You buy a swank new flat in an upmarket area and are oblivious to the fact that the builder has paid handsome bribes to the revenue, municipal, water and electricity departments. It’s been added to your amount.
You pay a maintenance fee in the same society oblivious to the fact that a part of it is given out regularly as bribes to keep essential services running. Or maybe your society committee takes a cut out of all the money they spend.
You’d rather look the other way. The work is getting done, isn’t it?
You are caught for a traffic violation and you hand a note to avoid the fine. Your Rs 100 is nothing compared to the Rs 1.86 lakh crore Coalgate figure, no? If a legal fine was issued for every traffic violation in India, then cumulatively millions of driving licenses would be cancelled for the multiple traffic violations each citizen has notched up.
Your child has to get admission in a top notch school. Donations are necessary and are definitely not a crime. For good colleges, lakhs and lakhs can be paid in terms of capitation fees. That’s definitely not corruption.
Even for a minor thing like getting a passport, you pay a middleman to get it since you don’t have the time to stand in queues. He pays a part of that as a bribe to get the work done.
No business can be done in India without paying a bribe to some department or the other. By this very fact, the company you are working for is corrupt. On top of that it may be indulging in malpractices on a mindboggling scale. That doesn’t concern you. The salary that you collect is clean and white. Even if it was black, it became white the moment it touched your hands.
I’m paying an Income Tax ain’t I?
Millions and millions are pumped into the NGO industry in the form of donations, most of which is not accounted for and most of which never ever reaches the constituency it is meant for.
Well, that’s social service for you!
Billions and billions of Rupees of government money never reach the masses they were meant for. Where do they disappear? Not just into the pockets of a few national level leaders. It is distributed proportionately into the pockets of tens of thousands of politicians, lakhs of others in the form of their teams and relatives and millions of government employees.
These millions of government employees have millions of families who ask no questions as long as all their financial needs are met.
The politician-government employee-corporate nexus is stronger than superglue and no force on Earth can break it, not even the Prime Minister. Despite everything our Prime Minister may really be squeaky clean. But that still leads to the conundrum of him leading the most corrupt government in the history of Independent India.
What can the media really do? It is at the end of the day a corporate body. It has to make money. At the end of day its editors wine and dine with the very same politicians.
Maybe hundreds of scams are being unearthed right now. Maybe millions of scams are raging right now ranging from a few thousand Rupees to one that is worth maybe ten lakh crore. Who knows?
We already have terms for that. Ten lakh crore = 1 neel. Ten thousand crore = 1 kharab. Growing up, lakhpati was an aspirational term and crorepati was exotic. Now forget arabpatis, India is swarming with kharabpatis! (We will eventually get our own neelpati.)
In 2011, we grandly celebrated Anna Hazare’s August Kranti. Dozens of anti-corruption crusaders. Lakhs of demonstrators. Millions of couch potato cheerleaders.
End result? Zero!
Arvind Kejriwal is bold, earnest and sensational, but he is merely stretching the tamasha.
Everyone is looking at Robert Vadra’s hundreds of crores with amusement. Where’s the proof? Where’s the trail? There never is!
In India, corruption pervades the atmosphere. It is in its very ground right now. It is inside and outside. It is private and public. It is government and corporate. It can lure the humble and the powerful. It cuts across all castes, creeds and religions. It touches mango men and banana republicans alike. It’s in our DNA.
Hamaam main sab nanga. (Everybody is naked in the bathroom.)
The bathroom is India.
The bathroom has 121 crore people at last count.
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