Home » The meditations- deeper insights into the dark shadows of ‘corruption’

The meditations- deeper insights into the dark shadows of ‘corruption’

by Rinku Khumukcham
0 comment 9 minutes read

Dr. Aniruddha Babar,
Dept of Political Science, Tetso College, Nagaland

The word ‘corruption” comes from the Latin word ‘corruptus’, meaning ‘mar’, ‘bribe’, or ‘destroy’. It is, therefore, defined as the dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power typically involving bribery. Corruption is a deviation from normal human behavior in a geopolitical setting whereby causing the derailment of individual and institutional accountability, transparency and natural justice. Transparency International (TI) defines, “Corruption as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain,” and include behaviours like public servants demanding or taking money or favours in exchange for services; politicians misusing public money or granting public jobs or contracts to their sponsors, friends and families, and corporations bribing officials to get lucrative deals. Hence, from aforementioned etymological analysis we can understand that corruption may be classified into five groups: 1. Collusive 2. Extortionate 3. Nepotistic 4. Investive 5. Transactive. Collusive corruption means undue advantage extended to the relatives and friends. Investive corruption is a kind of investment that can help when future needs arises. Extortionate corruption involves collection of payment/taxes by force. Transacting Corruption is a smooth give and take. Broadly speaking corruption is an abuse of trust to shamelessly fill pockets with super easy money. Such phenomenon are very much visibleto the wise eye and inquiring mind in our Naga society.
Let us all accept that the Nagaland is a corrupt state trying to survive on a slippery moss of failed governance. Corruption seems to have become a norm in the normal functioning of the state machinery and its nut-bolts. Much has already been written and spoken on corruption and corrupt practices in the state. There is a common consensus that corruption is entrenched at every level of the society, and tribal nepotistic influences over electoral politics-administration-governance and filthy money power have been identified as the leading causes. The economy of Nagaland is fully dependent on the Central Government funds. The state cannot sustain on its own. Despite this fact, the embezzlement of these funds is irresistibly an order of the day. For decades, as it is in the public domain, that the state financial plan presents deficit budgets. The root cause of this saddening financial drought is corruption. The observation of the Hon’ble Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India in its report on the Government of Nagaland (Report No 2. of 2020) that it is a “matter of grave concern that these malpractices (cases of excess/fraudulent drawal) persist despite being highlighted in past audit reports” is actually a moot point in the entire scenario. The culture of impunity has been killing the soul of Naga society. The culprits are roaming around freely well beyond the reach of the hands of law. This is the story of Nagaland through my eyes.
I generally avoid participating in debates on corruption. It is not that I am avoiding my responsibility as a concernedyoung citizen, Public Intellectual and a Professor, however somewhere I feel that such ‘ritualistic’ talks have no use. My observation says that the people often understand corruption from a very narrow and shallow perspective. Corruption or behavior that can be termed as a corrupt behavior is a manifestation of a problem which is invisible and much more complicated than its manifested symptoms.
The causes and effects of corruption, and how to combat corruption, are issues that have been very much on the discussion table in the Naga society. Moreover, various historically influential philosophers, notably Plato (The Republic), Aristotle (The Politics), Machiavelli (The Prince and The Discourses) and Montesquieu (The Spirit of the Laws), have concerned themselves with political corruption in particular, albeit in somewhat general terms. For these philosophers corruption consisted in large part in rulers governing in the service of their own individual or collective—or other factional—self-interest, rather than for the common good and in accordance with the law or, at least, in accordance with legally enshrined moral principles.
Again, we can observe that the Thinkers of the past too have failed to reach to the exact conceptualization of the reality of corruption.
The problem with those who study corruption is that they concentrate on the manifestation of the material symptoms however they do not know the disease which generates such symptoms. For me, Corruption is primarily a mental disease and corrupt actions are basically resulting as symptoms of the disease.
What is the beginning of Corruption? What is the true genesis of corrupt behavior that generates corrupt practices? Or if I transform my queries and ask, corrupt body, corrupt speech, corrupt mentality, which one is the worst? What would be the answer? If we are able to inquire deeper, we will easily discover that answer is mind fraud of corrupt mentality, because it is beginning of everything and is the worst. Thinking/generating corrupt thoughts is sinful however in order to consider it Sin thoughts must be acted upon, must be executed, put into action. Therefore, when people continuously think corruptly, by default it will automatically cause a corrupt action in absence of the presence of ‘inner system’ of ‘checks and balances’.
