All this hullabaloo over corruption brings to my mind this story that my dad once narrated to me. Here goes !
Once upon a time there lived a King (how else do you expect our very own fable to begin!) Coming back to our King – this King was used to having milk in his sleep. So a servant would prop him up while he snored, and put the glass to his mouth. The King would drink it up and promptly go back to sleep. One day he grew suspicious of the servant. He suspected him of taking a few sips of milk from the glass and replacing it with water. Since, it was difficult for the King to stay up to monitor the servant, he appointed another servant to keep vigil. Now the older servant, who actually did drink milk every night got this new one also to taste the fresh, creamy, sweet milk which had ground almonds in it! So the King still stayed suspicious for obvious reasons.
He employed another, guy as a supervisor. This chap was known for his integrity throughout the Kingdom. Now he was retired and so, more than happy to be working again. But as luck would have it, the two servants, got him to taste the milk too! The senior guy had never tasted such milk, so resistance was pointless. Now the three servants thought that mixing so much water in the milk would get them caught. The senior servant came up with a flawless plan. Each night they divided the milk amongst themselves and quietly brushed a teaspoonful of milk on to the King’s moustaches.
A few nights went by, the king still was suspicious. He summoned all three servants one morning and shouted at them in his royal, booming voice for cheating him. The senior servant quietly stepped forward and pointed to the mirror near the King’s bed. The raja saw his face in the mirror. He felt embarrassed and confused at the same time. There it was, his big bushy moustache covered in milk.
What’s the relevance of this story you might ask. Well by adding one more institution that is what we will be left with – milk smeared on our moustache while the cream is shared between more heads.
Where do you think the Lokayukta will descend from? Heavens above? So how do you guarantee that he or she would have a spotless conscience? For all those who supposedly feel strongly about the ‘system’ – go change it from within. Contest an election- start with the municipal one, join the civil services, go to the offices you feel things are going wrong in and file RTI – follow it up. One candle over a weekend evening is way too convenient. Teach your children well. Make sure they don’t lie even if it is gullee cricket. Next time a policeman stops you for speeding, skipping a light or not wearing a seat belt don’t speed away or try to squirm out of it. Ask him for a valid challan. Till such time you (when I say you, I don’t mean you the reader I mean us, the collective conscience) shirk from such small everyday acts of honesty, I doubt if your candle will burn bright enough.
We can burden the common man with another institution when all we need is a greater transparency and accountability. So I shall not be fasting or attending any candle march. I shall use my power as a citizen to choose wisely and question the authority. And yes, I am a part of the system albeit an insignificant one and I choose to fight the battle from my very small unnoticeable front.
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