0 32 min 5 mths

A lot has been said on the existing state of corruption, but 0% done to arrest or bite those democracy funders. In fact the term is so much in vogue, that it has become old hat and elicits an almost blasé reaction from the larger public in general. Understandably, one hardly feels like hearing about the term, let alone reading about it anymore. Nonetheless, still offering our two penny worth of opinion on it.

The State has unfortunately not only succeeded in creating a society which at a fundamental level is organized chaos but also where the socioeconomic, politico-bureaucratic, techno-corporate machinery is functional, only if palms are greased and deep pockets are well lined. The blatant ease and lack of hesitation which accompanies the solicitation of a bribe (a very small aspect of the generic term ‘Corruption abusing Laxmi’) for instance, is both amazing and appalling.

It is not as if the very act of corruption is anathema, for corruption has existed ever since civilization dawned and is thus not endemic here alone. What however is disturbing is the extent to which it has percolated among all segments and classes of modern society. A venerated lawyer had once stated that our democracy is based on corruption.

The society is in danger of depreciating into a twilight zone between a banana republic and a mafia state. Our leaders seem to bask in an iconoclasm secure in the facile assumption that India’s wealth generation process (based to a large extent on cronyism and corrupt practices) will continue to yield rich dividend and economic development without upsetting the balance of the social moral cart.

However, the cart has been imbalanced and thinking citizens had taken notice resulting in the vociferous protest movements by the likes of Anna Hazare and his ilk. I do not wish to deviate into semantics or speculate as to whether the mass protest movements that were organized by Mr. Hazare and his supporters few years back, were politically motivated or not. Irrespective of motivations, it was still heartening to see someone who had the gumption to try and bring this social menace to the forefront of mass consciousness, and disappeared as easily unlike the sticking political / celeb PROs!

Though the movement gained considerable momentum, it drew considerable flak from various segments of the society and even unsurprisingly from the Government, which had leveled accusations of the movement being backed by various groups with vested interests and the opposition party in particular. Although the charge was not an entirely baseless one, the statement was made insipid by the very stupidity inherent in it.

The larger issue at stake was (and still is) that of monetary-corruption which permeates through the whole system rather than that of political up-man ship and pointing fingers. Governments and its millionaire MPs and MLAs are neither able or willing / self-risk to take measures to nip this malaise in the bud, thus bringing into question the credibility of the political class & co – doesn’t matter if left, right or the trans..

What is worse is the fact that there are voices of dissent within the system that asks for supporting evidence for the existence of this glaring moral-social aberration. Such people have either been providently lucky in not having to face a situation where their sense of moral ethics has been compromised; or have more to gain from the perpetuity of a politico-economic scenario that ensures massive gains to a select minority to the detriment of a hapless proletariat majority. History shows us that the ruling elite and the wealthy in any society have always taken umbrage to any event, which may challenge the status quo. Moreover, “chanakya bhakts” exploiting a fatalistic tendency embedded in psyche of heartland’s people best illustrated by “chalta hai” but “भारत माता की जय” attitude.

Such a debilitating attitude does not augur well for either economic development or prosperity for vast swathes of the Indian populace. The existence of corruption in the monetary system was also implicitly responsible for the economic slowdown and policy paralysis that afflicted the country (The ramifications of which are still being felt as also the consequent economic fallout that current government claims to be grappling with). True enough that in an era of globalization, economic crisis in one country has a ripple effect on other economies. However, that does not absolve an economic – political system from systemic errors inherent in it, which allows leaders, parties & its investing allies to shine their own brands just to smartly loot and share public resources in next phase.

Monetary corruption puts inflationary pressure on the economy and unchecked inflation can have devastating consequences (The economic crisis of Argentina in the late 80’s is a case in point) Inflation is a precursor to economic instability and a sure sign for FDI and FII to flee. To add to the calamity of the problem, India has largest black markets in the world and corruption, black money and inflation are all inter related and have a direct bearing on the gross domestic product per capita.

