An Egyptian tale of corruption, integrity : The Tribune India

Join Whatsapp Channel

An Egyptian tale of corruption, integrity

An Egyptian tale of corruption, integrity

Photo for representational purpose only. - File photo



Col PS Randhawa (retd)

HE was assigned to us as a guide by a local tour and travel company for the Cairo leg of our Egypt tour. He was a cheerful young man, eager to ensure our comfort. As I conversed with him, I discovered that he hailed from a financially disadvantaged family; his salary, converted into Indian currency, was around Rs 10,000 per month. He resided in a slum in Old Cairo. There is extreme poverty in Egypt; impoverished people — be it young children or the elderly — implore you to purchase various items from them. Our guide was consistently there to rescue us from the clutches of unscrupulous vendors.

One day, we were scheduled to board a train from Cairo to Aswan. When its arrival was announced, we took our luggage and started walking to find our compartment. A policeman directed us to wait near the police post. We complied. He walked away as we stood there with the luggage. The guide advised us to proceed.

Subsequently, the cop returned. The guide took him aside and discreetly handed him some money. I witnessed this and enquired about the purpose for which he had paid the policeman. Helplessly, he said: ‘Sir, one has to pay.’ When I asked why, he replied: ‘Sir, had I not paid him, he would have asked you to open your luggage to get your belongings checked. In the meantime, the train would have arrived, and you would have missed it; this would have disrupted the remainder of your tour. It is my responsibility to ensure that you board the train and enjoy the trip, no matter what.’

I asked him how much money he had paid. He declined to disclose the amount. I insisted on compensating him for his loss, but he refused. I felt sorry for him and fervently urged him to take the money from me, but he stood his ground. Upon further inquiry, he said: ‘Sir, if I take money from you, you will leave with a very poor impression of me and my country. I do not want that, even if I have to pay from my pocket. I want more tourists to visit our country so that we keep getting work. We suffered a lot during the Covid years.’ I was left speechless at his spirit of nationalism or patriotism, whatever one may call it.

During our drive through Cairo, we visited Tahrir Square and paid homage to the young men and women who had sacrificed their lives during 2011-13 to bring about a regime change in their country. Corruption had been one of the major rallying points for the protesters. Alas, not much has changed on the ground since then. But I am certain that as long as there are young men like our guide, there is hope for Egypt.


Top News

ED challenges Arvind Kejriwal's bail, as Delhi CM to leave jail today

Arvind Kejriwal to remain in jail as Delhi High Court grants interim stay on trial court's bail order

The AAP national convenor, who was arrested on March 21 by t...

NEET-UG 2024: Supreme Court refuses to stay counselling process; issues notice to National Testing Agency, others

NEET row: Supreme Court refuses to defer counselling; 1,563 students to take exam again on Sunday

The Congress, meanwhile, stages protests across the country ...

NTA postpones CSIR-UGC-NET examination due to ‘unavoidable circumstances and logistical reasons’

NTA postpones CSIR-UGC-NET examination due to ‘unavoidable circumstances and logistical reasons’

The joint CSIR-UGC-NET exam is for the eligibility of candid...

India criticises Canadian parliament observing ‘one-minute silence’ in memory of Hardeep Nijjar

India criticises Canadian parliament observing ‘one-minute silence’ in memory of Hardeep Nijjar

In an unusual move, the Canadian parliament observed ‘one-mi...

Swiss court sentences 4 members of Hinduja family to up to 4.5 years for exploiting their servants

Swiss court sentences 4 members of Hinduja family to up to 4 and a half years for exploiting their servants

The four—Indian-born tycoon Prakash Hinduja and his wife, so...


Cities

View All