Is honesty still the best policy?

Given the times we live in, perhaps not!

With life changing for worse, the old saying ‘ honesty is the best policy’ seems to have lost its sheen. In the existing inconsistent society dishonesty is no more an intolerable flaw. Alongwith materialism, favoritism and pretentiousness, dishonesty is the most cherished peculiarity in contemporary societal order. Such change in social system and in our mental outlook is good neither for mankind nor overall system of life. It is the duty of sociologists to study this unfavorable shift in our collective values and decode the degeneration in the social order.

Campaigning against corrupt and initiating fight against corruption can land you in trouble at times. Personally I had several unpleasant experiences, at occasions I got overpowered by treachery and deceit perpetuated by the corrupt. In the recent past, my crusade against corruption constrained me to withdraw from a particular district and seek a transfer. There were several other instances where and when I had to think twice. However, interestingly, few months back a senior officer up in the hierarchy asked for me and demanded a favour— to top- up the fuel tank of his private vehicle. It was a unique situation, as I am not used to such embracing briefings. The instantaneous shocker created a virtual pop- up window in my mind, entertaining several queries. Is this part of my job contract to have such rubbish from the superiors? Am I duty bound to oblige the boss even if his demand is unethical? What is the way- out to revolt against such insanity and the manner to report it to highest authority? These and several other questions were part of this imaginary pop- up window. Ultimately, I put my foot down and asked for written instructions to top- up his gluttonous car. As expected his officious response was ‘ You don’t know how to behave and conduct while interacting with your superiors’. In line with his plot he may have added ‘ you may go now’ but sensing trouble he grudgingly smiled off his anger and facilitated my leaving from his chamber. While departing from him I gave a bit of my mind to this avaricious personality and made him understand that his overbearing conduct tantamount to graft and can invite trouble.

Now, the routed poor fellow hiding in the garb of my superior and eager to browbeat and initiate a clandestine war against me resorted to old saying ‘ everything is fair in love and war’. Exploring and exploiting holes in my working; labeling genuine decision making into wrongdoing and much more became the best of his job- chart. His only agenda is to prove me wrong till his diktat is proven right and his king size ego satisfied to the best of his wishes. He wants his faux pas to be painted white and to prove that his otherwise hypocritical move was genuine and got distorted because of my dishonesty. Chor Machaye Shor! Authority and power being on his side, he is out to prove me wrong. But, I believe, and believe firmly, that truth will prevail.

This experience of mine is not unique, as many people go through such hell and most of the times, even after being on right path, get condemned as untruthful. All this happens at the behest of nastiest of the insincere people. Power corrupts, but not only the individuals who enjoy power, but most of the times it corrupts the whole system. Thus a system gets swayed against the innocent who dare to denounce corruption, leave alone the hard- nuts who have the courage to stand firmly against corrupt; they get culled as tainted lot. Opinion in modern society for gradual approval of corruption is shaping with impunity. Time is approaching when saying no to corruption will be considered a taboo. If things move at this pace and don’t change for the best, honesty and uprightness will be a far cry, making honest people to feel isolated and haunted. Personally, at this crucial juncture in this unethical society I am finding myself isolated, exhausted and about to be excommunicated along with other hot- headed guys and titled as ‘ persona non grata ’. At times, I intend to compromise with the situation, do away with my principles and avoid taking battle with strongly entrenched tribe of dishonest and unethical people. In heart of hearts I strongly consider, ‘ Better not to be honest’! But then my inner- self gives a call for revolt.