' Everybody Loves Corruption

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Everybody Loves Corruption
by Ayush Prasad

Jan 24, 2011

Some of you may cringe when you hear about corruption; some of you may feel that it is an act of sedition greater than Binayak Sen; some of you may be corrupt justifying that everybody is doing it- but we all are united in feeling strongly against corruption. Media seems to be the only crusader against the mighty and the corrupt, trying to cleanse the society of corruption. We despise the corrupt, jeer down their speeches and even voice our opinion in blogs, social gatherings and then when we want something to be done. Is Corruption a part of the Government or is it part of the society? And is Corruption the poison which has only causes harm and no good.

Former Chief Vigilance Commissioner, Mr. Pratyush Sinha said, “Only 20% of India is not corrupt. Rest is already corrupt or would become corrupt on any given opportunity.” Well, in that case only 20% of the people have the right to scream and shout against corruption. But the voices are louder than that? Why do we look down upon something in others, though it is very much a part of us?

Though corruption is an act of greed, an attempt to make some quick money, but the reasons for corruption is deep rooted in our cultures and ourselves. Have you ever wondered why people of some cultures have greater tendency to be corrupt than others?  Well, I feel that societies which have strong bonding, the feeling of ownership of the entire country prevails, at such times corruption is low! If a company is fully owned by an individual, he would find no reason to be corrupt. A similar feeling existed in the Nationalist Leaders of the 1950s & 1960s, who had defeated the British to have the full country for themselves. They had no reason either to cheat or profit on it. As the feelings began to wane, corruption increased. During times of war, corruption is controlled because of a sense of belonging and a patriotic zeal. But in times of peace, we become individuals, who may be an Indian, but don’t belong to it or own it completely. We may feel greater love for our communities, cities, neighborhood or ourselves. This is the cause of corruption in all sectors be it private or the government sector.

Additionally, corruption is supported and encouraged in the Government by our Laws. Indian Laws are a result of a tendency in our society which I would define as, “Elders know it all phenomenon.” In our culture, wisdom is not gained by education and experience but by age. A man with white hair is said to be in possession of more wisdom than a young man. And Indian elders do not keep their wisdom, but believe in sharing it or rather imposing it. When a parent tries to impose his/her belief on a child, the natural tendency of the child would be to rebel at any given opportunity, a similar situation exists in our nation.

India has the longest written constitution. Everything which could be thought of was written down, leaving no opportunity for the future generations to decide how their country would be run. India also has number of Acts which go into thousands of pages and the CrPc. Everything is controlled, the Government is huge and independence is only with permission of a few. The laws have ensured that few become powerful. Indian Laws are the single biggest reason for corruption.

We like to castigate the people caught being corrupt, some even suggesting that they should be burnt at stake as a lesson to others? But have any amount of punishment tamed corruption in any country. There is always a chance of getting away and most people still are tempted. India has been successful in curbing corruption in one sector- Telecom Services. How many line men were sent to jail? How many CBI raids were carried out on the Indian Telecom Service officials? Did that reduce corruption or a single change in law changed it? Similarly we should change laws to allow competition, free market, reduce government control on everything and corruption would reduce. But to end corruption, everyone should feel he/she belongs to India and owns everything of India from the roads in Mangalore to the hills of Nagaland.

India would not have been what it is, had it not been for corruption. Without Corruption, India would not have the second largest petroleum refinery in the world, a rapidly growing sectors of Civil Aviation & Telecom, even the Commonwealth games would not have been hosted in this country, so many million jobs would not been created and India would have been a poor country.

In the 1970s, Indian Economy was controlled and being on the right side of the Government policy was beneficial. Some people manipulated the rules using corruption as a tool and many poor got jobs in the company which got created, many more benefitted by shares and got their daughters married. There is a huge hue and cry that 1.76Lakh was lost in 2G Auctions. Well, the Indian economy did not have 1.76Laks to buy the airwaves at that rate. Had they been sold at those rates, the call rates would not have been a few paisas’ it is today? Most of us would not have been able to afford the cell-phones and so many employees of the phone companies would have been without jobs.

There was a psychological test, in which boys and girls were asked to run a distance of 100m. In the first round, there were no rewards for winning the race. The girls did well and beat boys. But when rewards were placed at winning, the performance of boys improved while most girls remained at the same level, they were before the rewards. The Indian Administration & Economy remains Male dominated, so the men feel the urge to perform if there is personal reward for effort. Corruption money is like a reward for carrying out some activity. It is not that women are not victims of greed and they can be corrupt, but a more balanced world would lead to activities even in absence of personal rewards.

