“Light up your mind”- 21 October 2011

“Light up your mind”

This Diwali do something different. Make a pledge. Make a promise to yourself. You might have the tendency to break your own promises- that happens all the time. But never mind- still make a resolve. The flavour of the season this year is ‘corruption’. I mean ‘anti-corruption’. The atmosphere is charged and at no time did we see such a tremendous public response to an issue. This only shows how deep the disgust for corruption is. People are fed up and need change.

What a wonderful demand. People want freedom from corruption.

Let’s reflect on the subject a bit. The change has to be two pronged- one within the system or institutions where corruption has been sort of ‘legitimised’. Two- within each individual. We are aware that in every institution there are honest people but they have become a small percentage and an ‘anachronism’. They are known as the ‘ridiculous’ exceptions and not the norm. The norm is to be corrupt and whoever can indulge in it is known to be effective and efficient. Your ‘competency’ is at stake if you cannot indulge in corruption. You might run the risk of being known as an odd fish. We need to turn this attitude on its head by turning it 360 degrees and make honesty the norm and dishonesty the exception.

Khalil Gibran the Lebanese writer /philosopher beautifully depicts this irony in his essay called ‘The Madman’. The story goes like this that in a village people begin to go mad after drinking water from a specific well. As more and more people drink the same water they begin to behave insanely. The same traits of insanity get into whoever drinks from that well. The king gets more and more worried as one day he realises that he stands alone in his kingdom as the only sane person. But the irony is that everyone else thinks of him as the only mad person! The entire community thinks him as an insane person. The only solution for the king then seems to be to drink the water from the same well and to join the community!

That is exactly how it must have happened with corruption. Values gradually get eroded as one by one people join the band wagon of corruption and it achieves a status of ‘normalcy’ one day. We stop considering it a crime as it seeps into our inner-most being and corrupts our minds and our spirit.

We need to get back to moral values, get back to spirituality, to becoming good human beings, to being good citizens of our country. Become law abiding citizens. Follow the rules of the land and straighten up. Lead by example. Walk alone if you must. Light up your minds with good thoughts and good deeds. Does that remind you of Mahatma Gandhi? Be a Gandhi without being a Mahatma. You will enjoy this process of freedom and empowerment.


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