Mar 4, 2009

Slimedog Millionaire

Hallelujah! In a recent survey conducted by the Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC), India stands proudly as the 5th most corrupt nation in the world. Needless to say, our political and business class is making serious attempts to ensure that we come on top of the list. Unfortunately, this view does not distursturbed most of the Indians at all and they do not seem to care as to what others think of them; so long as the existing systems and practices would allow them to make money and get things done in one way or the other. It seems the virtue of integrity is all but nowhere. So, how bad is corruption in India? Yeah right, and how deep is the Indian Ocean?

It does not shock us anymore to know that not only the politicians or bureaucrats are corrupt, but even the 'humanitarian' professionals - judges, professors, doctors and NGO organisations - are. Corruption is no longer a phenomenon limited to the rich (who are greedy in spite of possessing enough) but is also rampant amongst the poor. With politics and the judiciary, and now even business, having become the playground of criminals, the crusade against corruption seems to have finally failed in India. We have become victims as well as beneficiaries of the phenomenon, making sure it thrives incessantly and becomes a way of life.

The most disquieting aspect of the widespread corruption in India is the fact that it is not anymore confined to politicians or the government machinery alone. It is prevalent amongst almost every section of the society at every level. Political corruption grabs headlines and popular attention, and reinforces the false belief that the society at large is shielded from the fangs of nepotism. But headline corruption does not convey the full picture. When we look beyond government officials, we would uncover the same in key areas such as the business sector, media, the armed forces, public healthcare and religious institutions.

Those holding the most significant offices in the country and its states should possess the wisdom to realise the potential dangers that our corrupt society can unleash. Our representatives cannot be people who would compromise with governance for the lure of remaining in power for a few more days. In a corrupt government organisation (pardon the redundancy) there are no half measures. It is not like only the babu was corrupt. Usually, the entire organisation, right from the peon to the babu right up to the top brass, has a stake in the underhand dealings. How much to be paid to whom for what is usually an open secret.

Corruption is an assault on the collective conscience of India, made legitimate by the 'chalta hai' attitude that has now come to best define our mindset. Much as we would like to (and I include myself in 'we'), we cannot dismiss corruption as something which happens everwhere and so is acceptable. This can never be an excuse for allowing it to happen here. We realise that corruption is amorphous and is a shape-shifter; it comes in many forms and sizes. Worse, the measures being adopted, if at all, to fight this menace are inept and temporary at best.

Sending a few politicians or bureaucrats to jail (presuming that enough evidence against them is available) can at best be a temporary expedient. Such an event would make the headlines of the day and would, in all probability, be forgotten in no time. Nobody, save the insatiable 24x7 news channels, would benefit from this. Another remedial plan contemplates major overhauling on the administrative, legislative and societal fronts. It includes abolition of red-tapism and insistence on statutory declaration of assets. But these are long-term measures, and who would ever expect anyone to pass legislation that is against their own interests? Several cases remain pending and are seldom probed or scrutinised with a sharp eye.

The situation, it therefore seems, is hopeless. Call it survival instinct, social subsidy or social engineering, corruption is here to stay. So should that be another reason for us to throw our hands up in the air and learn to live with the status quo? We can decry it, we can condemn it, we may moralise over it, but corruption continues to exist. We feel that if we had good politicians and bureaucrats, India would be a better place to live in. The real change, however, can come only when we start demanding accountability and the government is forced to respond. Then it would not be easy for the government to go astray.

We must pledge to never tolerate a government which tolerates injustice and accepts corruption as a national value. We must rid the country of political abuse and misuse of power, even if it means cleansing the political cesspool and massive overhauling of our systems. The support and ownership of civil society is crucial, as is the realisation that corruption is an innate psychological aspect of our mental make-up. Once this appreciation come, maybe we could find ways to tackle it.


  1. Thanks Surbhi !

    Corruption was a topic about which i thought a lot before i started blogging, but perhaps it was out of my mind during blogging. I would try to post something on that.

    I really think that all problems are interrelated and mutually cooperative, and corruption is the single most harmful of them all. We have not so dumb people who can not think any remedy for any situation, but the real problem is the application of solution.

    I consider corruption as a mixture of three things. The first one is the Greed; and second one is the Twisted Perception of love. The third one is rather new kind, the peer pressure.

    Now I am not referring to love as that favourite one between a boy and a girl, but to all other forms of relationships too.

    Our desires are never satisfied. From Maruti to mercedes , our desires increase successively. The peer status also adds up to our desires.

