Wednesday, September 14, 2011

They also fought corruption, in their own way!

Top news in India nowadays is the support Anna Hazare is receiving from the general public for his crusade against corruption. The campaign is going from strength to strength.

Was there any corruption long time ago? When did corruption actually start? Was there any fight against corruption in olden days? Can it ever be eradicated?

Answer to the last question appears to be an emphetic NO. It may be at the best made to lie low for sometime. But it will rear its head again, the multi headed serpet of corruption.

I recall two stories on fight on corruption. The stories were told to me by my father when I was a child. The first one may be well known. The second one may not be that well known.

The first one is about a wise man who was living in severe poverty. Even though every one in his village recognised his wisdom and respected him, he was not known outside his village. He would not use his wisdom to earn money for the maintainance of his family. But his wife one day firmly told him to go to the King, please him with his wisdom and come back with some money. Or else he would not be allowed entry in to the house. Naturally. The Homemaker who runs the home knows the real difficulties of making both ends meet.

The wise man had no alternative. To maintain domestic peace he went to the King's palace.

The Dwarapaalakas (Guards at the door) would not allow him inside the palace. After much pleading they agreed to let him in if he shared his prize with them when he came back. He promised the two guards that the prize he received will be shared equally with the two guards and he himself would not take anything home.

Once inside the palace, he met the King and pleased him by his wisdom by answering the difficult questions asked in the King's court. The king was about announce a prize to the wise man. The wise man requested the King to give a prize of his choice. Though surprised, the King agreed.

The wise man asked to be given an award of twenty lashes. Everyone including the King were surprised. But as agreed the King called the Lashing-man. At this moment, the wise man requested the king to call the two Dwarapaalas. When they arrived he told the King about the commitment he had made to share the Prize with them and requested the king to reward them with ten lashes each.

No need to say that the corrupt Door-men were punished and the wise man was rewarded by being appointed as the Chief Vigilance Commissioner in the King's court.

This story is attributed by some to Tenali Rama. some to Birbal. and some others to some one else. I would like to simply keep it as The Wise Man.

The other story is for another day.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic story. If corrupt people are exposed like this and duly punished in the real life, a day may come that the emphatic NO for eradication of corruption may be changed.