We are in the midst of a daily scam unraveling. What does this say about the times or the society we live in? I suppose, we were always corrupt, it was ingrained in our DNA. Its only now that the skeletons are tumbling out. Whether its the 2G scam, Adarsh scam, Commonwealth games scam, Kargil coffin scam, mining scam of Karnataka, the land scam concerning Yedyurappa, Satyam scam, Telgi scam, Harshad Mehta scam and the thousands other that are swirling in the news.
The scams were always happening. Its just that only now they are unraveling. Does anyone remember the time when buying a scooter, ambassador car, telephone etc used to have a waiting time of years. Today, you can throw in some money and take your pick. Liberalisation has in fact brought down corruption a lot. Earlier not a single file moved in the government office without bribe being paid. Today a lot of government job can be done on the internet without the need for stepping into an office. Just a decade ago, the government run PSU banks ran amuck. I remember having the misfortune of going to the banks to create a Demand Draft and know the headaches I had to endure.
Today, the private banks have revolutionised the business. Hardly anyone of the present generation visits those PSU banks. The PSU banks are bending over backwards to win their business. Getting a driving license is not a chore anymore too. Many of the government work is either become efficient due to private sector competition or due to the introduction of technology.
Does it mean that all is hunky dory? No, it isnt. The poor even today have to endure the red tape of the government. Getting the loans granted by the government in their hands is at the mercy of the officer who is disbursing it. After a catastrophe, the government declares an ex-gratia. But the official overseeing the disbursal will make sure he get his cut before the money is given. This trait of feeding over the dead body has been prevalent for decades. Today, its a bit more difficult as you can call up the media to raise a muck and make sure the money is disbursed faster without any corruption in between.
So, why is it that so many scams are surfacing? Truth is that the scams have been in our midst for decades. Kalmadi was not involved in the sports graft for the first time. He is a survivor in that business for decades. His family and his cronies have made millions over these years. People knew that yet didnt raise the muck because it was mostly hidden. One didnt have access to all the information. Today the Right to Information (RTI) act and other kinds of citizen & judicial activism has increased. People are more aware of their rights and hence all these skeletons tumbling out.
Another reason is because the political parties themselves use these scams to settle scores. Its a simple theory which goes like… you expose one scam of mine and i do the same about you. None of them are about public welfare nor is that only one political party is responsible for the mess.
Both the BJP and Congress are 2 sides of the same coin. Both corrupt to the core. If you were believing that the BJP led NDA was supposed to give you an alternative, you were living in a fools paradise. The NDA and its constituents are as equally bad as the UPA if not worse.
The Radia tapes doesnt reveal anything new. Its a known issue that during the license permit raj of the 70s to 90s, businessmen used to pamper the politicians in power so that they could bag business or made sure that some of the laws were tweaked in their favour. Today with lots of bidding and laws being online, its gone down to a large extent. Even the media was nothing holy. Currying favour with the media to carry their side of the story by politicians and businessmen was the norm earlier too. Today its given a respectable name like Corporate Relations or Public Relations.
Anyway what i find baffling is the common man’s surprise at all these events. Let’s face it. We Indians have corruption engrained in our DNA. We are taught from young on how to circumvent the rules, how to bribe the policeman to get away, to bribe the municipality to extend the height of the house by another floor etc. If there was no TDS, am sure none of the so called “middle class” in India would pay taxes. In fact the middle class of India are the biggest hypocrites you can encounter.
How did Raja, Kalmadi, Chavan, Yeddyurappa, Karunanidhi, Lalu, Mayawati etc come to power? We voted them to power. To satisfy our silly egos, to protect our so called religious casteist, regional beliefs etc we vote them to power. Integrity is not something we are known for. Everything and anything goes. We are good at masking our incompetence with the national slogan of chalta hai attitude. As government officials, we take bribe to do our work. Our police takes bribe from the mafia and look the other way as they go about killing innocents and trading in arms and drugs. We ourselves screw up our society and then blame all and sundry.
The rot is set. Its a part of us. Its in our system. Its in our blood. So, lets look within ourselves and cleanse ourselves as we go about uprooting this cancer of corruption from our midst.