India ranks high globally in income inequality

All societies governed by rule of law have left very few choices to their people as laws themselves have clearly demarcated the boundaries between do’s and don’ts and specified the punishments for those breaching the boundaries.


To Dare to know and to have the courage to use that knowledge is what has defined the growth of civilisation and leveraged its progress. We learn as we grow and keep learning till the end. As Abraham Lincoln said “ I don’t think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday. “ Learning has one important component – judging situations ethically and aligning one’s own action accordingly. There may be situations where there are no easy answers regarding which way to go but they are very rare. Normally one knows clearly which path has to be taken , but its one’s choice to follow his inner voice or ignore it and follow a different path. With the evolution of philosophical thoughts, and growth of civilization, questions regarding right and wrong actions got settled to a large extent. Now it is left to the choices exercised by individuals to walk the path. All societies governed by rule of law have left very few choices to their people as laws themselves have clearly demarcated the boundaries between do’s and don’ts and specified the punishments for those breaching the boundaries. Politics has proved contrarian where brazen looting and immorality of bahubalis is the norm-irrespective of their political hue.
Consequently, despite the progress made by human civilization ,egregious injustices and miseries still prevail amongst majority of Indians. Despite having a very well written constitution and a plethora of laws, most of our populace is still living with every kind of deprivation. Our constitution makers gave equality to all in choosing their governments but those who governed us all these decades did very little to alleviate poverty , illiteracy, income inequality, inequity in living standards despite making tall claims to the contrary . Now our country ranks very high in income inequality globally. There has not been much improvement in our education attainments, living conditions , health systems or employment opportunities of our working population .On the other side, however, during these times few corporate pockets have grown so cavernous so as to raise serious concerns for our nation’s future and the welfare of our people.
Wise people learn from their mistakes, accept their mistakes and take appropriate action to correct them. We , as a country also need to learn from the mistakes committed in the past . Our country almost ranks at the top in the list of corrupt countries. This is of our own making and we have been a silent spectator to this constant downslide. We accepted the ‘chalta hai’ approach everywhere including on the integrity front and that has cost us dearly. People from different countries says that doing things in India is difficult , we also suffer the same . One cannot get any thing done unless one has a ‘sifarish’ or is willing to bribe. Why this culture of bribery has been tolerated for all these years? Who are those primarily responsible for this sad state of affairs? The answer is corrupt politicians, corrupt political system , corrupt bureaucracy from top to bottom and the nexus between corrupt politicians and bureaucracy, which allows the perpetuation of this culture of corruption to pervade the vitals of our nation’s life. Coming out of this morass will require concerted efforts from the conscientious who are aware of the mess that we are in , and have the integrity and moral courage to turn the tide.
To correct the situation, first we have to accept the mistake and then start the correction process. Nothing will change unless we work towards changing the way politics is conducted in our country which is totally dependent upon tons of black money, muscle power, caste equations and use of religion. It is easier said than done but we, as a country , are left with no option but to take the problems head on.

The experience of the last two hundred years tells us that development and corruption are inversely correlated, an honest country only can hope to join the rank of developed countries . Corruption travels from top to bottom and till such time that we keep choosing the corrupt to rule the country and states, we will continue to stagnate and will keep debating which corrupt leader to choose the next time. Our intellectual class keeps unearthing nonexistent political philosophy tilts in these very unethical , immoral practitioners of politics ,barring a few exceptions of course. Whenever elections are imminent , political permutations and combinations amongst these very people are debated ad nauseam but without uttering a word about the unethical and immoral character of these politicians. All this must change. This is the responsibility of everyone who is worried about the future of our country. We have had enough of rhetoric and empty catchy sloganeering .

The time has come to initiate the desired course correction by asking people to choose their representatives on merit and not on the basis of caste , religion , money and other allurements. People who have had long apprenticeships in integrity and have an understanding of issues faced by the nation , need to come together to provide an alternative for people to choose from . Better late than never, The time is ripe to take the issue to the people and change the culture of unprincipled politics prevalent in our country . As the father of our nation Mahatma Gandhi ji had stated “It is difficult but not impossible, to conduct strictly honest business.”

(Vijay Shankar Pandey is former Secretary to Government of India)

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