By Prof. Rahmat Karim Baig
It has been fashionable in the print media during the past 3 years to decorate documents and all other kind of written material to ‘ say no to corruption’ which is now ignored as it has been done in the past that phrases like these have no practical value in a society like ours.
It was a strict policy of the British rulers of the sub-continent to discuss matters relating to introduction of new ideas time and again and their proposals and amendments were coined and refined times over before a circulation was issued with strict orders to be implemented in word and spirit and no laxity was allowed in the implementation stage; followed by supervision and surprise visits by high ups of the departments concerned but after Independence of our Home Land the ICS officers and lower ministerial staff did follow the routine and things went on quite satisfactorily till that generation retired from government service but had unfortunately failed , partially, to train their subordinates who then by their inexperience and lack of patriotic zeal of their predecessors took things and state business lightly, leading to mismanagement in almost all departments especially in the over crowded departments like Education, health etc. The departments and Divisions multiplied and trained staff was insufficient to hold all business in their hands so many minor things went astray unnoticed and their failure was identified when things had gone out of control.. We may condemn the Britons for many of their actions against the natives but their administration was much more transparent than their successors.
The question is not that the Britons were very honest; they were actually much more corrupt e.g. Lord Clive who had managed to accumulate boundless riches by bulling or open demands, threats, cheating and a number of other tricks that finally brought him under investigation and was thus rendered penniless and died a debtor in misery. Other examples of their cupidity are also to be found in the history books of that time that give glimpses of the Governor generals like Lord Dalhausie and his administration on the point of Lapse and other nefarious measures to grab all the wealth from the heirless local rulers of the 566 states of the sub-continent. The British had come to India to snatch trading opportunities from other European competitors like French, the Portugese, the Dutch etc. and were cunning enough to outwit all of them and held all the opportunities owing to the fact that the Mughal Empire was on the brink of total collapse at that particular moment so they were lucky to establish their commercial centres in the most suitable parts of the sub-continent and thus developed a net of local Hindu middle men to work for them and get bribes as much as was desired in a specific time as the tenure of the employees of East India Company was limited and they had to collect as much wealth as possible before their departure from here to be called Nobabs in their homeland. That is why corruption flourished in the sponsorship of the British colonizers and after 1947 they successfully handed over the practice to their most trusted friends mostly Hindus but also a good number of Muslims. Here I would like to quote an event written in the Shahab Nama that after 1947 when he was at Karachi, a businessman sent to his house a refrigerator before he arrived home after office hours, and he inquired about its purpose and the donor and was apprised of the gift which he returned there and then; and while he was in India doing his duty as Assistant Commissioner he was offered a brief case of Currency Notes and a girl in bridal dress as bribe to lift Section 144 to reopen factories held by Hindu Seths/ tycoons. Tea had been just brought in for the guest but before serving the tea the offer was presented and in a state of fury at the venture of the middleman Shahab poured all the boiling tea on the cabochon of the Hindu agent who cried out in agony and ran out for his life with the briefcase and the girl. Examples like these do adorn pages of history but after Pakistan entered into 4th decade the materialistic approach swept away the remnants of the religious purity that we call the core of the Faith- the conscience that makes us help in good acts and calls to abstain from evils- this quality has now out rightly disappeared from the society and its sorrowful evaporation began from the bureaucracy and business community to shower benefits on each other. This phase penetrated the social circles so ruthlessly that within decades corruption and exploitation took the whole social fabric in its fold.
At this stage of our history, our society – the whole national fabric of society- requires to be overhauled because now this machine has failed to work due to negligence of the operators (those at the steering wheel) to replace the cracked parts of the machine and now overhauling is the only way to replace its rotten and overused parts that have gone out of order, by installing new and genuine spare parts but it is important to think and rethink before starting this work. It must be done phase wise, not in one go that might lead to chaos and mismanagement so in order to avoid any confusion or unforeseen development this work of improvement must be commenced phase wise, riveting the ameliorated sections and departments and focusing on the next stages to reassemble the other parts of the rusty machinery. This requires genuine and sincere devotion by washing all the rust of selfishness with true and sincere resolution to make a successful progress. Determination and high resolution is must for success in every initiative and one must remain focused on the target and the ways and tools to the target. Mere rhetoric is a waste of time and any reformer must not presume that he or she might befool the public in each election campaign. The real issues and the irritants that most concern the majority of the population that lives below poverty line, must be identified, focused and addressed before another call for “Roti , Kapra, owr Makaan” awakens the 80% downtrodden victims of the Cartels, Mafias, Jagirdars, Waderas, Khans, War Lords, Sardars, Maliks etc. and then street power goes out of control who knows where the next bullet hits.
The word say “No to Corruption ’’ cannot save a society that has gone gangrenous and about to fall into a pit that has been dug by vested groups of dangerously organized cartels and tycoons.
By Prof. Rahmat Karim Baig