Driving home at around 10pm yesterday, I saw a car enter and drive down a one-way. I stopped the driver, a young educated-looking man, and told him to look out and see how many vehicles he had inconvenienced. He was apologetic, saying that he had been in a hurry.
I asked him whether he was a supporter of Anna Hazare, and he gave an enthusiastic “Yes!” So then I asked whether he realised that what he was doing was corruption too. After all, what gave him the right to delay many other people just because he was in a hurry? I could tell from his expression that this thought had never occurred to him before, and when he followed my car, stopping to come and shake my hand and thank me for explaining things to him, it struck me that most of us don’t even realise the ways in which we contribute to the corruption around us.
Thousands turned out to support Anna Hazare across cities in India. Citizens from every section of society, every age group, men, women and children are showing their solidarity against corruption. It’s inspiring to see how many are out on the roads to support this cause.
Looking at the numbers, I wonder how many understand how much corruption is a part of our daily lives, and how much each of us is a part of it. I wonder whether the enthusiastic families who take their children to the anti-corruption rally might be the same ones who will drive home with their children sitting on their laps in the front seat!
We break traffic rules every day for our personal convenience, not realising the need to respect rules in a civil society.
Yet, we complain about the traffic chaos in our city, putting the blame on other drivers, on poor policing, on bad traffic management by the government... never giving a thought to how much we ourselves have contributed to this chaos.
Wearing helmets and seat belts may be laws in our country but we hate doing either. Is it because we don’t care about our own safety, or the law of the land, or both? We hate waiting in queue because our time is more valuable than the time of others in the queue. Somehow, this becomes the fault of the system and poor governance by the government.
We throw garbage from our car window and honk loudly, and blame the government because our cities do not look like London, New York and Singapore. It has become part of our value system to blame others for every wrong thing around us, without understanding our own contribution in making our country what it is. Without understanding that this is where corruption begins, and that we have promoted it in the first place.
Can I jump the traffic signal, then bribe the traffic cop to get away from the crime I have committed, and then blame traffic cops for being corrupt?
As an activist working for better traffic in Pune, I can only hope that people supporting Anna will immediately start following traffic rules. What a dramatic change we will see on our roads!
If we all start following other social laws in our daily life, our lives will improve without any Lokpal Bill, and no matter what political
party is in power.