Rotten in the root

Arshid Malik

I am just not able to come to terms with the truth; the truth about the modus operandi of State and Center owned departments in Jammu and Kashmir. What I am talking about is the brazen corruption that has seeped into every part of the government run public services here. Corruption is no longer a “sin”; it is not even alien to the general public.

It is a part of the daily routine that spins in and out for every citizen down here and there are no lame excuses and no “I owe yous”. It is a truth that knocks out every pragmatic reason out of the term “public services”. Instead of people hired and paid by the government to serve the common people it is the latter who are all the time found serving the former.

It is so brilliantly dazzling out there in ever sphere of life that corruption is no longer “corruption” – that hated word but rather a rhapsodically musical parody to the demise of values, like “honesty” and “righteousness”. Corruption no longer needs the hackneyed quotes to contain it from roaming the lands freely.

All this and much more is so actively woven into the socio-economic fabric here but yet I am not able to come to terms with it. I protest the very “infestation” of “corruption” and that is just what it is, an “infestation” that people have come to believe is some precious part of their very make up. I protest the “untamed” and “unkempt” violation of all basic value systems at the humanitarian, the political, and the social and economic level by sinister elements generally referred to as “public servants” who indulge in corruption without even caring to “consider the environment they are polluting” and I hereby register my grievance with the State and the Central government for letting corruption stay where it is, by the very side of almost every government functionary that is.

I understand that there is rampant corruption across the country but that does not provide me any solace. I stand to hold people accountable for the State I was born and live in for I still have a conscience – a “commodity” that has gone “off shelves” of late.

I declare that I am not willing to live with this ominous design of living where every word is suffixed with “corruption” and yes for me “corruption” will stay inside the quotes as long as I am alive and kicking.

I declare that I am not willing to be a part of a system that is absolutely “moth-eaten” and where dust collects on truth and honesty more quickly than south Indian filter coffee is served.

I declare that I am not willing to call myself a part of a population that has acceded to corruption and which does not care to reconsider its options before “going high” on the greens and stuffing the pockets, shirts and pants of government functionaries with loads of money for getting something done. What is it? Is it the TV remote that has made us so dependent and lazy that we prefer “paying out sleazy sums” rather than walking the extra mile?

But then what can people do when the person occupying the “chair” is bent on “swindling” you off your hard-earned money, one may ask? Stop. This is what we need to stop. We need to stop thinking and believing that there are no good people out there. I tell you there are good people there.

There are public servants who care to serve and stand by what they stand for. If you are absolutely clueless about such existences just stop paying bribes. Things will get tough for you and by that way and manner you will meet this “lost species” in the face. Yes, you will have contact. After all I am not talking about aliens here.

Just protest and start paying out bribes and if you are an employee of any government run department please stop taking bribes, for they make you stink without you smelling it.

Do you know the feeling when you have just applied cologne or some deodorant and after some five or ten minutes you notice that the fragrance is lost, only to be encountered by someone who tells you that you smell very nice and sweet. That is it. When you stink for some time, you lose the smell. There are people about whom one is convinced at first glance that he or she won’t oblige to your request without “plundering you” – which is to mean asking for a fat bribe – and these are the people who stink the most.

And yes, YOU can stop it.


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