The other side of darkness
Okay! So there is this drive, (okay, okay, a massive drive) going on to catch the massive culprits (oops! alleged), those who are responsible for amassing financial wealth and material goods (tin? chee!), including some tastefully done non-tin houses by means beyond their known sources of income. I say houses- such shady creations can never become homes.
Presently it seems that the assault is on criminal activities in four major areas. Sarbonaash has been perpetuated on (a) palpable power, (b) monetary mountains, (c) faulty foods and (d) barred buildings. It therefore is seemingly Poush maash for gross offenders in other sectors. Such a message is wrong and harmful for posterity.
For instance: a popular vernacular newspaper reported last Saturday that an 'apprehended-cum-released-cum-whereabouts unknown' clerk-to-cleric banker was so hungry for publicity that he not only always got himself photographed with bigwigs (and some of them do wear real big wigs) but also 'managed' for the footage to be telecast on different channels. The question: Was not the dubious identity of the fish that could not be caught even near the Matsya Bhaban known to journalists who were managed? How were they managed? Ask any former minister and he will tell you. Why did some in the press allow themselves to be purchased? Are our media mates any less guilty for the predicament that this nation finds itself in?
For auxiliary instance: there have been well-publicised corruption cases in different colleges and universities, the highest seats of learning. But what are our children learning? Teaching jobs have been offered to the non-deserving. Teachers have become professors (hah!) with false information and lies in their application. A student would have been expelled for good for the same offence. Unbelievable but true! Children of the powers that be have been unlawfully and out-of-turn nominated for and awarded prestigious foreign scholarships. The rightful and the meritorious have been denied.
For further instance: Former ministers (very important the word 'former') find themselves in jail. MPs are arrested. Industrialists are nabbed. Business people are handcuffed. But the bureaucrats (persons who man the Secretariat) who helped the ministers take the 'wrong and corrupt' decisions, in fact abetted in their crime, who have been yes sir-ing them throughout the term of a government for their own benefit, who have taken advantage of industrialist and business people, who lead a life beyond their known source of income, who educate children with income as a government servant (kemney paarey?); they remain above the law. In the ongoing drive, not a single bureaucrat in active service has been arrested or even reprimanded till date for dishonesty, bribery or sleaze. Are all our civil servants washed tulsi leaves? Are some of them not guilty of a minister's crime? They are but snakes that shed their skin with each change of governance, and the present is no exception. They must be brought to task; mere transferring them from one office to another is only encouraging them to wait for another golden opportunity in the future.
For (yet more) instance: There are some charitable and benevolent organisations, such as the Bangladesh Scouts, the Red Crescent, the Girl Guides Association, the Rotary International, the Lions Foundation, the organisations working for Acid Survivors, the Aids awareness programmes, and so on. In them the corrupt often find a safe haven. For they think, and till now rightfully so, that no one will suspect their double life's filthy side, no one will even believe. They believe they shall be given a clean chit, even if they are dirty cheats because they are supposedly scouts or guides or Lions or Rotarians. Action must be taken against such Jekyll and Hyde people.
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Is their corruption not as harmful as money laundering, trading in adulterated food, illegal constructions and misuse of office?
If the present government and I suppose all future governments shall be taking action against the corrupt, let not such preventive and punitive measures be limited to only some sectors. For corruption in the annals of intelligentsia is of the worse sort, what in our lingo is known as Gyan Papi.
Corruption in the education sector, dishonesty by those who deal with children, vice by the establishment and illicit trade by journalists bites into the very core of our very being. No nation can be built on such rotten foundations.
Those who earn their living by their intellectual efforts must first set the example, good example.
Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2007