Probity – the ultimate arbiter of public life.
Since the time of the Greek philosophers probity in public life has been a matter of great concern. Monarchs & monarchies did their bit to bring this change with a few success stories to give us the strength to move ahead on the same lines. Onset of democracies marks a sea change in this trend, with structured systems being put in place. Probity implies trustworthiness and incorruptibility.
When one becomes incapable of being false to a trust, responsibility, or pledge is the watershed moment, when we can proclaim its arrival in a society or a governance ecosystem. Democracies the world over have put in their best efforts in pronouncing probity as a leash on public figures to deliver what is mandated out of them in an incorruptible and trustworthy manner.
The democratic systems have created checks and balances in this regard mainly by way of laws and rules, a decentralized system of power and a review mechanism in the judicial process which would be penal and at times correctional. Nonetheless, probity in public life is still a mirage as experienced in the practitioners performance, may it be the political executive, bureaucrats, people’s representatives, NGOs, religious and spiritual leaders, all alike.
Like all democratic values, probity ought to set in deep in our psyche and our value system. The responses in this regard should have become our reflex in nearly seventy years of our existence, as a democratic nation. In a fluid / nebulous time as our freedom struggle, the country is replete with examples of the best practitioners of probity in public life. They are the role models and we should strive to reach the same heights as early as possible.
A sincere beginning ought to happen right now, otherwise the country and its citizens will keep paying a very heavy price for it.
PROBITY IS THE FINAL TOUCHSTONE OF DEMOCRACY.