Today a total stranger in the train told me, "Even if we have a thousand Lok Pals, we will not succeed in rooting out corruption. It has become a part of us, it is an integral part of our thinking." The train is over-crowded and there isn't space for the feet to rest on the floor. I am standing on one leg. The city is overcrowded and growing in every possible direction. There's no space to be the least comfortable.
Standing thus I nod a weak assent.
Before justifying such preposterous thinking let me point to the following weird facts that presented itself in the past few days:
1. A parents has to pay a donation of Rs 1,00,000 ($ 2,222) to get his child admitted in a school. The teachers in the same school are paid a salary of Rs 4000 ($ 100) a month (yes, you heard right, $ 100 a month). If they complain, they would be thrown out and labelled as incompetent. If they apply for another job and give a reference to this job, they would be passed off as lunatics and trouble makers. End of their career.
2. By buying a flat (a one bedroom flat costs Rs 50 lakh these days), a man should consider his life as having ended. He will pay around Rs 50,000 every month as installment for the rest of his life. (There are people who subsist on Rs 3,000 a month.) If he becomes unemployed his burden increases.
3. An average person from a well-to-do family draws a salary of Rs 50,000 a month which hardly pays for his installments, the children's education and commuting. Then what will he eat? Unless both husband and wife work, the family is doomed.
4. The aspiration level is high. There are neighbours with fancy cars, women wearing fancy clothes. How will a man get these? How will he keep his wife and children happy?
5. To marry off a girl requires a dowry of 10,00,000 (around $ 22,000) and Rs 5,00,000 more for the feast and celebration. Where will a man bring the money? That why people prefer to have boys, not girls.
We have become corrupted because of reason we cannot grasp. We moonlight as life insurance agents, multi-level marketers, part-time creative consultants, writers, artists, etc. to make that extra money to survive. Any wonder we grab for those extra rupees? Any wonder we become corrupt?