Decline in Ethos

Sudip Bhattacharyya

Sumit Mitra in his article in TOI, 12th August, 2014 has spoken about ‘The Tyranny of The Lumpen’ in West Bengal (WB). TMC bullies fight over spoils of the CPM-created 'syndicate' system, which means you cannot build a thing, be it a house or a factory, without paying the local chieftain his 'due' or giving the entire contract of material supplies to his 'younger brother', 'for inferior stuff at a high price.' Here, the truth is that it is not only the politicians and lumpen proletarians but more perhaps the professionals in upper middle and middle class that have lost all sense of value and can stoop to any level just to satisfy their lust for lucre. The instances of allegations against Debabrata Bandopadhaya, Rajat Majumdar and Deben Biswas are quite recent and suggest the decline in value at the senior-most levels of bureaucrats. When Royal Calcutta Golf Club reneges on its tax obligations, it shows bankruptcy of professionals. So does the instance of Nitu Sarkar for his alleged role in Saradha scam. In WB, as everybody knows, there are hardly any Bangalee owned large companies in manufacturing and even services. Yet there was till recently, a scramble among the rich Bangalees for cheat (Chit) Funds and it affirms the tendency of erosion of value even at that level.

This is, however, not unique to WB. Lumpen proletariat is very much there in Maharashtra and many other states. Talking about corruption among high officials, there are so many cases, it is a pan-India feature now, the most recent being that of Censor Board Chief together with its Advisory Panel Member and its Agent. Corruption is almost institutionalized in banking. Take the case of Syndicate Bank Chairman and erstwhile United Bank Chairman, although the latter allegedly got away unscathed due to her political connection. Central Bank of India's former Chairman C H Daruwala was not punished after a series of serious corruption Charges. IDBI Bank sanctioned Rs 950 crore first-time loan to Vijay Mallya's King Fisher Airlines, despite its negative net worth. CBI is enquiring into the affairs of Bank of Maharashtra and UCO Bank. Dena Bank,and OBC are also hit by Rs 436 cr fraud.

SEBI took 5 years to bar B Ramlingam Raju of Satyam from capital market. Charges against Reddys of Deccan Chronicle remain unproved: the allegations were of forging documents to raise Rs 170 crore from future capital. Even RBI is silent on the dubious 9000 crore Corporate Debt Recovery package to the politically powerful Lanco group. Winsome Group, in diamond trading, has now accumulated a default to the tune of Rs 6581 crore. CVC has referred the case to CBI for criminal investigation. About political corruption, the less said the better because it is well-known and much discussed. It is seen all over India with perhaps Delhi leading.

Unfortunately this is happening largely because of the kind of world people live in nowadays - a world full of greed, personal glory and material fulfilment. Communists in their long rule in WB, systematically indulged in character assassination of all social icons and the youth was left with no ideals to emulate and their sense of value got distorted. That is why lumpenization is perhaps more in evidence in WB because the Left ethos made the Bangalees more severed from their cultural roots and traditions than others. But the decline of ethos is a country-wide phenomenon. PM Modi, during his Independence day speech, talking about recent incidents of rape, urged every parent to impart proper education. This is true for all spheres of life and the realization will need to come from within through appropriate teaching and guidance at home, at school and by the community.

Vol. 47, No. 15, Oct 19 - 25, 2014