What to do with ill-gotten gains?
However useful, ill-gotten wealth should be discarded at once. (Couplet – 113)
நன்றே தரினும் நடுவிகந்தாம் ஆக்கத்தை
அன்றே யொழிய விடல். (குறள் – 113)
In the state of Tamil Nadu, during the period 1947 to 1949, there was a Chief Minister by the name Omandur Ramasamy Reddiyar. He was a very honest man. There was an incident in his life that bears testimony to his impeccable honesty. Once, he went on a tour and stayed in a government guesthouse and returned to his residence. Upon his return, his driver was unloading the luggage from the trunk of his car. Mr. Reddiyar found that the driver was bringing in a jack fruit. He asked the driver where he got the jack fruit. The driver replied, “Sir, while we stayed at the government guest house, the watchman gave this fruit.” Mr. Reddiyar said, “The fruit belongs to the government guesthouse, and I am not supposed to get it.” He told the driver to take the jack fruit back to the guesthouse. The jack fruit was not worth much. Probably it was worth less than a dollar. To him, it was a matter of principle that he should not take anything that did not legitimately belong to him.
A similar incident happened in Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Mr. C.N. Annudurai’s life also. Mr. C. N. Annadurai was affectionately called as Anna. Immediately after becoming the Chief Minister, Anna moved to Chennai while his wife was still staying in his home in Kanchipuram, which is about 45 miles from Chennai. Anna’s house in Kanchipuram was not well furnished. The furniture in his house was old and damaged. While Anna was in Chennai, a businessman filled his house with new furniture. His wife thought it was government-supplied furniture because her husband had become the Chief Minister. When Anna came to Kanchipuram to visit his wife, he was surprised to see all the new and elegant furniture. He asked his wife about the furniture. She said, “Somebody brought all this furniture. I thought the government has furnished our house because you have become the Chief Minister.” Upon further inquiry, Anna found that it was a gift from a local businessman. He immediately called the businessman and asked him to remove all the furniture supplied by him.
These are just two examples of incidents in the lives of two extremely honest men. These examples are worthy of emulation by others when they end up with ill-gotten gains.