We all face corruption and see tattered roads every-year and complain that it is because of corruption that it is being built. But if they were not being built, that poor labor would be without work. Corruption money has been reinvested in the economy creating restaurants, factories, schools, colleges, sugar factories and newspapers. Judicial Corruption has saved so many of us from being in jails, allowing us bail, when we clearly did not deserve it. Government departments are clogged, if someone is well connected, he could get his work done easily, but in absence of connection, corruption helps in getting the work done.

But if the entire country from the corrupt to the laborer to the industrialist to everybody benefits from corruption, why is it so despised? Why do we all raise our voices, when it is a disease within us too? Should we not look the other way when it has done so much good for our country?

Our complaints stem from jealousy which is also a part of human nature. We feel that injustice has been done, which is basically a curtain for jealousy. When we see someone else in a bigger car, with a more luxurious lifestyle, we feel jealous and raise our voices. The Media is deeply entrenched in corruption and loves it too. Media is based on winning trust, if you trust someone giving news; you tend to believe it more. So when a media agency seems to act like a crusader against corruption, it builds up the image. It attracts more viewers/readers. This ensures greater revenues and sometimes they can plant false stories, which everyone would simply believe to be true.

So the question is, in the long run has India benefitted more from the honest times when Nehru created 7 IITs for the entire country, or from Corruption which has created 7 Engineering colleges in every city?  What do you choose?

I had a thought; I belong to the 20% of Indians who feel they own the entire country. So, what’s the point in stealing from your own treasure? I also do not justify corruption. I feel that if we work together, we will be a better stronger country. I also press strongly for reforms in Government, shirking in its role and allowing people to decide for themselves.

Ayush Prasad - Archives:

Comments on this article
Siddhartha. , HowrahFriday, April 15, 2011
Most of the communities in India (such as Bengali), are succumbed in 'Culture of Poverty'(a theory introduced by an American anthropologist Oscar Lewis), irrespective of class or economic strata, lives in pavement or apartment. Nobody is at all ashamed of the deep-rooted corruption, decaying general quality of life, worst Politico-administrative system, weak mother language, continuous absorption of common space (mental as well as physical, both). We are becoming fathers & mothers only by self-procreation, mindlessly & blindfold. Simply depriving their(the children) fundamental rights of a decent, caring society, fearless & dignified living. Do not ever look for any other positive alternative behaviour (values) to perform human way of parenthood, i.e. deliberately co-parenting of those children those are born out of ignorance, real poverty. All of us are being driven only by the very animal instinct. If the Bengali people ever be able to bring that genuine freedom (from vicious cycle of 'poverty') in their own life/attitude, involve themselves in 'Production of Space’(Henri Lefebvre), at least initiate a movement by heart, decent & dedicated Politics will definitely come up.
- Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, 16/4, Girish Banerjee Lane, Howrah-711101, India.
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Mark Almeida, UdyavaraTuesday, February 08, 2011
I am surprised that you blamed congress. It is like blaming our parents for the fault of ours. In as many years that I am an indian, I confirm that corruption is a god given gift to indians. 5000 years of history & we are yet to learn basic social ethicates.

Wait for your honest CM to re-incarnate as a saint!
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Ken, Mangalore/TorontoFriday, January 28, 2011
Bribe is necessary in India to balace a family's monthly income and expenditure account. Nowadays it is impossible to own some of the new gadgets that are available in the market without bribe/black money.
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Valson Mendonsa, Mangalore/USAThursday, January 27, 2011
There is no way to root-out the corruption from India any time soon ,I remembered in Mumbai Sales Tax Department demanding bribery for passing the assessment file in around 1990's.Another story, when I visited India after 9 years, one of the Middle Eastern Airline counter staff demanding bribery from me at Bombay Airport for my excess luggage which I refused to pay as a bribery but agreed to pay excess luggage charges officially. Ofcourse incident I reported to the Top Arab Authority from USA and I got the apology reply from him and he promised to take strict action against that airline employee, Sometimes I feel these things are within Indian culture.
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Prabhakar, BuntwalTuesday, January 25, 2011
Congress party is responsible for corruption. Finance Minister said that his party has made a minimum of 462 billion. And they point fingers at honest and hardworking CM.
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Sanjay Shenoy, Padubidari/MumbaiTuesday, January 25, 2011
Most people who have commented dont understand the article. It is a well written article.

