Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | ST Weekly Blog | Dec 18, 2017

Every Indian complains about corruption, but no one tries to get to the root cause of this phenomenon. The Gandhian movement in the first half of the twentieth century was, in a sense, an anti- corruption movement. In the mid-1970s, Jayprakash Narayan’s ‘total revolution’ was a strong movement against corruption. Then followed V.P. Singh’s movement in the late 1980s and the fourth in this sequence was Anna Hazare’s movement in August 2011. The criterion to judge the success of these movements is not the crowds they draw, but the result. It is an undeniable fact that in terms of results, all the three previous movements completely failed to achieve their declared goal. It is yet to be seen if the fourth will achieve what it has set out to achieve.

All these anti-corruption movements made their demands from the system. But it is not the system that is responsible for corruption; it is the human mind. To eradicate the corruption we see today, we need to re-engineer individual minds. This requires a spiritual campaign. We need to replace the money-oriented mind with a values-oriented mind. We need to make people believe that money is a need, and not a goal. People’s concern of self needs to be replaced with concern for the nation.

Anti-corruption movements generally demand the enactment of anti- corruption laws. We already have anti-corruption laws. But these laws have obviously failed to eradicate corruption. Why? Because without implementation, laws are just words on paper. Laws can only be implemented by people. These people have to be people who are not corrupt, and who possess full authority. People such as these are the rarest of the rare; they seem to be non-existent. Had such people existed, the laws we have would have been sufficient.

To eradicate corruption, we have to give individuals a goal greater than money. The pursuit of wealth will only lead to discontentment, while the pursuit of wisdom will always lead to contentment. Only the content can abandon corrupt practices. To achieve this goal, we have to address individual minds, not attract crowds. A spiritual revolution cannot be brought about by a mob. And only a spiritual revolution can root out corruption. Education is the first step towards the construction of a nation. There can be no other beginning to the journey.