"Virtuous motives, trammelled by inertia and timidity are no match for armed and resolute wickedness."- Winston Churchill.
Among the reports that are even critical of Manmohan Singh, there is always a mention of his personal integrity and honesty. The picture presented is that of an honest man thrown into an impossibly corrupted environment.
Let me present the following scenarios…
#1 :A bank is being looted by some robbers. The security person is fully equipped with a gun and has the potential to avert the situation. But far from attempting to avert it, he looks the other way when the robbery takes place. Did he personally indulge in robbing? No. Is the person of good character otherwise? Possibly, yes. But would you call him a person of integrity? I doubt.
#2: You ask help from two of your friends. One person openly states his inability to help and moves out. The other person talks politely and lets you feel important while promising help. You take certain decisions based on the promised help. And yet at the opportune time, this person simply vanishes from sight. Of the two, who was rude? Who was polite? Whose action would you come to appreciate in long term?
#3 : A tribe is threatened by neighboring community. The leader has to make choice and take some hard decisions to protect his tribe. Yet, this man procrastinates and doesn’t take a decision. Due to his inaction, his tribe is wiped out. Was the leader a good person? Again, possibly yes. Did he ever hurt his own people? Possibly, no. Yet, will this leader be revered?
Naiveté in an individual is permissible, but criminal on part of a leader as their decisions would influence the masses. Inaction on part of individual only influences his own life and perhaps his own circle. Inaction on part of a leader is deadly poison that spreads across the whole community and renders them vulnerable to multiple assaults.
Let me elaborate. Nehru is no doubt one among the finest leaders that India could produce. With all his influence he could easily have become a dictator, yet he chose the tedious democratic process to get things done. Yet, we have come to criticize his short-sighted policies that many argue threw India into poverty. But most of his critics would not question his patriotism or honesty of intention. His intention was no doubt noble, yet when he failed, it wasn’t just a person who failed, it was a nation that faced the circumstances.
The will of one leader, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, made the dream of united India (ofcourse that's after partition though) possible and made a difference to millions under the oppressive rule of monarchs in princely states.
With power comes responsibility and it could have been better if Manmohan like Indiri Gandhi merely parrots "Corruption is global phenomenon" instead of making fools of people by staking his so-called personal integrity to protect his colleagues.
I can understand if a middle-class person refuses to fight back corruption and complies to get things done. What I cannot understand is that with powers invested unto him as Prime Minister of India, how he can fail to check the loot of this country by his team.
Considering that he is perfectly nice person (again this is not considered so by many..Please read this article - Manmohan Singh chronology) Contrary to what Manmohan thinks, integrity also involves owning mistakes. When he hints at his personal non-involvement in many of these scams, what he forgets is that as PM its his duty to be informed of all this. If he is not aware of these, then he doesn’t deserve to be in that powerful position.
And if he is aware of these, isn’t he an accomplice in the game which’s also a crime? Isn't he more dangerous than an openly corrupt person?