    Then comes perception of love. Instead of teaching their children to live on their own, letting them suffer some miseries to teach them something, and providing them values in life, parents tend to kind of pre-decide the lives of their children based on a failsafe proof plan. For parents , providing their children some money or other materials for their desires or peer groups is LOVE. If thats Love , then i hate Love. They have no perception of Love in reality, they don't mind whether their child is able to communicate fully and easily with them or not. The children with quick provisions of desires grow up no good, and can be reasonably called as goons who flaunt their money and possessions under the protective cover of their parents and become as them.

    The peer group has another dimension in context of corruption. As we might have experienced (At least i have) that humbleness and honesty is no longer a virtue, its a SIGN of your weakness. Same applies to the jobs. Many of them indulge in corruption just because everyone else is doing it.

    At last, i would say that whatever a person does is for himself. That needs to be understood. Corruption and greed also effects the people who indulge in them, though we might not be able to witness their miseries as they are too clever to lead a fake life !

    Surbhi Rocks !!!! :) :)
    Chalo chalo ab mere post pe bi comment kar dena. kuch toh faayada ho muje. har insaan kisi maqsad se kuch karta hai; ye main ni saari duniya kehti hai.

  2. RK:
    You've explained the point much better. Please, please, can you reproduce this comment you wrote as a post on your blog? It is an amazing analysis - greed, peer pressure, and best of all, a "twisted perception of love".
    This was something that is so true and so real today. Of course, most people think their parental duties include going to any lengths to see their child's dream fulfilled, even if it means doing the wrong thing, or maybe the right thing in te wrong way. And parents or not, we all feel at most times that the ends justify the means.
    Yes, honesty and humility are not virtues anymore. It means you lack survival instinct - that desirable quality whose definition has been twisted beyond recognition today. Once a need of the hour and an honorable trait survival instinct has today become synonymous with "getting there/that by hook or by crook". Corruption many times becomes unavoidable and even necessary, which is why I said that we are "victims as well as beneficiaries".

    PS: As for that last remark, that's bribery, which is an inherent part of corruption. ;) LOL...

  3. See there are a lot of things that decide this. Its not only corruption alone, it goes back to the birth, the upbringing and all.
    e.g: 90% of the music lovers download music from net-Which is known as Piracy
    90% of the engineers download movies from torrents before they are released and watch them and distribute them in each and every hostel/state/country [:D]-which is also corruption
    People are not actualy conscious enough of the things happenning around and by the time it is realized, you are deep into it.
    Moral of the Story- Go back to basics because only the things that run in our blood stay with us forever, nothing else.

  4. Tarun:
    I hang my head in shame as I admit that I have on many occasions downloaded pirated music. It may look like the pot calling the kettle black when I write such a post on a vice I indulge in myself. But I really wanted to highlight corruption as it exists in all its glory in India today, eating our country from within. Your moral of the story holds true, and like I said, "We are the victims as well as the beneficiaries...".
    Thanks for that comment! I, for one, surely needed that.

  5. We are on the almost top of ever-list-we-shouldnt-be -on. Population, poverty and now corruption. I think are founding fathers must be have a hard day :) in heaven, as our politicians who btw, are doing everything to destroy the nation are not even corrupting properly. no 5.

    We should have pledged to never tolerate a government which tolerates injustice and accepts corruption as a national value. But then we don't choose the government, the 85% of other indians do so, we can now just pay for someones tea and somasa so that he gives you a phone connection in a day.

  6. See there is always scope, you know!!!
    There is always a reason to be good again :D
    Lets try to be conscious and then conscious things will happen :)

  7. Do you agree that India should have an agency to counter terrorism like the one in the US? If you think this is a good idea, then vote here! We need lots of support for this idea. So, please get as many citizens to support this initiative.

  8. Chirag:
    Like I said, corruption is a necessary evil. At times, we do become party to it, whether we wish to or not. We are truly both the perpetrators as well as the victims of this menace.
    Like Tarun said earlier, we may preach and rant but we too fall into the devious trap at times, sometimes willingly.
    You are right, we alone do not elect the government. There are others who don't even know what vting means, and they are promised a good supply of illicit liquor in return for their sold votes. But ever vote does count, and we can make sure ours does.
    "our politicians who btw, are doing everything to destroy the nation are not even corrupting properly. no 5." - Funn yet scary, and definitely shameful. I cannot even begin to fathom how someone can't feel ashamed at this!

  9. Jaydev:
    I am sorry, but even though your effort is praise-worthy, let us not advertise your site on my blog.
    I expect relevant commenting, which is actually not much to expect.
    Jai Hind! :)


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