In Court of Law, we argue that two elements must mandatorily involve in the Crime, the first is MensRea and the second is Actus Reus. The Mens Rea is a Latin term for the intention or knowledge of wrongdoing that constitute part of a crime as opposed to the action or conduct of the accused. The Actus Reus also a Latin term refers to action or a conduct which is a constituent element of a crime, as opposed to the mental state of the accused. In order to established crime, these two elements have to be present and be proven beyond reasonable doubt. So it is the mind that primarily is a culprit. Body is merely a slave of the mind, and therefore it is not wrong to assert that a person who is engaged in the corruption or corrupt activities (as listed before) is basically suffering from a serious ‘Mental Disease’ hence needs treatment and cure.
Let us inquire further and understand. An individual who engages in corruption suffers from several underlying problems. Are they craving for something? This could be wealth and materialism, or it might be something about the exercise of power and the temporary boost of confidence that gives. They are likelyengaging in some form of hatred or at least a lack of compassion for the victim of their crime, implying a further state of mental and emotional damage. There is a serious absence of moral insight or wisdom. They are likely to have moments of torment about corrupt practices (fear of being discovered, guilty feelings, anger, shame, defensiveness, a will to commit other crimes to keep from being caught out). And, evidently, theywillfully engaged in sustaining ignorance about the world and the impacts of their choices through which sinfulactions have been generated hence aggravating their mental disease, as the more the individual engages in these sinful activities, the deeper the trouble gets, and the more serious the psychological, physiological and material consequences. Fundamentally, the corrupt official is also not in control of their mind; the craving, desires, greed and ignorance dominate and torment the individual, poisoning their quality of life and the relationships with others.
So, as we can see that the problem of corruption is not really what we think it is. It is not just about pilling up of illegal money or involving in illegal, unlawful actions consequent to the breach of trust but much more than that. We have to understand that origin of corruption is relevant to ignorance which is a result of greed, clinging, hatred, arrogance, misconception, inconsistency and ignorance.
So what the solution then is? Before exploring the probable solution let us remind ourselves that corruption first breeds in mind and then it is translated into evil action. In this context, the primary duty, therefore, of a man is to control mind by developing the practice of ‘mindfulness’ and ‘equanimity’ to generate ‘GOD CONSCIOUSNESS’.
Despite existence of several Laws and Law enforcing agencies corruption could not be curtailed in Nagaland rather it is increasing day by day. As previously mentionedcorrupt behavior is Mental Disease, therefore, it is important to challenge this behaviour with compassion and insight, guiding those individuals who can change their behaviour to do so.
As this evil condition arises in the mind, the transformation of the behaviour must also address knowing and guiding the mind. Such an effort may seem unattractive to a corrupt official, however, following a righteous and noble path is in itself rewarding, and brings real benefits, including inner happiness, self-respect, and the love of those around us. Where the individual is unable or unwilling to transform their behavior, appropriate sanctions should be pursued to prevent such behaviour which erodes the moral integrity of the current society and infects future generations and robe off their happiness.
Also, in addition to what has been argued here, in order to free the society from the tentacles of corruption, asset (Fixed and Liquid) disclosure campaigns (Self and Family members of Government officials including Class 1,2,3,4 employees, MLAs and Ministers)should be initiated by socially awakened, free spirited, visionary individualsand organizations. Let everyone who is holding the government office as an official or a minister or MLAor just an employee lawfully reveal their assets periodically in the public domain. Also, speedy computerization of accounts system, implementation of BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY on a war-footingwill go great mile in curtailing corrupt practices in the government. Also, strengthening and empowering citizens to hold government accountable will prove to be a sustainable approach that will help develop trust between government and citizens. For example, community monitoring initiatives can contribute to the detection of corruption, reduced leakage of funds and improved quality and quantity of public service. Moreover, a proper check and balance system be established to keep vigilance over mechanism through which government contracts which have been granted to private contractors.
However, if nothing works, I have a final solution. I appeal loudly to all my young students and friends to start asking questions to their parents about the source of their income. Ask them how their parents built mansions for family, ask how they can afford to keep fleet of vehicles, ask how they can buy you maybe one of the most expensive cars and bikes to go to College, ask them the how did they buy lands and properties, ask the questions. Such questions from own children- who are the real architects and stakeholders of Nagaland might lit up the dead conscience and ignorant mind of the people suffering from the mental disease of ‘corruption’ and they probably could see the light of ‘truth’ which will lead them to the ‘cure’ and finally to the ‘Pure life’-into the KINGDOM OF GOD.

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