Saturday, August 4, 2012

Confessions of a Corrupt Indian...

It has not been surprising how over the past few days, every news channel is going berserk with debates, discussions, news-specials and breaking-news about the ‘India Against Corruption’ campaign which has been going on for quite some time now. There have been views both for and against the movement, some subdued, others harsh. But there are a few points which made me ponder upon what exactly was and is happening.

Firstly, as I hear each social-activist, celebrity, politician and even common people exclaim on the television how every Indian is sick and tired of corruption in the country. I wonder if every Indian citizen is against corruption, then who exactly are the corrupt people ? Are they some individuals imported from places like North Korea, Iraq or Kazakhstan ?

I know my question appears rather stupid, as ‘every Indian’ here means every citizen who is not corrupt. Then who exactly is corrupt ?

And then I come to realize that the common man or the ‘aam aadmi’ of India refers to the government officials, bureaucrats and politicians when he talks about corruption. So I ask, are theses people then, some foreign nationals who have smuggled into India for the purpose of looting its people ? Or is it the Chinese population who voted for our parliamentarians ???

NO ! All the corrupt people against whom all of India is fighting are legal citizens of India as well. But are these government-related individuals any different from the rest of the Indian population ? (except the fact that they are corrupt)

NO ! They come from the very society that makes up the rest of the population. Be it a peon, a clerk, a bureaucrat, a politician or a minister. And it is certain that a person’s economic class has nothing to do with him being corrupt or not. A peon, if corrupt, will ask for a bribe, just as a minister will, to help a business lobby.

And there’s a war going on between the IAC movement and the government about passing a bill. The IAC wants a ‘Jan Lokpal Bill’ while the government is adamant on its own version of a ‘Lokpal Bill’. And it is almost an accepted perception that such a bill will certainly curtail corruption and without which corruption cannot be checked. As if such a Bill/law/anti-corruption body is the one and only way to weed out corruption from the country.

So, in other words, we are trying to emphasize that we, the corrupt people, will not change unless and until there is a law which honestly and efficiently checks us if we are corrupt and punishes us if we are guilty !

Isn’t it amazing how we dance, sing, fly the tricolor and rejoice in anticipation of the passing of such a ‘Bill’. Isn’t it like rejoicing about the realization of the extent of corruption ?

Should we actually be proud that our society has come to such a low that there is no hope of us changing and we simply refuse to change unless we are checked and punished ??? That we will stop being corrupt only when forced by the law…

It is said that corruption is so rampant because the people in charge are not accountable. And that the people at the helm are corrupt themselves so corruption is rooted deep into the system. Doesn’t that mean that every subordinate will continue to be corrupt till his superior is corrupt too ?

Are all government officials honest people before they join their jobs ?

Do they become corrupt only after they get into the government service ?

If they were honest before, should they become corrupt just because they have a corrupt superior who doesn’t check them ?

Each and every government official and employee is from amongst us. They may be someone from our family, friends, neighbors or relatives. Then how do they manage to become corrupt ? Is a person corrupt without his family knowing about it ? But still, we as a society let it happen just because it is someone close to us. And we point fingers to those whom we are not related to.

Secondly, is corruption only synonymous with the government ? Is every other individual in any other field of work completely honest ?

What about the doctor at a private hospital who refers his patients for useless investigations just because he gets a part of the investigation charges too ? Is that not corruption ? (Being from the medical field I have witnessed things which might put even a government employee to shame)

What about the employee of a Multi National company who prepares forged bills for re-imbursement from his company ? Is he not corrupt ?

What about the member of a NGO who bungles funded money instead of utilizing it for the required purpose ? Is that not corruption ?

What about the person who drives without a seat-belt/helmet or over-speeds and tries to bribe the policeman instead of accepting a ticket ? Is he honest ?

A common-man who is a honest citizen who is sick and tired of corruption, protests for an anti-corruption bill without realizing :

How he turns his head away when his neighbor is hacking the electricity line without using a valid meter. Just because the neighbor looks after his house when he is away.

How he tries to bribe a railway official to provide him a seat without having a valid ticket to travel.

How he skips taking a valid bill while shopping, to evade the service tax.

How he ignores the fact that his own colleagues are indulging in corrupt practices while being in either the government or the private sector.

How he writes an application for a false sickness-leave for his school going relative just because he skipped school for no reason. Probably training the kid who may one day himself go on to forge documents as an official.

How he secretly conducts coaching classes even though it is illegal for him to do so being a government salaried school/college teacher.

How he bungles up donations collected from the locality in the name of organizing a religious function.  

The above are just a few examples of the types of corruption a common man takes active part in. And even if I haven't indulged in such acts, I am no less corrupt by being a mute spectator and letting others indulge in such acts just because they are close to me. 

But somehow, we seem to be obsessed by linking the word corruption to everything related to only government offices. We detest at having to pay a bribe to a stranger in some office, but we are fine when our own near and dear ones do the same.

I am all for any anti-corruption bill, even if it is directed only to government related corruption and even if it curbs corruption by 0.0001%. Anything positive, no matter how little should be appreciated.

But living in a false sense of euphoria that any rule or law can eradicate corruption or even curb it to a great extent is dangerous.

Corruption is not some dust that can be wiped with the magic broom of a Bill. It is also not any act. (bribe or otherwise) Corruption is a part of one’s character. So, even if strict laws are made to check a corrupt individual, he will always find ways to play by his character.

A rule or a law can be a symptomatic treatment. But just as in medicine, any symptomatic treatment should be given to suppress the symptoms while the root cause of the disease is being treated, just relying on a symptomatic treatment for cure can be dangerous. So, prevention and awareness of our society through those near to us is the only way to cure the menace of corruption. And that’s not possible overnight.

As for the government, it can never change till people continue to vote according to caste, religion and ideologies of political parties.

So, while I’ll be all for any anti-corruption movement, I, as a citizen, need to check my own indulgence in any sort of corruption and also create awareness and prevent those near me to indulge in corruption. I don’t need to sing, dance, clap or run around with a cap on my head and a tricolor in my hand in anticipation of a magic cure in the form of a Bill. Even if that forces me to be labeled as pro-corruption.


  1. I completely and utterly agree with you.
    That's all I have to say.

    1. cricketfreak :

      Thanks for agreeing. I wish people could use some logic in such matters.

      Nice to see you around after a long time. How have you been ? :-)

  2. The thing that you have mention is great.I agree with you.
    indian anti corruption act



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