shreshtha Bharat’. President Mukherjee also said that corruption will have no place in the new government. Well, we strongly hope it happens but can India be really corruption free with such a carefree attitude of youngsters?
Corruption is not a brand to be associated only with policemen, ministers and other government officials, but it’s something we all are part of. The evils of corruption doesn’t enter you, like a haunted soul, on one fine day but it’s more of a learning process, starting the day you see your dad or uncle proudly maneuvering his motorcycle in between the queue at a petrol pump or the first time you see a long queue in your hostel mess and you sheepishly cram in front of your friend who also curses you mentally.
Well the universal excuse of ‘We are an over-populated country’ is fair enough. Of course there are less opportunities and more struggles at every nook and corner. With loads of expectations from family and society, a middle class Indian youth has enough to worry about than to revolt against an official who asks for bribes. Since childhood, we have been taught to play it safe and blindly follow conventions, be it choosing our colleges, careers, hobbies and even lives. We are expected to follow our so called ‘successful IITian bhaiyas’.
We are not habituated to using our heads, courtesy the limited Independence we get as youngsters as compared to our western counterparts. With this herd – mentality, how are we going to be the future leaders of this vast nation? Even bigger question is- Do we care at all? To answer this question, we need to have a brief look at the life of an Indian youth. By the age of 18, you finish mugging for the 12th grade board examinations and finally realize that there is more to life than school. Up to this point, your life and thoughts were mostly controlled by teachers, television & exams. But before you start reading between the lines, Board results come and based on that, you start your wild goose chase for colleges or coaching-centers for competitive exams. Finally you reach a college and for the first time, experience the freedom and independence of life. You enjoy this new life in college, there is so much to see and do than to read the editorial on the new government policies.
But you do feel patriotic and accountable to your country when you see millions of FB posts of ‘VOTE INDIA VOTE’ & ‘VOTE FOR CHANGE’. Being an eligible voter, you want to contribute, but due to lack of knowledge about politics, you don’t know whom to vote for. And then, you resort to your favorite mode-herd mentality. Since your professor told you that if BJP wins, your job prospects will bloom, you crazily follow him. The professor may be right but did the youth use his head?
When Dr. Kalam said, “If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher”, he knew only awakened mothers, fathers and teachers can groom the youth. Analogous to having education, we have to inculcate our own thought process. When we can present our views so loudly in the virtual world of Facebook and Twitter, we surely can do that in our real lives. For making a corruption free ‘Shreshtha Bharat’, the youth today has to do more than JUST sharing patriotic facebook trolls.