Faith and Corruption

Faith and Corruption

This is not a time for silence. The SA Hindu Maha Sabha supports the demands for accountability, transparency and consequences for the looters of Covid-19 funds and all forms of corruption.

This mantra (sacred chant) from the (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, I.iii.28) encompasses the essence of the Hindu view towards corruption. Hindu scriptures explicitly condemn corruption and promote truthfulness. Hindu scriptures declare: “Satyameva Jayate” (Truth alone triumphs) (Mundaka Upanishad, 3.1.6).

A common thread in Hindu scriptures (and indeed, in all faiths) is the call to fight for justice and righteousness, and corruption is a deviation from this path.

In our country, malfeasance thrives in this era of unrighteousness; the darkness of corruption envelops our nation; the Zondo Commission grapples to establish the truth; while law and order and the justice system have been manipulated to favour the corrupt ruling elite, their families, friends, associates and handlers. 

Religions have generally been associated with the ideals of peace, tolerance, non-violence, fairness, equality and justice. In 1993, the Assembly of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, recognising that “every human being must be treated humanely”, committed itself to a culture of “non-violence and respect for life; solidarity and a just economic order; equal rights and partnership between men and women; tolerance and a life of truthfulness.”

There is a close association between religion, ethics and morality. In fact, the faith sector is widely believed to be the custodian of ethics, morality and integrity. However, as Professor Syed Shahabuddin has argued:

“Belief in religion is not always based on what a sacred book teaches, but what society believes religion is. That is, morality, ethics, and behaviour are learned by observing what is practiced and followed in social structures rather than knowing what is in the sacred books of various religions. As a result, if corruption is socially acceptable and condoned, everyone will accept and follow the practice regardless of sacred books teaching against immorality”.