“Crime butchers innocence to secure a throne, and innocence struggles with all its might against the attempts of crime”, said Maximilien Robespierre, one of the bestknown and most influential figures of the French Revolution, a capable articulator of the beliefs of the left-wing bourgeoisie. Forget the fact that Robespierre was called "dictateur sauvage" (blood-thirsty dictator) by his adversaries, or maybe keep in mind that people often reveal themselves by their words. Crime has been one of the longest-lived professions of the world. It has existed since time immemorial. Man’s insatiable greed has been its raison d’etre for ages past. And unfortunately despite the best efforts of authorities over the ages, it has proved to be very profitable; sometimes way more profitable than legal means of making money. “Behind every great fortune there is a crime”, said Honore de Balzac, a French novelist and playwright regarded as one of the founders of realism in European literature. He is renowned for his multi-faceted characters; even his lesser characters are complex, morally ambiguous and fully human. What he said raises some very disturbing questions. Is it almost impossible to become rich without taking to crime? Are the great fortunes of our times and past times but products of unscrupulous and unprincipled minds? Is Who’s Who but a dictionary of criminals? Now that seems to be going a bit too far right? And maybe it is. Not everyone can be like that. But the above words and the stature of the man who said it tell us that many fortunes are black. In India, crime has become so common that we do not raise our eyebrows when we see it in action. We take it for granted. Something that we find undesirable and irritable, but cannot do anything about. It has even entered our popular culture as a facet of our existence. Our netas, policemen and babus too are often depicted as criminals to

provide comic relief in media. This does not raise eyebrows as it should; rather it makes us laugh. This attitude should scare us and shows how far away from the ideal we are. We are, forget denial, past caring and we frankly have no idea how to get rid of this leech. “Poverty is the mother of crime”, said Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor from 161 to 180, the last of the "Five Good Emperors", and also considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers. Aurelius approached the Platonic ideal of a philosopherking and he symbolized much of what was best about Roman civilization. Well, he would know. India in spite of all the progress it has made over the last many years since Independence still remains one of the poorer countries; in some ways ranking near countries in sub-Saharan Africa in poverty levels as some surveys show. With the aforementioned human trait of greed so very prevalent, people try to carve out a niche for themselves in today’s world and find in crime an easy way. And once they get sucked in, there is almost no way out. It is a life of desperation as one can see. And in some ways the law and order situation add to the exasperation of the criminals. Not only are the keepers of the law easily corruptible but are also exceedingly brutal and vicious in some ways. And not only that. “Some laws of state aimed at curbing crime are even more criminal”, said Friedrich Engels, German social scientist, author, political theorist, philosopher, and father of communist theory, alongside Karl Marx. Together they produced The Communist Manifesto in 1848. Engels also edited the second and third volumes of Das Kapital after Marx's death. The law is sometimes inappropriate. Life puts too much of pressure on poor people and the end result is that the crime-rate of our country increases more and more. And that is exactly what is happening these days. With India’s rapidly burgeoning population, while some people are massing wealth as never before, the poorest of the poor in India are also mushrooming. This is leading to more and more people turning to crime as a way of life. With the aforementioned depiction of policemen as criminals often being true, and with the number of policemen in our country often being woefully inadequate, crime has become a hard-to-stop endemic epidemic. Sometimes, popular culture extols crime in

the form of movies and other ways and causes people to turn to crime in a big way. With poor people finding cheap movie tickets a viable and enjoyable form of entertainment as no other, the problem has only exacerbated. It is a treacherous downward spiral from which there looks to be no escape. A bed of quicksand. So, as time goes on, we find ourselves sinking lower and lower with no end in sight. With the Government being ineffective in this regard, there seem to be only clouds in the horizon, with no silver linings. So, as can be seen from statistical evidence, the total cognizable crime (IPC) in 1953 was approximately six lakh incidents. By 2002, it had risen to about eighteen lakh incidents. Figures do sometimes tell stories, as you can see. “Crime is a product of social excess”, said Vladimir Lenin, a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician, who as leader of the Bolsheviks headed the Soviet state during its initial years as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a socialist economic system. We as concerned citizens of our country should try to discourage crime and criminals, but this does not seem to be happening. As aforementioned, we seem to take them for granted. We tolerate criminals and do not discourage or report crime. In this way hoi polloi are aggravating the situation. We should feel a sense of responsibility for our country and try to cleanse it of all sins. Only if such an attitude is developed among our people, will be able to reach greater heights. “He who does not prevent a crime when he can, encourages it,” said Lucius Annaeus Seneca Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and in one work humorist, of the Silver Age of Latin literature. He was tutor and later advisor to Emperor Nero. We would do well to keep his words in our minds and not be as unmindful as his protégé who “fiddled when Rome burned”. As we speak the situation is deteriorating; with rogue gangs plying their trade and destroying the very fabric of our society and making a mockery of the law. The problem of organized crime has become worse and worse with people literally queuing up to join in. Honest people are being pushed to the background and are suffering as a result. An unacceptable consequence. And at the end of the day, we listen to news channels exposing scams after scams one after the other. The CWG scandal, the Adarsh Housing scam, the 2G allotment scam have all dulled the luster of the gem that is

India. Our founding fathers would hang their heads in shame if they could see India right now. For who among our leaders can bear to look at the faces of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, those radiant beacons of light, those staunch upholders of integrity and candor seeing the state in which our country is in?