This refers to Poonam I Kaushish’s incisive article, “By god, riches are a lie – ability” (Features, February 27, 2018). What is more unfortunate is that we are very much enamoured of lie – ability of the rich but ironically become very strict if a poor person ever dares to take any dishonest means to keep his body and soul together.
Madhu, a mentally unstable tribal man who lived inside the Attappadi forest range in Palakkad district, was recently lynched in Kerala. A group of over a dozen people tied him up with his own lungi. They took selfie with the victim and posted on Facebook about the gory torture bragging that they had nabbed a “shoplifter”. A video clip recorded a helpless Madhu, wearing a muddied shirt looked haggard and his rib cage was clearly visible in the picture. But this is not an isolated incident. We are always very severe to poor pickpockets. We do not like to give even a suspected shoplifter enjoy any benefit of doubt if he happens to be a poor person.
Yet we have no problem in accepting the ongoing loot by some rich bank defaulters although that amounts to Rs. 2.86 lakh crore public money in just one financial year in 2016 – 17 itself for Indian banks! It is very difficult for us to tolerate a poor tribal man like Madhu wearing a muddied shirt, but we always have a soft spot for well – dressed gentlemen like Vijay Mallya, Mehul Chokshi, Nirav Modi, Kothari, Seth etc who have borrowed huge amount of public money from public sector banks but do not feel that it is also necessary to pay back the loans.
We are even ready to pay through the nose for the bad loans created by some rich cheats. It is a new normal that we, the victims, must be penalized for the loot of our own money in a number of ways like penalty for not having minimum balance in a bank account, lower interest rates of EPF, GPF and bank accounts and high rate of inflation in essential commodities as well as in education and health expenditures.
But why do we have such a double standard? It is simply because we still believe in “might is right” jungle – maxim. And it is because of our acceptance of such regressive maxim that makes India further slide two more ranks from 79 to 81 in just one year in recently published Corruption Perception Index 2017.