BY HAROON RASHID BHAT
“What may be the title given to this odious practice – Chai, Mithayi, it is illegal and unethical.
Persons involved in corruption or bribe giving different titles to this act to fulfill their unending greed, hiding their corrupted identity. Though there are well-established agencies and strict laws to curb this menace at all levels but the sorry state of the matter is that it is has been showing an upward trend with each passing day,
The tragic incident that took place at the premier government hospital in Srinagar in which a new-born baby became the victim of the corruption.He lost his precious life only because his father couldn’t fulfill the undue demand of the employees on duty. What may be the title given to this odious practice – Chai, Mithayi it is illegal and unethical. This particular episode is reflecting how this social menace is deeply rooted in our society. There is hardly any public office where a common person is not facing such odd situations. If a retired employee applies for his genuine right i.e. pension to complete the formalities, he/she has to pay a bribe to complete the list of formalities. Even the student who successfully passed their examination is forced to pay a bribe in the name of ‘Chai’ to get their Marks sheet or qualification certificates. Public works like the installation of electric poles, transformers, construction of drains, roads, etc are priorities depending upon the amount of bribe or Chia. Earlier this social menace was restricted up to the government sector but it has now extended its network in the private sector. This rapid expansion of corruption everywhere became a big obstacle to do any sort of work in the valley. Various reports or surveys revealed that people in Jammu and Kashmir are among the worst sufferers of corruption in accessing public services. Our ancestors faced a lot of hardships in their life but they never compromise on moral values. They have a little religious and worldly knowledge but they were God-fearing people. They considered corruption as the major sin but today cheating, corruption, bribing become a mere matter of course.
In the last couple of years, several initiatives have been taken to improve the delivery of public service like installation of CCTV’s, establishing grievance cells, notifying the toll-free numbers, etc. But the benefits of these measures have not been substantially evident on the ground. The reason is obvious that we are giving undue favour to those who are involved in such acts. We do not register a complaint against those wicked persons indulging in any anti-social practices. We generally hesitate or we say “Wan Chah Ma Kutmuth” Do I bear all the responsibilities? But this attitude will further deepen its roots. The time demands that we should take collective efforts to eradicate this social menace that made our life miserable. In this regard, our active and responsible role can change the scenario. If anyone demands a bribe-Chai, we must stand against it boldly. In addition to this, family, Educational, Religious institutions can play a significant role. They can impart moral education to our young generation. There is a need to awaken our collective consciousness so that we become responsible members of society. Let us play our responsible role.
Haroon Rashid Bhat is a teacher by profession and can be reached at [email protected]