Can spirituality stem corruption, as well?

Can spirituality stem  corruption, as well?

Chanakya Kautilya’s ideas and his understanding of corruption are very simple. In Arthsashtra, the metaphors he uses fit our society that “It is impossible not to taste the honey or the poison that reaches the tip of the tongue. Likewise, it is impossible for a government servant not to consume a bit of the king’s revenue”. Chanakya also confesses that “just as it is impossible to know when a fish moving in water is drinking it, so it is impossible to find out when people with authority misappropriate money or power”.
Corruption is as old as the account of human activity on this planet. Although it is considered immoral and unethical by law and society, corruption is endemic in many contexts. With corruption becoming a rampant society norm, the culture we all live in becomes dangerous for the social order. With a total loss of shared moral values, a corruption favoring system, and a rat race towards the accumulation of wealth and power, every single person with opportunity gets doing his bid in damaging the society.
For most acts of corruption, there is a decision made by one or more individuals to proceed with an action that is morally and ethically wrong, illegal, and even destructive to others. Those involved in corruption have a strong reason to keep those actions hidden from public view. However, with an active media deeply embedded in our society, it has now become extremely difficult to keep such acts hidden from the public. Corruption also remains a highly sensitive subject in politics; one that often involves a charge, allegation, or suspicion of wrongdoing and defensive posturing by those being investigated. The investigation and prosecution become impossible when the political background adds to any case.
While the corruption watch-dog and government both fail in addressing the issue, both the poor and rich must produce bribes for almost everything in life; to apply for a public sector job, to receive care in a government-run clinic or hospital, to stay out of jail even when innocent of any crime, and even to erect a small one-room house from his pension commutation. It won’t be an exaggeration if said that students also need to bribe their government-paid teachers just to be taught, not to mention for the provision of water, gas, and electricity at home unless a bribe is paid. Corruption continues to sweep away many hopeful signs of progress, and seems to be leading us to a catastrophe of multiple dimensions and unimaginable consequences.
If democracy is valued as a tree of the ideal political system, corruption is the termite feeding at the roots of democracy. Corruption works directly against the very principles and practice of democracy. When the government and public officials fail to serve the public interest at large and are not held accountable for their actions, they lose legitimacy.
The social consequence of corruption has not only a devastating present but has a long-term impact on a nation’s future. Citizens lose or fail to gain trust in their government and the political system, which leads not only to frustration but apathy. In such a failing environment, many of the best trained and brightest minds – those with the means to leave for a better environment–often flee to other countries, contributing to brain-drain, which has further negative consequences for economic growth.
While we can continue to plead our case against corruption, it would be surprising for readers that everyone may not agree with this perspective and advocacy against corruption. There would be many who will try to prove through the empirical argument from an economic cost-benefit perspective that removing additional levels of corruption limits the growth. Some will share their insight into the society suggesting that eliminating all corruption is not in the best interest of society.
Some economists suggest that ending every type of corruption actually harms economic activity. Some part of the money is required to be laundered, and some illegal channels have to remain active. There are many case studies about countries that fit the parameters of poorly functioning governments like ours, where the argument is suggested that corruption is the grease to keep a poor system working.
The argument that corruption is an ointment for the ills of an inefficient government was weak at first but gained strength and popularity over time. Well, it definitely improves the ability of a bureaucrat to speed up a process limited by a hierarchical approval process, where the ability to derail a process requires just one person.
Anti-corruption watch-dogs do have a deterrence, yet religion, culture, and spirituality are the main forces influencing corruption in a society. Although all three are intertwined, research conducted with this perspective has highlighted spirituality enjoying a direct yet inverse relationship with corruption. An additional avenue through which religion may have a direct impact on corruption might remain dependent on the traditional perspectives since different religions interact differently with the state.
Religion and spirituality have a contributing impact on corruption. That is why the world is using religion, spirituality, and its variables to reduce corruption. Life values that are less income-dependent are shaped by inspirations of personal faith, religion, and spirituality, and these, in turn, impact the ethical decisions that determine personal responses to corrupt activities or temptations. Spiritual capital has the potential to transform economic and social structures in society. But on other hand, in our case, exploring the relationship between corruption and religion would be difficult in different ways, since we don’t follow the religion in spirit or conveniently distort its teachings to suit ourselves. That is why we, unfortunately, have scandals to our national credit where we have not spared religion as a sector. Federal ministers found extorting illegal payouts from travel agents involved in fleecing Hajj pilgrims, is a case in point out of a million. Yet, we still need to develop a spiritual capital in society which concerns with the economic and social potential derived from an ethical framework based on a belief system. It values perspectives beyond one’s personal and immediate needs. Spiritual capital is often thought to be derived from religion, but we define religious capital separately which has transforming potential derived from religious beliefs, faith, and practice.
Quaid-Azam noted in a letter written on 6 May 1945 that corruption was a curse in India, especially amongst the so-called educated and intelligentsia, which he though was a class selfish and morally and intellectually corrupt. Quaid wrote further that no doubt this disease was common, but amongst this particular class of Muslims, it was rampant. This is where the challenge lies for our state institutions and government to think for promoting a framework based on the variables of religion, spirituality, and culture to combat corruption. It is said that corruption is like a ball of snow, once it’s set a rolling it must increase. So, let us work collectively on the religious, cultural, and spiritual plane to melt this snowball preventing it from growing at the cost of our progress and prosperity.