Erosion of Social Engineering

The ongoing investigation and deposition of various people from government officials to politicians in relation to the ‘refugee scam’, once again, has brought corruption at the centre stage of national discourse.  People are watching and waiting for the final outcome with some hope, and more skepticism. But what has been overshadowed in this phase of discourse is the concerns over the erosion of our social mechanisms leading to multifaceted corruption, and culprits not being punished.

The refugee scam has attracted more attention as it has seen top politicians and high ranked bureaucrats detained and being investigated. The simultaneity of the crime is so intense that it advanced through fraudulent practice, organized crime to treason. The gang involved in duping millions of rupees listing Nepalese as ‘fake Bhutanese refugee’ assuring their settlement to the United States obviously had an influence over the cross party network cemented by corruption.

There has since long been discussion that corruption prevails at every level of governance. But, with the current scam outspread, the paradigm of concern has shifted towards corruption underneath the protection of the statecraft. The police have detained 18 people so far. A former deputy prime minister and another a home minister, a serving government secretary are among those arrested – to name a few.

With such magnitude of wrong doing guiding top politicians and bureaucrats two major questions arise: What inspires this level of crime and absence of  accountability among such high-ranking authorities ? And why such despair prevails among the citizens that they prefer more to go out of the nation’s border instead of seeking the guilty to bring to justice? These questions, if probed prudently leaving aside current myopic approach, will go beyond law and justice and may even have bearing on our social engineering.

The mechanism of law along with the justice system cannot go beyond social precondition.  And before the society comes to terms to the existing reality that ‘only thing transparent in our society is corruption’, serious measures need to be taken to inject hope, courage and will to change that. On this front, the act of punishment upon proven guilty will perhaps be accomplished without adhering to social engineering but precedence of accountability and ethics would no more
be set.

The mechanism of law along with the justice system cannot go beyond social precondition.  And before the society comes to terms to the existing reality that ‘only thing transparent in our society is corruption’, serious measures need to be taken to inject hope, courage and will to change that.

For this aim to pursue, the foregoing questions have to be stringently accompanied with even more pondering ones. Why is the state mechanism all set to protect the corruption? Where do the aspirations to get out of the country by any means even at the cost of nation’s dignity emanate from? What’s the bridging line between citizens and the nation and those to navigate the bond? Are rich and ‘powerful’ the only ones that justice system wants to cater to? Whom should the people at grass roots go to solve day to day hurdles? Why do those that struggle hard to survive not have much to aspire in the country?

These questions among others represent pressing phenomena in our context – the abuse of authority and embezzlement. ‘The genuine explanation of social phenomena must separate the investigation on the cause that produces the phenomena and the function it fulfils’, as said by one of the founding figures of sociology Emile Durkheim. As such, it’s time to retrospect what are the ‘social preconditions’ serving as catalysts to such pressing phenomena?

Law has no meaning unless practiced justly. For this reason, ascertaining social facts and needs with thorough study and investigation beforehand is a must. It not only fosters the ground to implement laws but also makes recipients informed and law abiding. But existing practices are pro-VIPS providing them the umbrella of immunity. This immunity in fact places the rich and powerful ‘above the law’ category. Naturally, those outside this group come the general category of people discriminated by law and their practices by the state.  Upon these preconditions, several laws and acts seem to be enforced.

That only proves the need for carrying out feasibility study prior to law making and the need to learn lessons from the failure of implemented measures.  Let’s consider two basic flip flops of practices. First, it has been several years since we heard of the ‘plastic ban’. We hear the deadline to replace single use plastic, and later the deadline is replaced, not the plastic.

Another is a law pertaining to social practice of marriage, unbeknownst to many, known as the Social Practice Reform Act. It says that each side of the wedding invites no more than fifty-one people to the ceremony. However, as the marriage season is currently underway, we can all take the moment to count the number of people present at the recent ceremonies, with none complying to the rule.

Undoubtedly, these inferences may seem not as major as the headlines ‘refugee scam’ to what this write up began with. But, innumerable such inferences have built the social template of resistance to and against law and insistence to place self above it. The law and social practices should go hand in hand; one trailing the other opens the door to defiance and chaos. Those making the law should have structure in place to both communicate and enforce, while those that need to follow do so with respect.

A serious introspection from all sides concerned is a necessity if we want to stop the erosion of our social engineering. And a pavement forward to this goal is to probe on the very template of resistance and insistence rather than outcry following a particular case or event.