Legitimizing corruption

Dr. Bashir A Dabla

The Indian society was characterized with some degree of corruption throughout. However, throughout history, corruption was considered harmful and undesirable. Today, the issue of corruption has been taken to the forefront.

In this process, sadly the political interests have been given priority rather than getting rid of this grave problem. This dynamic has exposed all sections of society to the depth, roots, importance and expansion of corruption. That has also led to mass sentiment against the initiators and perpetrators of corruption with the support of state.

Corruption is not an isolated phenomenon. It essentially represents a social-cultural phenomenon and establishes a particular type of relation between those who get materially benefitted and those who suffer. While it is consciously legitimized by some individuals, families, groups, institutions and organizations, it invites the wrath of masses. Thus it emerges as characteristic feature of social order and cultural ethos. Corruption at mass level has risen because of materialism, modernization, industrialization, urbanization and secularization.

At the same time, the implications of corruption have proved pervasive and disastrous. It engulfs the entire society. It was again observed with clarity that while some individuals, families and groups got benefitted in terms of economic benefits, social mobility, political power and so on, the rest of society suffered leading to their economic inequality-exploitation, social stratification and class antagonism and conflict.

In addition to the violation of values and norms of social life, corruption has deteriorated the culture and civilization, degenerated the moral basis of social relationships, social structure and social order. It also negated the ideology of humanism, rationality of merit, justice and establishes an order of injustice, conflict and discrimination.

Experts maintained that corruption directly results in injustice, discrimination and dehumanized the way of life. This has been experienced by the Indian society in its post-independence era. Consequently, there has been mass reaction against it. A prominent sociologist characterized it as ‘cultural and inseparable part of Indian personality’. Other expert termed it as ‘most revealing and most damaging’ phenomenon but has to be seen in relation to other social realities such as about 26 percent children in India being malnourished. There is a need to take initiatives in an organized and systematic way to negate the trend of corruption effectively and institutionally.

Like other states in India, Jammu and Kashmir is deeply corrupt. While international NGO, Transparency International put J&K as the second most corrupt state in India, the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO), New Delhi put it as the most corrupt state in India.

Unlike other states, corruption in J&K was consciously and constantly encouraged by the state to achieve the so called ‘broader political objectives’. This politicization of practices of corruption in a way legitimized these and nobody could check or control these. Thus the ‘political corruption’ at official level introduced it from top to bottom and later permeating into the civil society. This historical fact is supported by many political and social realities.
Corruption is also a live issue in J&K. But, no Anna Hazare or Baba Ram Dev can dare to rise against the state here. You can easily be booked under AFPSA or PSA or imprisoned without any charge or trial.

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