Tuesday, August 30, 2011

All about Corruption

Corruption is the hottest topic for discussion today - everywhere. Personally, I also feel that that is the biggest problem we have. Worse than all other social problems. More dangerous than terrorism, national security, communal-ism, economy, healthcare and other basic infrastructure related problems. Because, corruption is the root cause of most of these problems. If this one problem is solved, most of our other problems might get solved automatically. If I have to choose between a corrupt politician who is good in many other aspects and a non-corrupt one with some other major problem, I will vote for the latter.

In one of the discussions about corruption, one of our countrymen said, "Our social setup and culture is the major cause for corruption!". We always look for shortcuts - everywhere. We have been accustomed to approaching a known person or relative to get our work done instead of following the process - for ages; We use our family background to get things done faster; It's very common here to give compliments to people in power so on and so forth. Equality has always been an alien concept for us. That's the reason corruption is in our blood. I still hear a lot of loud voices against equality. They say it's a western concept and it won't work in this land. What to say? :(

If we are not okay with equality, we have to be okay with corruption. Equality is not natural but that doesn't mean you should justify it. It's not that we have only what is natural always. If inequality is natural so are 'might cheating the weak' and 'weak beating the might' when they get mighty. So, even if it is not possible in near future, we should work towards that. Cheating and beating have become way of life here because we never made an attempt to reduce the gap, if not remove it.

In any discussion about corruption, I find a couple of smart guys who come up with this same old argument - "Who is not corrupt? Are you not corrupt? Am I not corrupt? Don't blame the politicians for everything. We are to be blamed for all these!". Sounds good. It has a valid point - We should be the change that we want to see. But, it doesn't help us get rid of the problem. The bug stops there with us. If you look at it differently, it sounds like a trick to avert discussions around corruption. It sounds like a justification, too. Don't ask me what we achieve by discussing about it over and over again. It does help us understand our problem better, which may help us get some idea about the solution somewhere down the line.

If I have to buy their argument, I need convincing answers to these questions - Why do the foreigners that are not used to bribing end-up doing it when they come here? Who is responsible for it? Why do our people who are used to bribing everywhere don't have to do it when they go abroad? Who is responsible for that? So, does it mean it is those individuals' problem? It's the respective country's problem. Their cultural problem. I do accept that each one has a role in it and we can do our bit. But, whether we like it or not, whether we are aware of it or not, culture is controlled and managed by few people - not all. The rest just follow what they say. We are followers of our leaders. We don't create our leaders. We actually have no control over it. It's the dumber lot (which is in majority) that decide our leaders in democracy. We can't take responsibility for their failures. So, if we have a check to control those people, the problem could be checkmated as well. So, it's wise to checkmate the kings than pawns blaming each other. That's is the objective of those of us who keep blabbering about corruption endlessly.

It's true that we have to change and the change should start from us. It's true that we should get smarter to identify the right people as our leaders, role models and those who determine our culture. To identify the right people, we should also talk about the wrong ones. We should be aware of what wrong is, right? That's the reason we talk so much about them and write so much about them. Some people bring in caste, religion and background there also. This is not the time to talk about those things. Corruption is corruption irrespective of whoever does it. It's a noble thing if you help us get rid of it irrespective of whoever you are. We are spineless middle class and low class people with a useless right to vote five years once. We would support anyone that has the spine to face these people head on. If a non-democratic approach can help us beat the evils of democracy, we are okay with that. What difference does a name make for us?

Now, let's leave alone the rogues that come well prepared to loot the nation. Such people are there in all societies. It's comparatively easier to identify and eliminate. But, there is another group of idealists who come with a lot of dreams to turn around things for their people. Even they are spoiled by us with the amount of power, money and fame that we give them. We have done that and seen that many times in the history. It's the undue respect that we give them that makes them forget the reason why they came to top and get busy in doing things to remain on top at all costs.

What is the root cause of that? We give too much importance for 'Who' than for 'What'. We rely too much on heroism and create too many heroes. Personalities are more important than purpose. It's a cultural problem. We are not objective. We are PEOPLECTIVE. We have to be very careful about this as well. Please note - I am not talking about the respect that people give to Anna Hazare; I am talking about the same respect that our people gave to the corrupt rogues that has made them so corrupt today. This is another thing that we have to start learning.

If I look around, there are some people who blame the new economic policy for all the corruption. It's true to some extent. But, only to some extent! They looted less when there was less money. They are looting too much when there is too much money. How can the economic policy be responsible for this? Inflow of more money is not the problem. It's our nature to loot irrespective of how much ever money flows in that is the problem. Please look at the picture that is given on top. All nations in yellow are liberalized economies. Why is the looting less there?

There is another group of people who blame our education system for this whole chaos. They say that we don't pay as much attention to values as we do to Maths or Science; We are becoming too materialistic. Sounds sensible too. It's not that in countries that have less corruption there is a subject on values. It may be that they don't need it. They are good even without it. But, a nation that has corruption in its veins may need it. I think it's worth considering it. What do you think?

6 comments:

  1. I hate the argument about everyone being corrupt -- as if that makes everything right. And those who argue that corruption is the least of the problems, but poverty and illiteracy are. Again, it rings false because corruption is the cause for both. Look at the black money both here and stashed abroad by our beloved politicians. where would we be if that came back?

    Lastly, till vote back politics is not abolished, we will have to live in the dark ages with the other banana republics.

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  2. True. Shake hand. We are in alignment. :)

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  3. Corruption comes with the culture. We owe chocolates to children to do everyday activity, which they are supposed to do anyway.
    So, bribing starts there, and then it only grows.
    Parents point of view will be that the kid should not sleep empty stomach which is not wrong either.
    Hypocrite approach though

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  4. Thanks Sahana.

    Yeah, that's another way of looking at it. Interesting thought. :)

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  5. corruption comes with culture, but culture change with inequality...even people of US and UK loot others when they have the opportunity...they are doing it because their inequality is growing...
    nice post...

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  6. Thanks Sub. I like the amount of attribution you do to inequality. You did that in one of my previous posts as well. I also believe that it's a major cause for concern in near future. If the right people do not pay enough attention to this problem, it would eat up the entire humankind.

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