Corruption is today a world-wide phenomenon. In our own country some people in high positions have been charged for it. A corrupt person is termed immoral, dishonest and unscrupulous in his dealings.
His disregard for honesty, righteousness and truth results in his alienation from society. He is treated with contempt. But as the erosion of values leads to decadence, remedies for the social malaise remain elusive, and so no amount of contempt can eradicate corruption which is a symptom of decadence.
Corruption is the most virulent when crises everywhere threaten the very existence of the society and the faith in life is shaken. It has always been there like the leech, but when the system grows weaker and the boat flounders, it gets bolder and drains its victims of the last drops of their blood.
The older the system the weaker it grows and fails to solve the riddles of life that grows more complex everyday. So men lose faith in it and let it drift down. At this point corruption takes over and plunges the entire society.
After Second World War the old system with all its values was left in a shambles. The crippling effects of the war, the recessions and depression, and uncertainties in a faithless world encouraged cynicism in a section of the population.
This section included the government officials dealing in essential commodities. They found the post-war conditions ideal for fishing in troubled waters and getting richer. They formed a sort of vicious circle in which more values and honest intentions no longer held valid.
The flourishing black market in essential commodities, adulteration of even baby food, bribery, fraud and economic, political and administrative manipulations with an eye on earning profits have brought untold misery to the people.
One would say the corruption in India has an ancient lineage; it is sanctified by tradition. The author of the Arthashastra made some remarks on government officials of his time which are relevant even today: “Just as it is impossible not to taste the honey or the poison that finds itself at the tip of the tongue, so it is impossible for a government servant not to eat up at least a bit of the king’s revenue.
These in the post-war world became only bolder while eating up government money and accepting bribes. Today, when India is free, these officials representing all government departments are very close to the most corrupt businessmen who are too unscrupulous to let any opportunity of amassing profit slip.
This collusion broadens the base of the vicious circle and corruption spreads like wildfire to engulf the entire society. The political and social guardians depend only too much on the rich communities and they look indulgently on while these communities hold the entire society and the government to ranson. Corruption starts at the top and percolates down to the whole society.
Such corruption cannot be confined to the towns alone. It is equally widespread in the villages where the dishonest officials and the traders carry the germs of the disease. The tyranny of confusion and price rules the land and the people are helpless victims of corruption everywhere.