Monday, November 29, 2010

Corruption & Me

Corruption, nothing new in India, but just a bit more in lime light right now because so many of the scams have been suddenly exposed now, CWG scam, 2G scam, LIC Housing Finance Scam, Adarsh Housing Society scam etc. Many more still left in the closet If you ask me.

But to say the truth, Corruption is kind of all around us in India. In this land of many religions, Forget what the holy books say about being good, even the gods are not been left out from scams in India (Tirupati scam). Corruption is kind of in our blood. Before you Gandhians out there come to kick me, let me ask you
  • Have you never paid a bribe? Might be to that police man to get your passport verification done or might be the Goverment officer to get your papers cleared.
  • When you went to buy a house, you kind of accept that this much percentage of amount has to be given in Black.
  • Donation for admission into schools / colleges
Sometime or the other every citizen of India is guilty of being corrupt or supporting corruption by paying money to the corrupt people.

Now I am not saying I am perfect, even I am guilty of supporting corruption. Below is an real incident from life
While driving my car, Once I jumped a signal, the traffic cop caught me, He said "I have to pay a fine of Rs150" I said "OK! My mistake I jumped the signal, I will pay the fine" He remarked "I don't have the receipt booklet, I will keep your licence, Come and collect it from the court tomorrow after paying the fine" I said "Look, it will be very difficult for me to come tomorrow to court and collect, here you keep the money, I don't want the receipt" He said "No! No! you come to court tomorrow and pay fine" for sometime, but then took Rs 50 from the 150 I offered and told me to go.
What was I thinking, "Let this guy keep the 150 bucks, It will save me the time and effort of coming to court the next day". Even I have paid to get my passport verification done. It happens, I have kind of accepted it.

I know next statement will be, Its because of people like me who pay them rather than standing up to corruption, the reason why in India corruption is thriving. I guess I will agree with the above statement that its cause of people like me not standing upto corrupt people why corruption thrives in India, Absolutely agree.
But I will argue that, how many people who can afford a BMW would not buy a BMW but a Cycle just because the BMW will pollute. Most will think that everyone is polluting, why should I be the one breathing in the polluted air on the cycle (spoiling my health even further & getting bigger hospital bills) while I can relax and travel in the AC comfort of my BMW.
Referring to the incident written above - I would prefer to pay the Cop the 50 bucks (which I can very well afford to) rather than go about the long legal way of going to court and everything. I save both time and money.

Well thats said about I supporting corruption, what about me being corrupt? I am paying these people only because they are already corrupt, they ask me money and I pay them to get my work done in a trouble free way.
But am I corrupt? Let me put myself in that bankers shoe who took kickbacks to give loan in the housing loan scam.
If I am a Bank Officer, I notice that papers of some builder is not perfect, I call that builder and tell him, look I can't give you loan because of so and so reason. Now he tells me to pass the loan I will give you X amount of money. Now will I succumb to the temptation and take the money and pass the loan or not depends completely on the value of X. Is the amount X big enough for me to take this risk where I will be putting my entire career and future into jeopardy, Or it might also depend on my financial situation then, If I need money urgently for some reason, then might be I will take the X amount.
Look, I am being honest here. I am angry at the level of corruption over here, The money being stolen from the poor and the rich getting richer. But I sometimes can't blame them, these corrupt people are also human. Greed, jealousy etc are emotions present in all humans, in varying levels. At some points I feel "Greed is Good" Its only because of greed to get richer that the private companies (that are the epitome of India shining) running after profits is lifting the middle class up. If the CEO and CFO's of these companies never had the greed for money, there wouldn't be a Reliance, Wipro or Infosys. Forget these big companies, the thousands of small business growing in India are growing just because of the need for money, and greed for it.

Like said above, I am a part of this corrupt system, the guy who has made millions in these scams is like me just a human who saw an opportunity to make money, why should I blame him? Just cause I am jealous that he saw and got the opportunity and not me? That guy at one time might be a kid who heard from his Dad at night the stories from Mahabharata / Ramayana about not being greedy or jealous but next day could have seen his very dad give a bribe might be to the Cop, or take money from someone to move some files. Why Blame the guy who just gave into the feeling of greed, a part and parcel of human experience (Don't tell me you have never been greedy, remember taking 2 chocolates and leaving just 1 for your brother?)

Don't take it that I am justifying corruption, Corruption should be wiped out of India, for India to grow much faster, become much stronger. The scams are a shame on the face of every Indian. All I am saying is that corruption has become a part and parcel of Indian life, much like when a Baby is being born in Mumbai, from the first breath of air he/she breaths he is breathing the polluted (corrupted) air, pollution made by lacs of cars and industries (Corrupt Cops, Politicians, etc) who are just going about in their daily routine, Cars owners who doesn't know this baby is breathing the polluted air and doesn't care unless it is his own baby (Politicians who doesn't care about the state of the roads, unless the roads are in front of his house).

When going to the country side from a city, we all notice the change in Air, the lack of pollution, the fresh air is the feeling when meeting with a honest cop, Government Officers who do the job without even talking of a bribe, (Yes! They do exist!). But when we return to the city we are again assaulted with the pollution & dust and we again earn of the fresh country air.
We know that to change the city air to be as pollution free as that in the Village something drastic has to be done, which can't be done by one person alone (he can make a minimisicule non-noticeable difference by planting a tree). Similarly to make India corruption free something drastic has to be done, which can't be done by one person alone. Whole of India has to change.

But will whole of India rise up to become corruption free ever??? Will Mumbai ever become pollution free???


Anonymous said...

Nice article. Your views about corruption are interesting, but it would also add to the interest if you could share what approach people should take for the change. Saying everyone has to change is like telling a brick wall - "All your bricks are laid in the wrong direction. Ok now all of you turn-around."
It's a lame example but I think you get what I am trying to say here.
Hope to see more such interesting articles. :)

- Tanzeel Kazi

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