Sunday, December 28, 2014


I have always thought about writing a blog on corruption. At least, in our country's context, for people who believe in nationalism rather than saying how and where I was born decides my association to a country is a bogus concept, just because you want to overcome your guilt of staying away, again in our country's context, I feel is the most important problem we face at the hierarchical problem tree we have. A lot of you will agree with me, but what shatters me is the hesitation of the majority to actually acknowledge it when few events occur in real life. I used have these conversations(I have stopped a lot now due to a lukewarm response and that answers my delay in writing this) with people I know and I respect, when we hear about an accident due to wrong side driving or child in bore well or bus in railway track. I used to argue this is all due to corruption and nothing else, because every other problem, say administration or mis governance or lack of facilities in my opinion will be a child of corruption in the tree I was talking about.

 Many of them acknowledge this when it comes to direct government facing services like passport, RTO, ration etc, because the cause and effect is very direct. If I say that corruption is the reason for two small daughters of a construction working staying at the parking of a newly opened huge supermarket not having basic facilities of a toilet or clothes or some toys, will you agree with me? I hope a lot them do, because I believe in it very strongly and the thought that economic disparity has increased exponentially beyond repair due to corruption alone is deeply rooted in my heart. A lot of people talk about growth and relate it to GDP, and increase in overall quality of life in humans. Our model is too top down and as we move down, we get peanuts. Though everyone is growing, the rate of growth is inversely proportional to your depth in the tree.

India is a huge country when it comes to population and classes of people(I hate to use this word, but it is important in this context). The ones we(as in my friends, social space and acquaintances) interact with, I feel, are in some sense, more of beneficiaries of corruption than detriments of it. We all hate it in the broader sense, but are happy for it to exist in pockets wherever convenient. Some elementary examples are trying to save tax, buying things without receipts, donations for kinder garden admissions, recommendation of any sort from getting a parking space to buying a land. I have seen people look at me with the stare that says "this guy is completely lost" or "is he nuts?" or "he is too idealistic". Balance is the word used by many, they say, "corruption is done by the big shots, we are just trying to balance it and save our money being wasted." There exists a no rule based convenience as a by product of corruption which the majority love and depend on, hence it is very difficult to plant this thought into their heart.

I am big fan of Indian government and they way our constitution is written. Sixty plus years down the line, and we are still very stable in governance, robust in policies. Alarmingly, we are ridiculously lacking in execution. How is that possible? As you expect, my answer is corruption. I sincerely feel that in trying to make the one nation theory of India a reality, we had to make too many compromises in every part of british India to convince every inch of the diversity that their ideology and interests will remain. And one of the compromises was to ignore the rising corruption in the system from the root of its inception because we had lot of growth potential in numbers and like I tried to elaborate, there were beneficiaries. I strongly feel, corruption has gone up after we opened up to the world in the early 90's because we had huge potential for both growth and corruption already in place and hence it was foolish to think only growth will increase and corruption won't.

There is no magic wand with anyone. With rising population and its dreams, it may sound possible to make the majority acknowledge the deepness of this problem, but almost impossible to make them understand that they too have to drastically change and it will take time to solve this problem. At grassroots, if we can try to create a system where politics is independent of administration, and even a small magnitude of corruption is socially looked down upon, and more importantly, a very responsible media, then we may be getting there. I may sound like "Anniyan Ambi", but I am glad I sound like him. We are culturally too tolerant, like the "Adjust madi" advertisement symbolises, like our women for generations due to whom alone we are the leaders today in setting an example of family bonding and values across the world, and more sadly, like the gigantic tolerance and indirect support to corruption in our everyday life. If tolerance on corruption is our weakness, then our callousness is the biggest betrayal to this country of ours. I am a programmer. Every problem I face has a solution that needs either an ideal approach or a practical approach. If I take the practical routes making compromises because it makes my life easy for that day, I fail miserably as a programmer and every programmer knows that. Doesn't it sound exactly similar when we replace problem with corruption and programmers with citizens of our country?