, by DR. S. AUSAF SAIED VASFI
What is sapping plural Bharat? What is rusting its life and institutions? What is eroding its moral fabric and strangulating its jugular vein?
Is it poverty? Is it illiteracy? Is it superstition? Is it disease? Is it lack in resources? No! Nothing of the sort. It is CORRUPTION, in one word. The best of national brains have, of late, been straining every nerve to find a panacea. But no formula works. Is the malaise terminal or incurable? No. It is curable.
The problem is nobody applies his or her mind and tries to go deep into the roots that is eating into the very vitals of our body politic. A certain bias, a certain prejudice, a certain mental reservation is working against the potion that has worked in the past, and can even now eliminate the cancerous disorder.
A cursory glance at the patient could be rewarding: statistics, they say, conceals more than it reveals. In the House of 534, 28 per cent of our Parliament, i.e. 153 happen to be tainted or corrupt. Their guilt has yet to be proved. Technically this lacuna may be condonable but is it not a fact that the integrity of Caesar’s wife should be above board?
The tainted also do not face any bar from becoming ministers. Of the 153, 54 face serious criminal charges, including murder. It is these gentlemen who make laws for the country. What havoc the alleged murderers would have created in the families and how many generations would suffer because of their trigger happiness, the statistics do not tell.
Now, perhaps, there is no avenues of life which is free from corruption of abominable proportions. The word is now euphemism which completely hides the hideous face of what is the most hateful in human behaviour. The bad characters have unions who act in unison to remove the hurdles in their dirty ways. Broad daylight assassinations of whistleblowers and officers of integrity like the late Mr. Yashwant Sonawane and Mr. Manjunath are cases in point.
With the passage of time now the noblest of the noble professions are succumbing to the temptations of the sleaze, including espionage for Pakistan and malpractices in the military. Ms Madhu Gupta’s case, who was a diplomat in Pakistan, is a rather shameful case in question. Starred military officers have been publicly punished. India is surely but swiftly sinking knots by knots.
We feel inclined to hang our head in utter shame when we come across cases of corruption at higher levels of judiciary. That was, and is the only institution that happens to be the only ray of hope for the deprived and the underprivileged. Corruption has intruded into the sacrosanct territory also.
Black money is only one dimension of corruption afflicting the highly respectable. According to knowledgeable sources, the rich and the neo-riche, Indians have stashed away about $500 billion in foreign countries. Some economists estimate that between 25% to 45% of the GBP is the potential black economy.
Unimaginative efforts are on to partly bring back the amount. How tardy is the whole thing can be imagined from the report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB): In 2008, the latest year for which data is available, there were 8,554 cases for investigation across all States and Union Territories. Of these, 7,292 were actually investigated during the year while 2,543 resulted in charge-sheets... In 2008 there were 29,783 people facing such trials. Of these, trials were completed only for 2,985 people. Of those 977 were convicted. That translates again to about a third of all those whose trials were completed being convicted. But when compared to those facing trial, the proportion drops to a mere 3% (repeat 3%).... In 2008, there were 736 such people of whom 268 were punished in some form or the other by their respective departments. But only 65 of them lost their jobs. That means less than one in 11 reported for action actually were sacked. Do you feel satisfied at the these prosecutions and punishments?
In all sincerity Mrs. Sonia Gandhi suggested a 5-fold formula to defeat the disease: Fast tracking of all cases, effective laws and clear procedure to ensure full transparency, Congress CMs and Ministers at the Centre to set an example in relinquishing discretionary laws in land allocation and state funding of elections. It was followed by a Small Group of citizens’ suggestions that stressed the need of ombudsman or Lokayukta. It expressed concern over deficit in governance, restoration of self-confidence and self-belief, independence for investigating bodies and creating sense of purpose, etc. etc. All goody-goody talk. The point is: What about, for example, cases in which, say, a Lokayukta accepts bribe and subverts the process of justice.
ALTERNATIVE TO SUICIDE
This is not the full story. The sad and blood-curdling story is being enacted on a daily basis in rural Bharat where, more often than not, the proverbial aam admi has found no alternative but to commit suicide, leaving the poor widow and poorer children.
It should be of interest to note that NCRB began recording rape figures in 1971. From 2,487 in 1971 it is now a staggering 21,397 in 2009. Since liberation in the early 1990s, the numbers have more than doubled. Molestation cases, which began to be recorded in 1995, too have shown increase of about 2.5 times till 2008. Sexual harassment, which began to be recorded by the NCRB in 1995 increased 1.5 times.
Remember that rape is a unique crime. The victim carries it to cremation ground or burial ground. Now our judges, in their wisdom, have started freeing the culprits against the payment of money to the victim. Does it not mean that chastity or fidelity are goods available in the sleaze market? Add to it an application of the three mothers who have moved the Supreme Court to consider the case of their sons who happen to be what they call gay.
It appears as if woman, girl child and victims of gay sex suffer from the “worst of the worst tyranny”. It is man who has devalued women’s lives, who in our country happen to be at the bottom of sleaze. Respect is conspicuous by absence in male treatment towards the womenfolk. They need a safe space which is not available to them neither in their own houses, nor in street, nor in hospital, nor in buses and nor in friends’ houses. In the words of Ms Kishwar Desai, who is an eminent social activist, “Violence against women in India is almost part of the country’s DNA.” To quote her, “Even in our mythology, Drupadi and Sita are the dominant figures. And both women were publicly humiliated by their husbands just when they would have expected their support. Drupadi may have sought revenge – but for that too she had to depend on her husbands, the very men who had let her down. Radha, the ideal liberated woman, in love with Krishna, is also abandoned by him.”
– The Asian Age, Feb. 20, 2011.
Islam solves this problem by plugging the sleaze at its source. Extra-marital sex is prohibited. And the severest possible punishment is publicly awarded to the offenders and those who dare to have gay sex or sodomy. The Islamic ideology encourages marriage and looks down upon celibacy. That is the reason why crimes against women are minimal in the Arab Islamic countries.
What has to be significantly noted is that it is not the severity of punishment which discourages the potential offender but his unflinching faith in Allah, His divine Prophets and the Day of Judgement. Islam emphasises respect and nobility of the womenfolk as a whole. Paradise does not lie beneath the feet of the father but under the feet of mother. Man has been advised to keep his gaze down. Islam discourages mixed gatherings and life punctuated with gaiety and razzamatazz.