Any money on which tax has not been paid is black money. When a thief steals, he doesnt pay taxes on it, so it is black money. Similarly, when a person takes a bribe, he doesnt pay tax on it. It again becomes black money. A Police Constable taking a bribe from a truck driver doesnt put that money in a Swiss Bank. He may buy a scooter. Hence the money is returned to the economy.

Likewise, a company may report lower income, hence pay lower taxes. That saving in taxes may be used to build an additional factory, creating more jobs. If the government has got that extra money, it may have also created the factory, which may not work and be loss making. But Government would have grown bigger in size.

I agree with the author that big government is the problem. The system and laws like discretionary powers of the CM is allowing corruption. As a society we should cleanse ourselves. We should be the change we seek.
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SHANKAR, KUNDAPURTuesday, January 25, 2011
Half of the corruption money goes to temple and small percentage goes to doctor. hence economy grows on tax payers money
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Clara Lewis, Kemmannu/DubaiMonday, January 24, 2011
Isn't the bribe and robed money become black, culprit will hide the amount out of fear and the circulation of huge amount will stop in the market and slow down the development work of the nation.
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Ayush Prasad, BangaloreMonday, January 24, 2011
I believe that Corrpution is an act of sedition. Sedition and Corrpution both weaken a nation. Installing CCTV camera means that one will be Corrupt if we dont have a chance to be caught.. If we install a CCTV camera everywhere, we will stop basic bribery, what about other forms of corruption. And who will moniter the footage? How can you be sure he is not corrupt?

Yes if there is competitive bidding, the amount is the differentiating factor. There seems to be too much focus on Government corruption, but it is something which plagues every aspect of our society. I have seen more corruption in large private sector organisations than in Government. It is just the image has created a perception.

We need to fight the disease than just the symptoms.
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mabel, usaMonday, January 24, 2011
i am more inclined to the amount of bribe. Some can afford more than the others and the bribe taker weighs that as an incentive to work based on the amount. The more the amount, the better and sooner the service rendered.
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Langoolacharya, Belman/USAMonday, January 24, 2011
John, Belman/UAE,

Yes, author must differentiate between Corruption and Sedition, because Corruption causes more harm to the country....

Regarding Dr Binayak Sen, many people including me are of the opinion he was framed by Chattisgarh state Government for exposing corruption....

Regarding nexus between utive and Judiciary,,,, less said is better......

Jai Hooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
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Syed Mohiddin Saheb, Sastan / MuscatMonday, January 24, 2011
Corruption creats culprits. The Paper Media,Radio, TV Channels should play a big role in disclosing the corruption. The Concerned Authorities should be Educated and properly monitored. The required works should be done on timely basis. No excuse, No bias in working place. CCTV cameras should be place each and every corner of offices/building
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Bobby Malhotra, MulkiMonday, January 24, 2011
corruption, greed, cheats..these are all traits of human being and have been there as long people live in this world. the deterrent to this is only strict application of law and speedy delivery of judgement so that it becomes a lesson to one and everyone. childern in every school should be taught morals like not to lie, not to cheat, not to be greedy etc.from the begginning itself. corruption is the root of all evil. all evil begins with greed. corruption is a habit,a nature and not a state. there is a direct relationship between poverty and corruption. a person is not corrupt till he gets the opportunity marks for 90% of people. remaining 10% lead an average life.. fighting with the inflations and managing their family. until and unless our mind-set is not changed we can not hope for a corruption-free society. honest/sincere person always leads good life inspite of many hurdles in there life as compare to corrupted people. if everybody will become good in the society how we compare bad from good.. let some people to be corrupted..after all it's god wish otherwise world will not sail smoothly. Why did God has given us snake/rat/mosquito/cockroaches/flies etc..a reason behind it!!..Jai Ho..lehne wala..dehne wala kaun hai bolo..uparwala..
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Rohan, MangaloreMonday, January 24, 2011
Thoughtful article. Can we really separate corruption from Indian system? may be no. Every politician claims that he or she has joined to clean up the system but one will find them immersed in it.We have to pay bribe for everything from birth to death.Man ! i hate to live here.
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John, Belman/UAESunday, January 23, 2011
Some of you may feel that it is an act of sedition greater than Binayak Sen - by Author

Ayush, you need to differentiate in the first place that corruption falls in a different bracket than Sedition.
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