In the midst of this ‘Hazare havoc’ we do indeed witness the country’s middle-upper-lower or whatever class battle with the authorities who have lathered themselves and smeared us all collectively with the grime of corruption.
This Gandhi wannabe of the 21st century was reprimanded by our doddering prime minister last week, during his annual speech on independence day, saying that the curse of corruption in our nation (which is so deeply embedded) could not be removed by the wave of a magic wand. He was right. The poor lokpal bill -which was originally the star of the show, has been shoved backstage leaving an eager crowd to take up the act, mollifying their sly side partings and pulling their puritanical white shirts over their bellies of inbred and ancestral fraudulence.
Much has been said about the not-so-saintly supporters of Anna-ji and the fact that corruption has been around every nook and corner of our nation-albeit the dealings of politicians, to small scale businessmen and even beyond CEO’s of large companies. My mother even ruminated upon the whole mayhem, concluding that inspite of all these uproars, nothing will be able to come of it, because -as she puts it, no matter how many times you chop off the branches or even the trunk of a diseased tree , the disease will still persist as the roots will still remain. How can you remove corruption from a nation, when the people are naturally corrupt themselves?
We may take a little stroll off this path of main-stream allegation or analysis- and delve into what exactly is meant by a person being naturally corrupt.
Let’s take a simple case of an abject hypocrite, who lives his or her life by the law of contradiction. I know of a walking and talking example of this who studies in my college. It is unfortunate that this girl, who I came to be friends with last year, has to be saddled with such a fabulous introduction-but she totally deserves it.
I came to class one day to find her reading one of her thick books. She’s a pretty high scorer in literature and philosophy and hopes to take the IAS by its reigns.
“hey ____!” I greet her.
“Oh! Hey you! What’s up?”
I tell her about a situation that has been boiling and bubbling in my close knit group of friends. It concerns a weak-minded girl who forever obsesses about her good-for-nothing boyfriend, to the degree where she is so besotted by his false affection and blind to his sleazy deeds.
My intelligent-hypocritical friend’s reaction to the account of the other girl was awe-inspiring, because it was so well thought out and , well -just plain logical.
This what she had to say:
“See, the problem is that we women have to centre our lives around something or someone. We all need them to revolve our lives around . Indian women have the tendency to centre their lives around male members-because they’ve been brought up that way; from generation to generation, witnessing our mothers or grandmothers live according to males-eating after them, being at home for them to give them whatever they want, etc. Now most of us (in our generation) have taken that and transposed it onto our ‘boyfriends’-who more or less happen to turn out to be complete idiots…..And since women have been taught to seek stability from such an early age , whereas males haven’t-they’ve been taught to seek experiences, run wild all over the world , when the day comes where they decide that they want to seek other things or people apart from us, we break down. We feel lost and scared. A widowed, divorced or single woman has no place in the Indian society”.
I was literally reeling in with so much awe, that even the shrill sound of her mobile phone ring tone didn’t shake me. When she answered the call, I realised that she was addressing her boyfriend, who is some type of officer in the army and is posted in the volatile regions enveloped by maoist activists. I took to reading my book (‘Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi) and didn’t want to intrude upon her….which shortly after, was impossible not to do!
“Hey baby!….Yes I had a long talk with your father this morning as soon as I woke up…..Papa’s (she’s already taken his Dad to be her own) been told to try on that suit that’s gone to the tailor’s…and I made sure he picked up his dry cleaning last night….He wanted me to send that email to (some colonel) and I did..Oh and I told bhaiya (his brother, since she’s the only child in her family) to complete his research and find out what exactly the job expects of him.”
Then adding to my dramatic jolt of surprise she beemed, “Now where’s my lollypop?”
She said it so coyly and squeakily that it made my hair stand up. Was this not the same person who gave me such a stoic and individualistic dose about the unfortunate reality of so many girls?
I suddenly realised that so many among us have no choice but to lead a double life, where we say one thing we may truly believe in and betray it in the next moment when we’re required to act. It stems from the inability to do what we know is required from us, as we know that our survival is ensured in the compliance to popular opinion- no matter how much it degrades us in the process. It is because we cannot face and consequently deny our corrupt selves, that we indulge others, feeding them with the same type of corruption that may seem necessary for their survival too-when it actually ought not to.