It is not without reason that economic advisers stating that the economy is in dire straits. The voices of post-colonial condescension would delight in the rot of ‘India Shining’ or the ‘Digital India’. They would rejoice in their resounding smugness of ‘we told you so!’ We should be aware that the Western or the h1b-gujju millionaires’ attitude towards India does not stem from new found respect or admiration based on equality or love for democracy but on hard-nosed business, political, and Geo-political vested interests. If we as a nation wish to elicit genuine respect, then the current government and we as citizens need to clean up our act.

It is a matter of great shame that no political party or ruling political elite that form it, have not had an accusatory finger being pointed at them for alleged malicious and callous governance and immoral corrupt practices. The number of scams & thefts that rocks many governments and ruling party’s political boat only serve as an ugly and unfortunate reminder of the sorry state of affairs of politics.

According to Transparency International and the Corruption Perception Index, India ranked 94 or worse. That puts us in the same bracket as African and certain Latin American nations. And worse, this scale is greatly augmented by our behemoth population! China (an unfair comparison perhaps) ranks 75. Any dissenter, who wishes to repudiate statistics as mere figures, is in need of an inward evaluation. The methodology of surveys may change as per the changing socioeconomic reality and perceptions of a country but the inference; deductions and social message have bearing.

40 years ago one could perhaps have been forgiven for turning a blind eye, fortified by the paltry excuse of being a poor country comprising mostly of illiterate and uneducated people. No longer today, what with a 650+ million educated / MOBified class, happily hooked to panopticon of surveilling mobile networks. It is imperative that the tech-savvy men and women coming into adulthood begin to turn an introspective glance inwards and become the harbingers of change. They have the necessary weapons – youthful optimism, energy, education and more. Note your leaders saying that the older folks needs to take a step back and let the GenXYZ take a more proactive role in Nation building and formulation of policies, is worth as long they are not fully slaved as subservient Nazis or other demonic-ilk.

Nobody is explicitly holding a particular class / segment / section of the society solely responsible for embedding and perpetuating corruption as a way of life, for it takes two to tango. However that said, ‘heavy lays the head that bears the crown’. Thus the onus on weeding out or at least putting checks on corruption falls squarely on any ruling politico-bureaucratic elite. Any systemic change after all, flows from top to bottom and not the other way round. The common man and even the not so common man must thus be devoid of any incentive to resort to corruption.

Government staunch crackdown on “black money” stashed away in International tax-safe havens is a popular-sounding stunt claiming to put checks on corruption. The revelation of names of individuals (mostly neta & co) accused of concealing foreign assets from the tax authorities, as also the Supreme Court’s order that the Government reveal the names of all those guilty of stashing money in foreign banks, is possibly a positive step.

However, much still needs to be done, what with thousands of Indians having Swiss Bank accounts and untaxed black money in foreign bank accounts estimated to be in hundreds of billions of dollars, or maybe commissions needs to be fixed, banksters promoted, corruption soldiers converted (using sam-dam-dand-bhed), promote new corrupt boys as young leaders, white-wash smartly done, do some financial jugaad, hire PR agencies, buyout media for election hypes to recover the grand investment: 325000 crores (Audited BS 2.0).

One must remember that the greatness of a country or civilization depends upon the character of its people. Thus, there is a dire need for putting in place a system that prohibits monetary corruption while bulldozing real guilty (विष) parties including अमृतकाल crime partners, if we are to arrest societies’ decline into moral apathy. Or invite a bloody race with even the non-corrupt getting forcefully converted by anti-social forces… with only the pious emperor left for self-praise.

Hopefully, the so-called Governments would rise to the challenge of preventing the further spread of this social cancer; as also enact and implement legislative measures that act as deterrents in nipping such systemic practices itself instead of trying in vain to terrorize anti-corruption activists chanting.. वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय, नवानि गृह्णाति नरोऽपराणि | तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णा, न्यन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही || BG 2.22 (Nov 18, 2014)

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