Before moving to a topic of what I would discuss, but first one think I would like to know. What does the word Patriotism mean to you? Let me tell you what I think it should mean. Patriotism is not about believing or supporting that my country has no problems and it is just perfect. Patriotism is about realizing that my country has a problem and I will do something about it. Our problem for India is corruption.
There are more than 1.21 billion people in India. 22 % of the population is under the poverty line. Truckers in India alone pay US $5 billion in bribes annually. Billions of India’s hard earned money is hoarded into foreign havens for private use. The population is being cheated out of their right to have an equal chance in society. Money coveted by corruption is estimated to be at a 100% rise annually. Trillions of rupees are being stashed away while 80% of the population works for 30-50 rupees per day. It’s as if the honest are poor and the crooks are rich. India is a rich country with poor people.
Corruption has become a routine in many sections of the government. Politics is an example-criticized every day. Parliament members are accused and tried of corruption related crimes and all kinds of ministers are brought down after being caught in scams. Bureaucracy corruption is a pain that common people face every day. A study showed that 50% of the people had first-hand experience with using bribes or influence peddling to get a job done in a public office. It is disgusting to think that we have to pay bribes to a person just to do his job. Officials often steal state property. In cities and villages throughout India, consisting of municipal and other government officials, elected politicians, judicial officers, real estate developers and law enforcement officials, acquire, develop and sell land in illegal ways. Tendering corruption is wrong and even dangerous.
Many state funded construction activities have a deep-dark hidden hand behind them. These hidden hands are usually corrupt public work officials, materials suppliers, politicians and construction contractors. They conduct shoddy material substitutions and play with citizen’s lives by building dangerous roads, buildings and bridges. These are only a few examples of corruption in our country.
Such corruption creates many obstacles for the people that eventually it becomes virtually impossible to overcome. Government hospitals are ill funded leading to mistreatments, over crowdedness and refusal of treatment. They are ill funded because the money needed is being lined into the pockets of corrupt officials. Students in government-aided schools are being given poor materials such as worn out school buildings and outdated text materials. The students have a very limited vocational range.
The knowledge and the talent of the country is with the children of the country, and that knowledge or the talent could be anywhere from math to tennis. The children of the country are the future of the country, and the future of the country is being suppressed and its options cut off. These children are being cheated out of their future by ill funding to schools and the education department due to corruption. If such corruption continues it will surely lead to the demise of the economic status of India.
The government of India has given you ways to protest. Criticize if you have proof. Strike with organizations such as the IAC. The Jan Lok Pal movement is a newer movement, which is gaining momentum. Refuse to give bribes. Report corruption to higher officials or anti-corruption organizations. Do not give up hope no matter how much you get discouraged, do what you think is right. Even small steps help start by in your school start by an anti-corruption pledge or campaign, have debates and discussions that would spread knowledge of the topic.
Being a patriot is realizing that ‘My country has problems and I am going to do something about it.’
AUTHOR : PRADEEP KOTHARI
PUBLISHED BY : JASNEET SETHI