Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sudden Tryst with Aam Aadmi Corruption

Surprised by the title? I was surprised, rather shocked, too when I saw it.

Whenever we talk about corruption, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Government. Ministers.  Government  Officials. Media.  I agree too, but in all that blame game we forget to include ourselves. Yes, the very own Aam Aadmi. Media always depicts us, the common man, as the great sufferer of all the ill deeds of the people-in-power, always at the receiving end, the downtrodden. But that’s not always true, as I witnessed myself today. Let me put the picture into place.

So, today I went to the zonal Delhi Traffic department to get myself a learner’s license. My over-enthusiastic Dad had already made me fill in the application form 2 weeks back, in fact made me visit the office twice only to find it closed due to the extravaganza called Lok Sabha Elections. But today, luckily everyone was on duty. But the whole crowd was not. Almost everyone wanted to cut the line, get in front by asking for separate lines in name of senior citizens or ladies when there was actually no need, parents bribing clerks to get their kid’s written test cleared. And we happily let it happen, thinking that’s way the things happen here. And we don’t feel the pinch until and unless it happens to us directly. Just like me. It was only when I saw the gal who was standing behind me in the queue on the Counter#1, pretty much clueless of how to fill the form, asked me to fill her form, and actually got her license much before me. And that’s because her dad decided to bribe the clerk and save time. The whole process became infected because of that one person. Not that he was the only one. Not that this was the first bribe. But, to think of it, things must have started somewhere.

We always crib about larger than life problems like inflation, recession, rising fiscal deficits conveniently attributing it to inefficient governments, corrupt ministers and flawed policies of the bureaucrats. What we forget, is that we are somewhere behind it, may be operating at a minuscule level, but still there, fueling the vicious circle.

Trying to cut a long queue short, getting license without a test, bring back office stationary home for free, bribing to get off a challan, showing VIP cards to avoid paying toll tax. It has become such a routine for us, that we don’t even count this as corruption. Small, yet Deep. And even if some of us realize it, we don’t try to change because we see it happening everywhere, and the feeling of being left out cripples us. No one wants to be right at the cost of losing the game. Change seems distant to me, not unless we stop blaming and start mending!