Once the palm is greased, it starts itching for something more valuable. The vicious circle starts and it goes on swirling like a spiral. In case one is caught red-handed, one will be punished according to the law of the land. Otherwise one's conscience will prick him all through one's life.
The end result is suffering, physical as well as mental. But in public, the corrupt manage to maintain a facade of honesty.
At times one may cry, in the stillness of one's mind, like Lady Macbeth - "Will these hands be never clean?" The system seldom changes as it has acquired a solid base. Still it can undergo a change if it is realised that ill-gotten money is a curse.
It demonises both the giver and the taker. It is like a marshland where the person with a heavy load of undue favours sinks deeper and deeper. The change of heart requires not only the individual effort but also the effort of the whole family.
When the spouse and the children do not approve of the method of adopting underhand means to get rich quick, the outlook of the person under focus will change. This can happen only when the accumulation of material goods and the flaunting of a flashy lifestyle are disdained in social circles.
The craze for money is no doubt the root cause of the malaise of corruption. Next comes the craze for power. When a person starts craving for something he does not deserve, he is ready to pledge his soul to the devil for gaining his objective.
He wants to get all the pleasures of life without realising that these will ultimately rob him of his peace of mind. He confuses life of pleasure with the joy of living. Power is like an imp that changes itself into many forms to hoodwink an over-ambitious person. There is an unbreakable link between power and corruption. This point of view is concerned with attaining power through underhand means.
A person of high repute falls from his pedestal the moment he tries to be in the good books of the king. He may achieve a high position in the scheme of things but, in the process, his reputation will be tarnished to no end.
A poet laureate loses the glitter of his earlier poetic image when he stands in the royal court with the cap in his hand. Even Mirza Ghalib's anxiety to seek royal patronage has never been approved of by his admirers. His contemporary Momin Khan Momin never aspired for that position.
The lust for money by the high and the low as well as the craze for power by the thinkers, poets, musicians and artists ultimately leads to a blind alley. In the process, such persons lose self respect and public adulation. The advantages acquired from royal patronage, in one form or another, amount to corruption.