Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Corruption

why the outrage??? why I ask?

don't we all do every  bit that we can to ensure that it continues? yes , that includes me, much though i wish i could claim a higher moral ground.

at any rate here's a thing it would be good to remember.

a begger in the street , who hasn't got either roti , kapda or makaan would often wonder what people need a 10k a month for. perhaps he manages 2-3k a month, (if he's a rather unlucky one) He'd probably  be able to manage beautifully in 8k a month.

your maid , who's probably got roti, kapda and makaan or some sorts, would often wonder what people need 40k a month for. she'd probably be able to manage beautifully in 30 k a month.

You, you've probably got a half decent roti kapada aur makaan, but also have a humoungous color tv and car, would probably wonder what people need 2 lakhs a month for, we'd probably be able to manage beautifully in 1 lakh a month. ( give or take a bit)

and then your super boss, with the super sized roti kapda aur makaan, and perhaps also a posh set of cronies to maintain, would similarly wonder why people need a crore a month. He's struggling, but then all he needs is perhaps about 70 lakhs a month.

and so it goes of course. the current tales quote numbers which make the mind boggle. policians making a crore a day. but of course , we need to remember , its all relative. the great minister probably has outflows to match his ridiculous ill gotten gains.

ill - gotten, the word which makes me laugh loudly. i think i finally understood the joke a few years back, when i sat there wondering what fudging bills meant. apparently it meant, taking source code html of the bill format, and modifying the number a bit.

And it seems it was the done deal. everyone did it. heck the company wanted to you do it - thats why it left the option open , and turned a blind eye to your obviously faked bills. onsite bills, house rent allowances, medical, and what have you.

its all ok, didn't you know? everyone does it, thats how it works.

and then as the years went by, one realises, it was ok everywhere. railway tickets, marriage certificates, graduation degrees, passports, birth certificates, phone connections, every damn bit of your life.

oh yes, i know the million ways its expained,
- the system doesn't pay the people enought so its ok to pay them a bit extra/
- its really a small thing compared to what the politicians do,
= welcome to the real world, this is how it works, do you want to survive or not? do you want in or out?

etc etc etc

so, for those of you, fuming in your mouth about the gazillion scams which seem to be getting much media attention these days. ( perhaps the media wasn't paid, or perhaps they just have too much time to fill up)

here's my suggestion - shut up, and take a look at your own life. and once you've verified you're all clean, with no excuses, then you can resume howling about the 2g, 3g and the various 4D multi dimensional scams which are all around us these days.

aap chai paani ka kya denge sahib???

4 comments:

muddleglum said...

Yes, and it is sometimes hard not to slip into the trap without seeing it.

Over here in the U.S. there is a national association for retired people that wants me to join. I almost did, but just in time I noticed how much they were telling me how great I was and how they would be in Washington D.C. making sure I got what I deserved.

I lost interest in them.

Guru Kini said...

Ah, it is finally on the blog.
Yeah, I agree with the sentiment. But I think everyone, everywhere in the world has a lop-sided judgement about Corruption. When we offer chai-paani, it is to lubricate the machinery, when they accept a bribe - they are corrupt. :)
I think corruption is too ingrained in the society (not just in India) and politics. I do not see this disappearing in a generation or two. Wherever is a disparity (social, economical) between 2 groups of the same society, there will be aspirations/temptation and hence corruption of some sort, monetary or otherwise. I have done chores as a kid just to be included in a cricket team of seniors, I knew I was being exploited but that was the only way to make myself visible. At work, whenever I have pulled more than my share of weight, I have made sure that the managers know about it and extracted max milage out of it. True, I have not run a mini-scam of my own - faking bills, etc. but I have given bribes of these sorts. So that disqualifies me from making any moral judgments really. "Let He Who is Without Sin Cast the First Stone".
My usual argument with Govt. officials asking for a bribe was:"why do you want me to pay to do your job? Don't you get a salary?". But I guess that came from the fact that no one, except my employer, pays me to do my job. I automatically have a moral high ground there, with absolutely no conscious effort from my side.
I hardly ever get outraged at this any more. Not because I think this is fine but because I think this is a moral ambiguity that cannot be addressed by punishing a few individuals or leading anti-corruption campaigns. Monetary bribes is looked down upon as a social evil but fact it is that it is not any worse than other sorts of bribing that we are accustomed to. We bribe when we pamper our kids, our wives and husbands, our girlfriends and boyfriends often. That's not evil, it is sweet - we are often told. Damn, it feels good to be treated specially.
The ambiguity here is that we are raised with the notion that it is good make someone feel special but then we realize that monetary bribes are evil. To be precise, taking bribes is evil. Why?

Guru Kini said...

Ah the thought makes it to the blog :).
I had typed in a large response but blogger refused to accept it, so posted it on my blog instead.

Tess said...

@muddleglum - :) ah the insidiousness!

@guru - yeah true. Corruption is a topic that one can write a whole thesis on. is giving ok, is taking ok, when , how much, what if its non-monetory, what if thats the only way the system works, "efficient corruption" bla bla bla...

but as you've said, the part that amazes me is the double standards, if i do it, is ok, if kalmadi does , its not. Now I know the argument about scale, and doing something against doing nothing.

However, you can't yourself sit in judegement and absolve yourself, while pointing fingers at someone else. By all means point those fingers, but how about a little soul searching as well while you're about it? How about digging deeper into the reasons why you're absolving yourself? How about seeing that from someone else's point of view, you're also doing something unforgivable??