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Why should a Public Servant not be Corrupt?.

"Public Servant" as the term implies is hoped by the "Public" whom he is expected to serve; to be the epitome of service, contentment in the said service, and dedication. He himself is one of the public; and post-retirement, he gets to be the normal public again. Prior to his posting in service, and during his posting in service; he lives, breathes and serves the public. Positively or negatively, depending on his temperament; his actions in service have intense impact on the public.

Most often, when he begins service, a public servant, is altruistically dedicated; but few years down the lane, he evolves to become a part of the "system". The "system" with its own set of rules, when it comes to Indian governance. The "system", which in reality, almost thoroughly replicates the movie versions of the public servant - as the bribe-grabber, the goon, and the corrupt. So much so, that, as in the movies, you have to search for the "needle in the haystack" to get an uncorrupt one. Take for example, the public servants that make the headlines these days. They are more so as the ambassadors of corruption, than as uncorrupt. It seems to be the "in-thing", the trend.

And why should he, be "not corrupt"? Firstly, because his corruption is injustice to the public, whose money, is that which becomes his salary. His salary is obviously drawn from the tax-payer's money, which is the blood and sweat of the general public. Secondly, because Indian philosophy categorically states that one gets back according to his karma. Why pile up all the guilt, to be exposed at the end of your term, or thereafter, as the embodiment of corruption in service? Why permit any good at all that you did while in service, be eliminated in the public eye, and stamped as "uncorrupt", sometimes even for eternity? Most importantly, look at it from the angle of empathy. When a public servant needs his need met, how would he like it? That the "system" treats him fairly, or unfairly? Or that there be unequals, who are better considered, and him only an equal?

"Power corrupts; and absolute power, corrupts absolutely". A "Public Service Posting" becomes a "seat of power" that leads to corruption; when it is used to yield benefits personally, which is not the constitutional intention of public service appointments. Rule of law, and equality before law, is the prime thrust of the Indian Constitution and Governance, for the citizens. Equality is suppressed; and constitutional requirements unmet; when corrupt power thus seizes equality. Equality in an "uncorrupt system" of Governance is the watchword, and essence of a democratic setup. Thus the world's largest democracy, India, (often quoted as the "world's worst democracy" also), cannot afford the existence of corruption in public service, which impairs the peaceful and harmonious living of the public. And public servants are key, to such a set-up which literally runs on public servants in all arms of its Governance; the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary.

In the gamble to be rich and famous, instantly; the long-lasting ideals and goals of the Indian democratic system which its freedom fighters gave their all to; are often forgotten and side-lined by corrupt public servants in post-independence India. Thus, the very essence of being Indian; is lost in the quagmire of greed, selfishness, and the uncurbed desire to make huge profit, or to make it to the top. And once on top, it's a vociferous ambition to cut and kill, to be able to stay there forever. That makes sense, with a totally capitalist or autocratic dictatorship. But such is not the need and sense of democratic India.

Dedication to the service of the public, simple, honest and humble living, and teaching the future generation, to love, to respect, and to preserve the values that are at the heart of Indian culture and philosophy, cannot be achieved until, it is led by example. Corrupt public servants, lead by dangerous example, which could ultimately breed a new generation of totally corrupt leaders, if they follow in the steps of their forefathers. Though it is often treated as a mere act of service, which is often overlooked and closed a blind eye to; a corrupt public servant in present day India, is a Pandora's box, best left unopened; but that could explode by itself any moment, unable to withstand the intensity of its own flaws.

Alice