Monday, May 27, 2013

Is corruption only cancer of India?

Each animal in the wild has its own protocol. Few live in groups and few in isolation. Despite diversity among them in jungle, they do not attack each other unless they are hungry or threatened. Each animal feels threatened, when other animal enters into its imaginary 'safe zone'. In order to protect itself or its cub, animal attacks other animal, which entered into its safe zone.

To understand little more about the safe zone, one can draw an imaginary circle around given animal. Entire area, within the imaginary circle can be considered as 'safe zone'. Radius length of this imaginary circle depends on the type of animal. For example elephants in wild, feel threatened at a distance of 80-100 meters, where as ferocious looking tiger, when not hungry may not attack you, even when you stand in the perimeter of 30 meter. When another animal or human enters in to this zone, they can attack thinking they are in danger. Somewhat similar to this behavior in animals, humans display another trait, what i term as "Home zone".

Each individual has his own 'Home zone'. Individual is not worried about events occurring outside this zone. His mind is preset to focus only on events within his Home Zone and ignore everything else beyond that.

Few examples in this regard will give a better picture.
Typically, most people love to keep their belongings, which fall under 'Home Zone' in orderly fashion. But, which material falls in to the classification of "Personal belongings" varies from person to person. Few may consider, every item, they use daily as personal belongings such as cloths, bag, comb etc. Few may consider the entire house as "personal belonging" and keep the home neat & tidy. Some may not even bother about their cloths or anything at home, but they keep their work related materials in order. Zone in which materials/events which gets given person's immediate attention is what I term as "Home Zone". Size of this zone varies from person to person and given person may enter or exit "Home Zone" umpteen number of times in a day.
We, Indians, have very small "Home zone". I believe 95% or more not concerned about what happens outside our house. I am pretty sure this percentage does not vary by much between educated or uneducated class. Due to this reason, even educated person, do not think twice while tossing empty can/bottle or empty plastic cover road-side.

And no, please do not blame on unavailability of dustbins or garbage collection areas. Does everyone have dustbin in every corner of their house? Definitely, No! If one can carry the junk till the dustbin at home, why not outside?

Recently an attempt was made in Bangalore to keep the area clean near IT Park. Entire stretch of 200 meter was littered with empty cups of plastic, cigarette butts etc. Few sensible activists, whose "Home zone" was much bigger than their houses, tried to tidy up this area & placed umpteen numbers of dustbins within 200 meters. They cleaned up entire area and painted it neat. This entire stretch looked awesome. But this did not last for more few weeks. Garbage was all over again. It is painful to note that, this was done by people, whom society considers "Well-educated" class! Hence, this behavior has nothing to do with how much educated a person is.

It is appalling that more than 90% of Indian men do not think twice before going to urinals on the road side. I cannot understand, why they can't co-relate this same situation to their own mother or sister.

I would like to quote another example, which most people might be able to co-relate.
Consider person X is entering into a reception of his friend's wedding. He sees long line towards the bride & groom. While he looks at the line, his friend Y who is already standing in the line, waves at him, saying 'hello'. Next thing X does is to go next to Y, starts speaking to him casually. In matter of one or two minutes, he merges into the line, well ahead of 20-50 odd people who were waiting ahead of X. Now, was X illiterate? No. Was there any corruption involved? No. Was there any time pressure? No. None of these! But, simply X does not honor the already well formed line/queue. If an educated person such as X, cannot honor such a basic civic sense, in which there was no time-pressure, no money involved, how or why should one expect a miracle from someone else? By now, you may be able to picture this very same situation in hundreds of scenarios like movie theater, stadiums, Temple, Govt offices etc.
When a kid grows up with parents, who do not have basic civic sense, he learns the same behavior. And this passes on from generation to generation.
Developed countries have been successful in enlarging the "Home zones" of every citizen of its country, either by instilling the civic sense in them or by stringent law, feared by them.

For every damn issue faced by Indians, it may very convenient to point to corruption/politician/non-functional government etc, but not every issue is created by them. Every citizen of our country needs to do some introspection. Merely having well-educated non-corrupt person sitting in Vidhana Soudha or Indian Parliament may not have the much impact unless every individual expands his "Home Zone" and considers his society, his town, his country as his "Home zone". An educational reform in this regard may help expanding “Home zone” sooner. But, to achieve this, one need not wait for government to act. It has to start from people like you and me.

"Yatha Raja Thatha Praja" might have been the old proverb. But in present democratic India, "Yatha Praja Thatha Raja" is more apt and real.