Indian Society Essays - Corruption, Linguistic Rights and a review of "The Palace of Illusions" by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.

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-Umang Katoch



      Like a tree, slowly the roots of corruption branch out and enter deep into the soil of our society, inching their way day by day into the lexicon of our daily life. And all that our elders, the so called ‘leaders’ of our society, do is lament, professing that they are doing their best to stop corruption, while in truth they calmly sit upon their thrones of lies and rule the empires they have built of a million broken promises.

If the present scenario goes on for much longer, India will become a distant memory in the minds of the world. We shall become the nation with the largest population and the worst quality of living. The land of Gautam Buddha, Ashoka, Akbar, Kalidas, Mahatama Gandhi shall become a relic in the minds of people.

And the only way for anything to change is if children begin to care. They say that the traits of the child manifest themselves in the adult. And that maxim is true. If a child is taught from the beginning that corruption is morally, socially, legally, emotionally wrong then those will be the beliefs that he or she will grow up with. And our formative years form a major part of our character. We do not realise it but what we believe is what our actions subconsciously display. And there is a lot that children can do to combat corruption.

For starters they can tell adults that money is not everything, that not everyone has a price. It is a degrading concept that human beings can be bought and sold for any sum of money. For that is what corruption is. Human beings sell their integrity and honesty in return for money. If children tell this to grown-ups then they will listen. Firstly because they will be embarrassed that a child is correcting them. Their ego and pride might get hurt but somewhere deep down inside they know that what they are doing is wrong.

Also children can start up their own groups and clubs campaigning for a new direction for our society. Children are sensitive. We can understand things. Also we have a different perspective towards life. Most of us are not cynical and hard bitten. We are the only idealists in a world full of pessimistic realists who have given up. We bring a breath of fresh air to a society that has long lain stagnant.

Also we are the future of not only this country but of this world. We have to have the courage to stand tall and hold tight to all our aspirations and dreams lest they get trampled in this world of indifferent cynicism and apathy. If children believe that corruption is wrong- wrong at each and every level of society than the future has a chance. The world can have a new wave of citizens who believe in doing the right thing.

The road ahead will not be easy. It will be a perilous journey fraught with danger and hardships. But as they say Rome was not built in a day. Our society has deep connections with corruption. It is something that has existed for eons. The lure of money has stayed glittering for ages. But now is the time to change. And instrumental in this change shall be the children of India, the future of our nation. It is not easy to step away from the known into the unknown. Following a dream requires courage and the strength to deal with failure.  But after all is said and done dreams are the reason we live. And the pursuit of excellence is the greatest goal to aim for.

In a new age, the children of today shall form their tomorrow. They need to learn from the mistakes of yesterday and stand firm. The future depends on whether we, the children of today, are given a chance to state our opinions and follow what we believe. Whether we have the courage to step away from the old ways and fight to bring in new ones. Corruption is a disease that is slowly but surely eroding the very foundations of our societies, eroding our identities. A change is long overdue. And hopefully the one we bring about will be the one needed. But if the children of today fall prey to the darkness of our times, then what will be, no one knows.  


If one ever tries to really watch people, they shed light on a number of things. They all have their own particular mannerisms and traits and certain ways of responding to situations. It reveals quite a bit about them. Things their body language subconsciously portrays. It’s highly amusing to observe people. Their whims and fancies help one get a glimpse of their characters without ever talking to them.

One of my favourite pastimes is people watching. It provides a lot of entertainment during one of those interminable dinner parties that I find myself attending.

Take this lady for instance. She is a namedropper. But not in the traditional sense. Her conversation usually goes along these lines,” Hello! Mrs. X! How are you Mrs. X? Mrs. X have you heard about this thing? Oh! Mrs. X you have not heard about it? Oh dear, Mrs. X! I’ll tell you, Mrs. X…….” And so on. It’s quite funny. I mean does she have a case of serial amnesia that she needs must remind herself of a name every 20 seconds. I don’t know. But her conversation, though highly irritating does provide a sense of ridicule at one of the usual boring gatherings.

Then take my young cousin. Now he is a true character. Whenever he wants something and he is given a categorical no for an answer or even a “maybe, we’ll think about it”, he goes crazy. He will not take no for an answer. He’ll keep on asking the same question every two minutes, and I mean literally every two minutes, until a person gets so angry and worn out that they accede to his demands. If this routine does not generate the desired outcome he goes on to his routine of pleading and begging and looking as if the world has done him a great wrong.  It is a thoroughly amusing antic to witness but extremely annoying to be the intended mark.

Join now!

And then there is another friend of mine who is in the habit of ending each sentence with a breathless ‘you know’. Each sentence goes like ”this happened, you know. And then that happened, you know and then finally this happened, you know”.

And not like she is the last, a certain gentleman I know is in the habit of tugging on his chin whenever he is engrossed deep in thought, you know that you no longer have his attention the minute his hand strays to his face.

And one of the teachers in my old school was in the ...

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