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Sharing The Corruption Podium

It may border on the sadistic, but we cannot just wipe away that grin or smirk of ‘˜satisfaction’ from our faces when we hear, re-hear and retell the stories of the huge financial bungling or misappropriations in the preparations for the Common Wealth Games, 2010, the Adarsh Housing scandal, 2G Spectrum scam and others, for this proves that there are other contenders who have the potential to share the ‘medal podium of corruption’ with Manipur. The difference and this is significant, is that while the whip has been cracked and responsibilities fixed in the other cases, it is hard to remember any high profile personality being given the marching orders on corruption charges in Manipur.

This is a significant pointer to the fact that while others are keen to rein in the monster of corruption, Manipur is perfectly happy and satisfied with the present status quo and this is where the difference will be felt in the next four or five years. Universally corruption is a dirty word but in India and particular Manipur, there is a certain air of aura associated with this term, or else how does one explain the halo around a person who has become a crorepati over night through dubious means. Topping this and adding more tamasha is the trend of these fly by night operators, suddenly transforming into social workers and finding a place of respect and awe among the lesser beings.

This is glorifying corruption to a certain extent, for if the people are going to flock to these very people, who had amassed considerable wealth by using all the means available to them-read as muscle power, gun culture, connection in the right places, especially among the numerous sons of the soil who have emerged from nowhere-then it is nothing less than doffing our hats to corruption or to the person who can pull off the most audacious fraud. ‘Madi Touba Ngambani’ does not have any other connotations today, which is a complete reversal from its earlier meaning, when it could be interpreted differently, but today the general mood amongst the public is that we need a leader who aptly fits the bill of a ‘Touba Ngambani’ personality. Translated roughly into English, it goes something like a man who can do anything to achieve his goal by hook or crook. The other cases which we have mentioned at the opening sentence of this editorial have the characteristics of Manipur written all over it and if the matter was not so serious, we could have raised a toast, hailing Manipur as a trend setter with quite a number of high profile personalities involved !

This is our single most important contribution towards Nation building as well as molding the moral and character of our youngsters. The scams unearthed all over the country in quick succession points out very clearly that corruption is eating into the vitals of society and the Government machineries, and adding to the tragedy are the shady and murky dealings of vote bank politics, which has dealt a blow to merit, diligence, honesty and sincerity of purpose. The icing on the cake or the issue being discussed is the lethargy of the Government towards tackling this menace.

In any global survey on corruption, India is sure to figure somewhere at the very top, the cream of the lot, we may say and some of the points we have mentioned are directly responsible for India winning such a dubious distinction. A distinction is a distinction that is what the political leaders feel. Politicians thrive because of corruption and corruption has become institutionalized as both feed from each other or scratches each other’s back, but this is not to say no voice of concern and worry has been raised against this trend. The significance of the ‘Open Letter to our Leaders,’ released after minute deliberations should not be lost on anyone. The open letter was not just a charter of demands or conditions, but highlights the ‘governance deficit’, and ‘to take urgent steps to tackle the malaise of corruption, which is corroding the fabric of our Nation.’ The Open Letter was the fruition of a meeting held at Mumbai on January 15 where personalities, who had held important positions in the Government and society and had a say in the process of framing policies of the country were present. It was a gathering of well known personalities, including figures such as former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India Bimal Jalan, Azim Premjee of Wipro, Keshub Mahindra of Mahindra and Mahindra, Jamshyd Godrej of Godrej Group, HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh, Anu Aga of Thermax, ICICI Chairman emeritus N Vaghul, former Chairman of Hindustan Lever and Rajya Sabha MP, Ashok Ganguly and a host of other well known personalities.

That such a group of eminent personalities deemed it necessary to come out with an open letter, expressing their concern over the trend of corruption, says something very significant and apart from the ugly side, it is also a sort of a reassurance that the intelligentsia have not altogether given up India as a lost cause.  Why can’t a similar exercise be held in Manipur too, or are all the well known personalities suspects when it comes to the question of corruption? The Government needs to do something concrete to crack down on corruption and we think this is the ideal time with a Prime Minister being a man, whose integrity is beyond any doubt. As for us, the smirk on our faces was a natural reaction or response to a situation or development, but there was nothing to feel good about it.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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