It should establish that if we do not mend our ways, the whole society will have to pay the price.
Today, Integrity is a much talked about word, particularly in public life. All public servants are supposed to have integrity beyond doubt. But can we say that the integrity of civil servants in general is beyond doubt or even satisfactory for the matter? Before we dwell upon this subject, the word 'Integrity' should itself be property understood. The normal meaning given to this word is 'Not Taking Bribe'. The Chambers Dictionary meaning of this word is — Entireness; Wholeness; The unimpaired state of anything; Uprightness; Honesty; Purity. Obviously 'Integrity' is a much wider term than what is normally understood.
A public servant, while discharging his duties, is supposed to have a complete view of the situation without being influenced by external factors and take upright decision with pure and honest mind. This is what can be an ideal definition of the quality called 'Integrity'. Therefore, any deviation from this would mean loss of integrity. 'Bribe' is one factor, though a prominent one, which is likely to cause deviation. But other factors also cause deviation. These may be fear of survival, caste consideration, prejudice, vendetta, suspicion, over-ambition, etc. Deviation from correct decision due to any of these factors also means loss of integrity. Then there are factors like misuse of power, wastage of resources, etc., which are generally overlooked. My personal view is that such loss of integrity is causing more harm to the system than mere acceptance of bribes. Therefore, there is need for suitable checks in these areas also.
Unfortunately, our system has miserably failed to check this evil despite many administrative measures. This is mainly because 'Integrity' is basically a 'State of Mind' which cannot be influenced much only by administrative measures. It is a sum total of the influences of various factors and in a way reflect the state of the society. There can always be found a counter to any administrative measure. Such measures will be effective only when there is influence at the mental level also. Otherwise, those who have already deviated will keep on deviating more and more while the administrative measures will remain in force for those who do not need them.
Therefore, the role of those in superior positions in all walks of life (not merely public services) becomes important. Indians by and large are a satisfied lot and happily accept their condition provided the leaders of the society show their integrity. Unfortunately, it has not been the case and the result is obvious. The old principle that one should not only be clean but also appear clean has been grossly misused. The entire emphasis has shifted to appearing clean rather than being clean. Many do not care even to appear clean. Very obvious corruption charges are refuted by responsible persons on the ground that the charges are not proved. Many times they don't even care to say that charges are wrong. And all of us know how difficult it is to prove such charges. In such a state of affairs, it is no use blaming lesser mortals and apply administrative measures to them. In fact, those who are supposed to apply these measures are themselves not above board. Thus the exercise becomes all the more futile.
There is need of establishing that corruption ultimately leads to unhappiness in the society at large. To begin with, some people may feel happy at the cost of others but a stage comes when everyone becomes a victim of the system. In the present age of science and technology this will have to be established in logical manner. All people may not understand the science of our scriptures which plead for right conduct. There have to be economic and social explanations of the havocs, the corruption plays with the society. It should establish that if we do not mend our ways, the whole society will have to pay the price.
Fortunately, the roots of our society are deep and strong. So far the damage of our values can be said to be only surface damage. The people of India, by and large, are God-fearing satisfied lot. At the same time they are aware of their strength. Those in high places should not take them for granted. If they do not mend their ways gracefully, people will force them to do so. This is where the hope lies. Let us hope that all those in responsible positions will work with full 'integrity' not by compulsion but by choice. The rest of the society will automatically follow them. In that event administrative measures can also be taken effectively against the defaulters.
A man of integrity is accepted, believed, trusted and befriended by all.
A man of integrity will never listen to any plea against conscience.
Integrity has no need for rules.
Integrity is self-rewarding.
Honesty is still the best policy with a little bit of common sense.
An honest man is the noblest work of God.
It pays to be honest, but it's slow pay.