This is an essay I wrote for a school competition back in 11th grade, for which I won the first prize. It's been many years, but I still look back on this as my first writing achievement.
Corruption. It has been the bane of humanity for centuries now, as people with power abuse their abilities to profit themselves, instead of those who look up to them for leadership. From kings and queens and their ministers from the days of yore, to present-day political leaders and cabinet ministers, corruption has affected many.
It stems primarily from greed, which is natural for humans to have, and so it is a natural thing that cannot be avoided completely. Power simply corrupts people in due time, sometimes even the best.
But this does not mean that corruption should be let to flourish as it does in the modern world. It is possible to curb it to a great extent if we, the public, can work together to stop this natural evil from spreading its roots ever deeper into society.
We live in a democratic world today. A world where most countries today have a democratic, republican form of government. A government that is of the people, by the people, and for the people. We elect our own leaders, who are accountable to us for their actions.
Despite having such freedom and power in the running of our country, many of us choose to be oblivious to what is happening around us. We choose to ignore the many petty crimes that are committed every day simply because they’re ‘unavoidable’. But perhaps they might become avoidable if all of us stopped ignoring them and did our part in preventing them. Little bribes at the local, individual level, are the building blocks that have led to a much larger system of corruption at the national level.
We must start from the bottom if we wish to eradicate corruption from our country. A survey conducted by the Global Corruption Barometer in 2013 indicated that corruption levels in India are twice the global average. The police and the judiciary are the worst affected by this, with an estimated 31% people having paid bribes to the police and 24% to the judiciary.
If the police, the people entrusted with protecting us, and the judiciary, the people entrusted with upholding the law, themselves are so prone to corruption, then the responsibility falls to us, the general public to rectify these crimes and stop it from spreading.
This starts with us refusing to pay bribes to government officials and police officers for any reason, and complaining against those who ask for them. After that, we should make use of the rights given to us, such as the Right to Information, to find out corrupt officials and politicians and have them removed from office. And our greatest power is the power to vote. We have the right to choose our leaders, so we have a responsibility to choose the right leaders.
Every vote matters, and we must vote for those who have a good personality and character, and not those who make the best promises. And we should not vote for those who have been corrupt in the past. It is our responsibility as vigilant citizens to examine the various leaders and select the best among of them.
A good leader with strong moral principles and integrity can instill good in others, and can remove corruption from the top, which can eventually seep into the bottom and stop corruption everywhere. It is our duty, as humans and as citizens, to do our best in removing corruption and promoting integrity among the people.
We may feel helpless in the beginning, but with time, it can be achieved through a mass public participation, because there is strength in unity. Together, we can eradicate corruption from society, creating a better, more virtuous society.