• Champion of Change
  • 7 years ago

Swimming against the tide

Reported on December 23, 2013 from Bangalore, Karnataka  ι Report #7

Bhupati Shukla has time and again proved that a firm stand against corruption can yield positive results, regardless of how long it takes for one to avail a service.

Classify the citizens of our country into two groups to gauge the difference each group makes in our fight against corruption - one comprises people who complain about the rising level of corruption in the country and its polity. But the same people do not mind paying small amounts of money to avail services, as long as it doesn’t pinch their pockets. On the other hand, the second group comprises people such as Bhupati Shukla who rather turn the entire system upside down, than pay a bribe.

An engineer by profession, Shukla has time and again proved that a firm stand against corruption does yield positive results, regardless of how long it takes for one to avail a service. “It doesn’t matter what the amount is, who asks for it, how or why, a bribe is a bribe.” says Shukla.

Bhupati Shukla has a track record of resisting bribes for an array of services that he procured in Bangalore and Mumbai. Whether it was to get his passport made, his apartment registered or for transferring his LPG connection from one city to another. Although he may have made some fine foes in the process, he definitely serves as a brilliant example of patience and perseverance.

His first brush with corruption was in Bangalore earlier this year. He, along with two others, got their flats registered without paying a bribe. Even though the builders offered them an easy route that would cost Rs.13000, these gentlemen decided to choose the tougher route- registering the property on their own. All they needed to do was arm themselves with the right process information and Bhupati Shukla’s wit that helped them procure their registrations and Khatha, sans a bribe.

Shukla observes that most people succumb to bribe demands due to a dearth of time or simply because people prefer paying under the table than spend their precious time in running from pillar to post. This helps spawn what is called speed money.

Ask him what he thinks of the current state of affairs pertaining to consensual bribery is and pat comes the reply, “There was a time when I thought our politicians are corrupt. My view has changed over the years. It is the people who are corrupt. As long as the common man agrees to pay, corruption shall continue to thrive.

Determination of the public to fight the vicious cycle of corruption is the only cure to this widespread evil” he opines.

Shukla speaks of people who are so conditioned to the system to petty corruption that they willingly pay officials even before a demand is made. Petty amounts that don’t burn a hole through the pocket are agreeable sums for many. Promoting such a practise has snowballed into full-fledged system of ‘give and take’. It is so engrained that makes it hard to tackle such corrupt machinery that works only when it is oiled with ‘speed money’.

Tackling such widespread practices merely on the surface by introducing laws that are nothing more than paper tigers is no solution to this endemic problem. Shukla believes that we must aim at changing the culture of corruption, not laws and policies.

“Laws or policies can deal with corruption superficially whereas a change in the mentality of people who give and take bribes is the need of the hour.” He signs off.

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