Corruption is not a new phenomenon in India. It has been prevalent in society since ancient times. History reveals that it was present even in the Mauryan period. Great scholar Kautilya mentions the pressure of forty types of corruption in his contemporary society. It was practised even in Mughal and Sultanate period. When the East India Company took control of the country, corruption reached new height. Corruption in India has become so common that people now are averse to thinking of public life with it.
Corruption has been defined variously by scholars. But the simple meaning of it is that corruption implies perversion of morality, integrity, character or duty out of mercenary motives, i.e. bribery, without any regard to honour, right and justice. In other words, undue favour for any one for some monetary or other gains is corruption. Simultaneously, depriving the genuinely deserving from their right or privilege is also a corrupt practice. Shrinking from one’s duty or dereliction of duty are also forms of corruption. Besides, thefts, wastage of public property constitute varieties of corruption. Dishonesty, exploitation, malpractices, scams and scandals are various manifestations of corruption.
Corruption is not a uniquely Indian phenomenon. It is witnessed all over the world in developing as well as developed countries. It has spread its tentacles in every sphere of life, namely business administration, politics, officialdom, and services. In fact, there is hardly any sector which can be characterised for not being infected with the vices of corruption. Corruption is rampant in every segment and every section of society, barring the social status attached to it. Nobody can be considered free from corruption from a high ranking officer.
To root out the evil of corruption from society, we need to make a comprehensive code of conduct for politicians, legislatures, bureaucrats, and such code should be strictly enforced. Judiciary should be given more independence and initiatives on issues related to corruption. Special courts should be set-up to take up such issues and speedy trial is to be promoted. Law and order machinery should be allowed to work without political interference. NGOs and media should come forward to create awareness against corruption in society and educate people to combat this evil. Only then we would be able to save our system from being collapsed.