Meera is a very good student. She has just completed her secondary school education and she has a very good percentage of 78. The whole world had been grilling it into her head that 10th is the most important juncture in her life. “If you put the hard yards in now, the rest of your life will be secured”.
But just like everyone else, Meera now realizes that the battle has only started. The immediate challenge now is to get an admission in a reputed school. The school she has been studying gives admission to only those students with 90 percent or more. The next best school in the locality is a bit more generous with the benchmarks. They have set their bars down to 80 percent. But she would miss out still. “That essay question with 15 marks. Why on earth did I leave it for the last”. She is cursing her luck now.
Meera’s father works in a bank. He has never taken advantage of his social contacts to achieve anything in his life thus far. But now he may be forced to do so. He is acquainted with the MLA from his place who has some stakes in the school’s management. Approach him or not ? He is in a bit of conundrum. But as days pass by, the uncertainty over his daughter’s admission grows. His wife’s face is becoming grumpier by day.
Finally, he decides to let go of his moral obligations for a good cause, his daughter’s future. After all, it’s not bribing, he thinks. Sure enough, he doesn’t have to give any money or do any other favours to the MLA. It’s only a matter of couple of phone calls and the seat is secured for Meera, but at the same time a seat is lost for another Meera who has more than 80 % and is eligible for admission under normal circumstances.
But for now, Meera and her family don’t have to bother about that. They can go on blaming the system comfortable in the knowledge that they are outside the realms of these deceitful practices that have engulfed our society.
Rohit is thrilled. He is over the moon. From a very young age, he has been fantasizing about going to the U.S. Now, it has become a reality. He finds wrong in most of the things in India. Even though he had been born and brought up in India, he hates the dirty streets, the crowded buses, the corrupted officials and everything that have had become to characterize our country. But he no longer has to be content with any of these quirks.
He is now faced with a small problem. The procedures for his visa would require him to submit his birth certificate. But poor man, he doesn’t have a birth certificate. He now has to go to the Corporation to fetch it, but he doesn’t have much time left to finish all the paper works. If he applies for the document now, it will take at least two weeks to get it. One of his friends comes up with the idea that if Rohit pays the clerk dealing with applications of these kind at the Corporation office some money, he would make sure everything is done faster.
Rohit doesn’t have to think twice about it. With his friend, he goes to the corporation office and tells the clerk how urgent it is for him to get that certificate and they also fix an amount for the clerk’s assistance. The rest is easy. The clerk makes sure that the files are moved smoothly from one table to another. Rohit gets his birth certificate within three days and the packing for U.S can be started now.
These are just made up stories, but not unfamiliar to us. At various times, we might have encountered circumstances like this in our lives as well or have seen them in the life of people close to us. Times when we are caught in a dilemma. What’s the right thing to do ? Will doing the right thing be of any help now ? Is it no big a deal if I just bypass the rules for this one instance ? We often end up doing wrong things knowing that we are doing it wrong, but we tend to console ourselves by leaning on the fact that it’s fair to do such small malpractices in a society which is stained with corruption all over.
Our nation has been going through turbulent times. Public has been crying out for justice and better governance. But there are some questions that we need to answer as citizens of this country. We have always been aware of our rights and been fighting for it. Be it better roads, infrastructure, education, health and anything that the state offers, we need it better. These are all justified demands as well because a progressive society should always be getting better on these fronts. But are we concerned about our responsibilities as much as we care about our rights ? Are we playing victims of our system far too much ? Is our indignation always valid ?
One disconcerting attitude from the public has been the ‘Us vs Them’ way of thinking. For us, politics has always been some sort of dirty game played by corrupt people who are taking advantage of their powers and are looting us. Sure enough, there are spoiled brats in politics. But not all of them are there to make personal gains. Extremely cynic public is not a healthy sign for a well-functioning democratic set up. We have to develop our conscience so as to decide what’s the right thing to do for the overall progress of our country.
The recent success of Aam Aadmi Party in the Delhi elections has given rise to rejuvenated hopes for people. On a closer analysis, this success owes a lot to the anti-incumbency mindset and the political uncertainty of the public. But in the longer run for a movement like the AAP’s to gain traction and make visible changes in the society, people have to shed this kind of apolitical and skeptic outlook and become model citizens themselves. In democracy it’s the people or the Aam Aadmi who have the real powers. So it’s the right time to start the clean up from the bottom itself and we, the people of this country are all responsible for it.