Dignified Swindlers

In one of my earlier blogs, (Thieving with Principles) I had written about the story of Guru Nanak’s advice to a thief and its subsequent effects. A thief was advised by Guru Nanak not to commit theft , however since the thief knew no other profession and expressed his inability to give up stealing; certain conditions were suggested to him before undertaking further ventures.

A. Do not steal from a poor person.
B. Do not steal if you have eaten someone’s salt.
C. Let others who are innocent not be punished for the crimes committed by him.
The thief followed the advice in letter and spirit and went to commit theft at King’s palace, where he happened to put some eatable into his mouth from King’s kitchen (thinking it to be sugar) before decamping with the loot. Since it turned out to be salt he left the entire stuff and went away. Next day many petty thieves were rounded up and tortured by the Police, the actual thief remembering Guru’s third advice turned himself in, lest some innocent people are punished for his crime. King on finding out the reasons from the thief pardoned him and in fact gave him a job; thus the thief was transformed.

Let us compare the above episode and three pieces of advice in the context of present day Indian leaders and public servants. While some of them are honest yet majority of them fall into the category of what I would say “Dignified Swindlers.” Reasons:

A. Majority of them steal from poor people. Most of the funds meant for social schemes for  uplifting of the poor do not reach them and get channelized into the coffers of administrative/political coterie. India’s former Prime Minister Late Mr Rajiv Gandhi had once said that out of every rupee sanctioned for the poor only 10 paise reach them (90% is siphoned away).

B. These very leaders and public servants eat the salt of the government and yet some of them swindle. Other day, we saw a TV news of a raid on an Administrative Service officer of MP where an amount of Rs 200 crores (35 million USD) was found stashed in his house. Surely he would not have saved it from his meagre pay and allowances. As for as some politicians are concerned, less said the better.

C. For most of the scandals and corruption crimes the actual defaulters get away, it is the lesser mortals who are made a scapegoat. Exactly opposite of Guru Nanak’s third advice.

It is sad that this is happening in India a country having rich culture, heritage and ancient values imparted by our saints. Somewhere down the road we are missing the point; our younger generation need to be taught basic values more than anything else.



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