“Manners with fortunes, honours turn with climes/Tenets with books and principles with times," Alexander Pope wrote once. Statesman and authors have very often said that there is a point beyond which no virtue can be carried without changing both its name and its nature. The recovery of property and valuables worth hundreds of crores of rupees by the Anti-Corruption Bureau officials in the Telugu States recently from ordinary government employees tells us that moderation has no place in the society now-a-days.
It is said nothing succeeds like excess. The unrighteousness of the age and the levity of the officials placed in positions of responsibility numbs our senses. What does one do with so many hundreds of crores of rupees? How much does a man require to live comfortably? Providence has endowed man with the capacity either to rise to a god or sink to a devil. He has been provided with the wings of volition to choose either ascending and going ahead or straying and sliding down into the mire. It fails our reason to understand why many of these officials have unfortunately used their appendages for straying away from the path to allow their life to descend into chaos abruptly closing their mid-careers.
Is it the intemperate climate of the Indian peninsula, redolent of contaminated atmosphere that is responsible for their downfall and for incapacitating them from holding out till their retirement with a crown of honour shining on their head? On the other hand, we have seen politicians tumbling from their pedestals to a gloomy future because of their not-so-virtuous rascally designs. Alas these are such days of slack morality, administrative, political and commercial, wherein the responsibility of an exalted office is not of paramount consequence to the man in power and authority.
It seems corruption is the norm and the raid, an exception. It is strange to note that some of these high officials these days do not seem to have been tempered by a sense of responsibility and dignity. The boat tragedy of Vijayawada also tells us that men value the currency more than the lives at their mercy and that they have the blessings of the political vultures.
The talk of strict governance by the political class does not really instill any fear among them, as the corrupt officials are aware of the fact that the ruling classes too are embroiled in the black gulf of moral deficiencies. As Firdausi says, "if a tree whose nature is bitter were planted in the garden of paradise, watered with streams from the fountain of eternity and if its roots were bedewed with honey, its natural qualities will always appear and bitter will still be its fruit.” The simile could aptly be applied to our morally bankrupt bureaucracy. Topping the long list of the practitioners of corruption, enters now the Mannargudi Mafia, with thousands of crores of undisclosed income with which it sought to manage the politics of the State. This is sheer betrayal of the land!