There is an urgent need to fix the moral decay in our system. The sooner it is done, the better it will be to save our succeeding generations from the scourge of corruption, writes Dr Mursal.
Contemporary societies have evolved certain distinguished attributes that shape and reshape society’s makeup to reorient social attitudes, preferences, and beliefs. Our society rests on secular and democratic credentials where equality and liberty are an inalienable part of human life. This century rests on the belief of humanism which accords a central place to an individual in a society.
In this respect, Montesquieu’s separation of power is supposed to play a prominent role. The distinction in the spatial extent of official jurisdiction in three branches was brought by the theorist to duly regard liberty as an inalienable right. It laid down the conditions for different branches necessary for smooth working without undue interference.
The executive branch has grown in size and weight in modern governmental structure. This branch is supposed to implement the policies, programs and laws framed by the legislative organ of the government. Their mandate is to ensure that what the government desires reach people at the ground level. They are authorised to make it successful. In a slightly perverted form, it appears as if the working of the executive branch is poor. The rising incidences of corruption have downgraded morale and the essence of policies in general and repute whole executive machinery in particular. Here, in Kashmir, the oft-repeated episodes involving top brass officials have become the norm of the day. Is it a moral crisis or materialistic boom or the confluence of the two?
The rational deliberation of the contemporary decision-making approach is attributed to the scientific understanding of issues. They are believed to be governed by reason. When this orientation manifests in human beings who are supposed to perform the implementation stage of the policy, the question of its success is bound to arise. Whenever such a deliberation reaches the stage of impartial analysis, what we encounter is the perversion of the whole policy. Some higher rung officials claim commensurable hush money for any work expected to be their obligation. They pervert the whole case of men in need to compel them for such payment. The people are subjected to harsh medium for their problem solution.
The Oxford dictionary defines corruption as “something that is evil but is supposed to be good”. Apart from being correlated to illegal money payments, it is intended to get the work done as a right from the men in power. However, the first manifestation has varied application because it takes care of the monetary as well as the moral aspect of corruption. Is this perversion of rationality in the 21st century?
Reason teaches man to respect the rights of others when authorised to keep the trust of power for a temporary period. However, the crisis of this reason in man came at the heels of materialism which teaches the saga of ‘Mine and Thine’. It ought to inseminate the ideology of individualism in man. Some people in office exploit the opportunity based on the twin character, Reason and Individualism. But to our dismay, the actual state of affairs presents the contrary and opposite image in reality. The people obliged to take care of the implementation stage of policy exploit the gravity of the situation due to extreme individualism in them. In Kashmir, the oft-repeated incidences are correlated to rank and file in almost all offices.
“The crisis we are facing today as a society came at the heels of materialism which teaches the saga of ‘Mine and Thine”
The worst-hit is Rural Development Department and some recruitment agencies. The government’s huge investment, especially through NREGA, creates avenues for the inimical elements to operate. The irony is that despite numerous checks and balances in a place like the RTI, there seems to be a nexus between some officials in police and civil administration. Otherwise, these events would have hardly been present in society. As someone wisely said, “the society where people are of good discipline don’t need police and where the people are of irresponsible behaviour, police presence makes no sense. After all, same people represent the society in police”.
The need is to implement policies in a responsible manner by overhauling of system. Summing up the discussion, the illegitimate actions on the part of some of the executive members are unworthy. The discrimination faced by people at the ground level because of the service providers is a mockery of modern bureaucracy. The pejorative sense of respect it gets isn’t out of choice but out of its karma.
The diversion of public funds towards the illegitimate sector due to corruption adds more burden because what is intended to make change comes at the heels of hush money. The checks and balances in place are inefficient to put a brake on these elements. There’s a need to reorient the approach towards this socio-economic disease. The RTI awareness programmes should be intensified to fully aware common citizens about their rights. Besides, there is a need of an intra-departmental monitoring cell in each department supervised by seniors. Apart from this, inter-monitoring link with centralised functioning supervised directly from the secretariat can help in transparent functioning.
Raja Rammohan Roy said: “Change should come from society within itself”. Unless and until we treat people in high offices with care and caution, the very base of society and the moral essence of humanity is bound to perish. It’s not the monetary loss that should concern us but the interlinking of other abuses related to monetary corruption. They manifest in the deterioration of societal character, which leads to rising incidences of crimes such as rape, trafficking, gender bias, etc., among others. It creates a menace of black money and criminal political subversions, which don’t augur well for society. That’s why there’s a need for immediate steps to fix the degraded system. The sooner it is done, the better it will be to save our succeeding generations from the scourge of moral corruption.
The writer hails from Shopian. She can be reached at [email protected]