Why don’t we speak up?

During a train journey last week, the TTE (Travel Ticket Examiner) in the 2A (AC 2-tier sleeper) coach was collecting the fare difference from passengers who had purchased their tickets before the announcement of the 14.2% fare increase (effective from June 25, 2014).

A few passengers, including me, gave the TTE the exact amount. To the other passengers, the TTE was returning slightly less than the correct amount of change. For example, if he had to return Rs. 35, he was returning only Rs. 30. He did not offer any explanation and the passengers did not question him. This happened in my presence to 3 passengers. I was surprised that these passengers did not question the TTE. They had confirmed tickets, and had nothing to lose by asking him for the exact change. Since they appeared perfectly capable of fighting their own battles, I resisted the urge to speak up on their behalf.

After the TTE left, I confirmed from the 3 passengers that the TTE had indeed short-changed them. After confirming that their tickets were in their own names, and they had the necessary Identity Proof, I asked them why they hadn’t questioned the TTE. They just smiled sheepishly. One of them said, “It was only Rs. 5.” The other 2 nodded.

Why don’t we speak up? Why do we tolerate corruption even when we have nothing to lose by speaking up? Why don’t we understand that the only way to stop corruption, or to reduce it drastically, is to show zero tolerance to corruption?

Related post: Speech Disorder or Spinal Problem?

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11 thoughts on “Why don’t we speak up?

  1. I have the same question! Why do we never speak up?!
    Its like when the shopkeeper gives 1 chocolate worth 50 paise instead of a rupee in change. If I want a chocolate I will buy chocolate!
    The number of times I have stood and waited and fought for that rupee is countless! And then I’m asked – “Why are you fussing for just Rs. 1?!”
    My answer has always been the same – “Why are you fussing for just Rs. 1? Since its JUST one rupee, you let it go. why are you asking me to?”
    After a lot of grumbling, I get my change! Hopeless really!

  2. I am guilty of that and it’s wrong I know..our rehene do attitude is what makes corruption rampant. You raised important questions how taking one rupee extra from 20 people make them rich by the day. We need to speak and be the change-it’s a question of principle:)

  3. This is not the case only with TTEs. I experienced this with a bank when I had paid in a Rs 1000 X 1 when I had to deposit Rs 995/- .& the cashier said that he did not have RS 5.00 to return to me.
    The bank expects me to give Rs 995 in multiple denominations instead of returning Rs 5.00. I did this & was satisfied that I was not losing the Rs 5.00. Soooo much for “BANKING”

  4. You’ll find the same people fighting with a rickshaw-puller on a hot July afternoon for the same Rs.5. Corruption is not the problem of the corrupt. It is these people who encourage corruption.

  5. YEs.. if only we spoke .. it is only 5 rs. but it is not right.. I had that when i asked for the money back at a place, my cousin was with me and he was like “Veerji its only a few PENCE”.. yeah it is a few pence BUT i have had to work very hard to get that PENCE…

    and I can understand if the person says Sir leave the change, I probably would but just to assume that it is ok to keep is not right.. I dont mind leaving the Rs 5 if the TT said please he needs it more .. but the audacity to just assume ,..

    and then we go and cry that there is corruption all around.. NO wonder it exists because we let it

  6. Can’t believe that this TTE did this! And more than that, why didn’t the passengers ask for their full change? Really this chalta hai attitude must change, one person at a time.

  7. We are used to watching people robbing money from us and are fed of of arguing esp. for small changes and this nature of ours is being used by habitual corrupt people.

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