‘90% of us are dishonest; 75% are status quoists’

Veerabhadra Chennamalla Swamiji of the Nidumamidi Mutt in Praja Vani:

“There is no honesty left anywhere. Ninety per cent of us are dishonest. Even those who should have provided moral direction in such misguided times—religious heads, spiritual leaders, swamijis, sanyasis, social workers, activists, intellectuals, the media—have themselves joined the flock.

“Fake swamijis have sprung up wearing the cloak of spirituality. Society has discovered a price for duplicity. Selfishness abounds. Making money has become the primary and only objective. A dark shadow has enveloped our lives. The honest have been reduced to meek, helpless spectators.

“Democracy should have bloomed in the lap of the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. But it is growing in the cockles of corruption, communalism and casteism. We have divided our people in the name of god, religion, caste, language. Instead of uniting, our parties and politicians are dividing the people.

“Immorality has become a way of life. Even if all the money of the World Bank is poured into our soil, it will not be enough. So complete is our departure from ethics, morals and values. Seventy-five per cent of us are status-quoists. How then can we restore what we have lost?

“For corrupt politicians and officials, for brokers and middlemen, the poor, the underprivileged, the marginalised of the country are like a goldmine. Their real achievement is in making the common people believe that corruption is not just normal but a good thing.”