Tuesday, January 11, 2011

God's provision in the face of corruption

Last Sunday we went to Guwahati. It seems that all my run-ins with corruption happen there! After completing our business(!), we were on our way back when I made a wrong turn. Just as I was making the turn, I heard a policeman whistling away and running after us - I had just turned into a one-way street. Of course, there was nary a sign to warn unsuspecting visitors like us. It was the beginning of a 20 minute long ordeal. The policemen and his 2 associates made it quite clear that paying a fine was the only way I was going to escape going to court. I made it quite clear that I was paying nothing without seeing a receipt, which of course served to irritate them even further. The fact that I from South India (which was obvious from the number plate on my car) only worsened matters. I have no clue how affairs may have turned out had it not been for a friend who was travelling with us who made an impassioned plea for leniency as she had to return to Shillong for night duty.... The policemen then vented his frustration on me by verbally assaulting me with a few choice phrases at the top of his lungs, but more importantly, let us go! For once, it was truly a case of 'sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!' I was so relieved to be let off that even if he had insulted every living (and dead!) relative of mine, I would still have quietly walked away!

I learnt 2 lessons that day. The first was that in situations like this, the challenge is not just about not paying the bribe. The challenge is to bring in the Kingdom value of 'peace that passes understanding', which is independent of circumstance, into the situation. If Paul and Silas could sing and praise from behind the bars of a prison, why could I not know that my situation was always in control, when all that I was faced with was a piddly bribe! I could have saved myself much anguish had I remained calm during the whole episode and who knows, I may have been able to be a silent witness in the situation. Instead, I only served to irritate the policemen and receive a volley of insult that I could very well have done without! This whole business of building the Kingdom of God in my heart is really rather difficult!

My second lesson was of God's provision in difficult circumstances. Had it not been for my friend (who was only travelling with us by chance) who was able to interact with the policeman and induce him to let us off, I may have had to attend a court hearing in Guwahati sometime this week! So, difficult experience though it was, I came away thanking God for friends and for His perfect provisions. And I pray that my faith will grow to the stage when one day, I too, will be able to sing behind prison bars....


  1. Thank you for sharing your testimony of God's provision and undertaking in this difficult situation. Surely each Ebenezer we have in review, confirms His good pleasure to see us quite through.

  2. Thank you for sharing this Arpit. I wish more people would share their similar experinces of standing against corruption. You brought in an important dimension. Not only standing against corruption, but also how we ought to do it.
    Susheel ODC

  3. Thanks you for your kind words. I'm sure both of you have enough stories to tell on this topic. You are an inspiration