Class and corruption

Dear Editor,
When some market players do not have an iota of shame in creating huge bad loans amounting to Rs. 2.86 lakh crore in 2016 – 17; a poor boy whose mother is a domestic help and father a vegetable vendor, has committed suicide in Kolkata for being accused as a thief for keeping a neighbour’s pigeon that had flown to his home.
This explains the reason why the pay back rate of micro loans is much more than macro credits! Nobel laureate, Mohammed Younus of Bangladesh gave micro loans to the poor and even to beggars through the Grameen Bank and the pay back rate of such loans was as high as 95 per cent. The poor seems to have more self – respect than most of the rich profiteers.
There is a tendency to mark begging as a great vice. Shakespeare had ridiculed such tendencies of the rich when he said, ~ “Whiles I am a beggar, I will rail and say there is no sin but to be rich; and being rich, my virtue then shall be to say there is no vice but beggary.”
Sometimes, we compare macro bank defaulters with beggars. But this is an insult to the beggars. Most of the beggars are the victims of circumstances and they do not snatch public money unlike some creamy looters. We see that beggars have enough compassion to feed street dogs and more often than not they share their food and money with other beggars. It stands in total contrast with the modus operandi of some filthy rich people who can go to such inhuman extremes as to charge a seven-year-old girl’s parents Rs.18 lakh for the girl’s 15 days of treatment in a hospital and that too after her death in that very hospital!
It is said that a fish rots from the head down. This biological phenomenon explains why corruption is more likely to pollute the creamy layer first rather than the poor. This made the historian and moralist in Lord Acton write in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887 ~ “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”
Sujit De, Kolkata