Tuesday, December 9, 2008

And some more about corruption...

Tanu responded to my previous post with a new set of questions and possible solutions. I guess I will reply to them with a new post :)

"I don't know about CA but here in UT, i did not have to bribe anyone for anything over the past 6 years that I have lived here!"

I did think about this as well. A few different answers come to mind...

1) How often have you actually met a real live person that you can bribe to get basic services like electricity, internet, water? I have been here 11 years, and not once have I had to do it. The "system" is what I deal with, it was via phone 11 years ago, and over the internet now. The window of opportunity for bribery is practically non-existent! Now this may not be a possible solution for India right away, but automating some things at least should be possible.

2) The concept of "chai-paani" is not imbibed in the brain here like it is in India. If you get stopped by a cop here, would you even dream of handing him a $20 note? If you get stopped by a cop in India, would you even dream of actually paying the fine instead of handing Rs. 100 to the hawaldar? The cops here are also not paid that much, but yet, since its not done, its not done! We respect the cops here, in India, they are considered more of a nuisance!

3) Another thing that *might* help is that most people use credit cards and checks instead of cash. This leaves a paper trail!

Bottomline is we do it in India because we know we can, we don't do it here because we know we cannot! It will NOT work! That is what we want in India. For bribery to NOT work!

"We have a problem of lack of enough resources in our country, hence it is a 'survival' of the fittest strategy. You cheat, you bribe, you win. your goal is to survive at whatever cost."
I did mention the lack of resources in my previous post, but that is not quite true. Whatever resources we do have, get to the rich first, and if anything at all is remaining, they get to the poor. I remember my mother having 4-5 gas cylinders at one point, one in each of us girls names! While she did give them away to our maid and driver or whoever else needed it, the point is that this should not have been allowed in the first place. The resources are there, the distribution is not fair!

Another problem...not quite the same as bribery is that the richer folks do not see the poverty in the country as their problem. They do nothing much to help out the poor. The either choose to ignore the existence of the poor, or have the attitude that "that's how they are, they don't know any better, so they don't need any better life!". I read the Facebook status of a friend in Bombay...it said that her daughter has 100+ Barbie dolls. I recommended donating some to teach her child the concept of charity and sharing. I have yet to receive a reply!

Corruption is an outcome of poverty, unless we address the root cause manual weed removal won't fetch us anything."
I feel its a circle...unless we get rid of corruption, poverty will stay, and vice-versa!

And the solutions proposed:

1. What if we have Community Colleges or School where you get quality education for children why would I then a pay donation to educate my children?
I believe these community institutes are run by the govt here? By city or county. Yes, that could be a solution...community schools that enroll students that come from households that live below the poverty line. If they are managed by the city then they can be run with a tighter control too. But again, the govt does come into the picture here, so this is not something a "common man" can do on his own.

2. Why would I need to look for extra money if I get paid more than enough as a govt official?
(you cannot contest human greed over here,but in general people are more vulnerable to greed if/when they are in crisis)
Please define "more than enough" :) Once the corruption has set in someone's life, and they have been able to get away with it more than once, there is no looking back! Don't our politicians have "more than enough" of everything? But there is no end to how much they "need"!

So to summarize, we just HAVE to make bribery unacceptable. It will happen slowly, first by the common man refusing to bribe, and then by the common man refused to get bribed! It will be tough to manage day-to-day life in the beginning (and yes, this is very easy for me to say, me being someone who has lived each and every day of her life in the lap of luxury), but come on, we can definitely say no to buying movie tickets in the black market, right? That's not going to kill us, right? Or buy original copies of music and DVDs?

All these are very scattered thoughts, but I am sure they can be organized into some sort of small action plans? Yes?

Another comment that I had from Nidhi on my post was this:
"You have given some good points on tackling corruption. I get the idea that you feel strongly and have a clear thought process.

Can I expect an article from you how to tackle this menace of terrorism in your blog? "
No, Nidhi, I will not be addressing that. I would definitely like to address the issue of internal politics within the country. We as a nation raise a huge hue and cry when someone from outside our borders comes and kills 200 people. But nothing at all when there are secular riots in pretty much each and every state of the country, claiming lives in the order of thousands to date. That is something I would like to address. Cleaning up my own house before blaming the neighbor for trashing it!


Preeti said...

did u just post 5 posts in one day? or is my reader just showin it all u now?

anyway...back? kab aaye? kaise tha?

Renu said...

Wow ! very good suggestions, but i feel salary doesnt confirm the commitment because its a very subjective amount, I never agree to the theory of being under pais..see any worker in an industry may say..why should i work sincerely because offices are getting much more than me, Its all about values, i know many people who are very rich but then more greedy, while some have very few things but wont take anything not meant for them.
So education and practically respecting the person for character and quality not for money can make lot of difference. India anybody who has got pots of money is respectable, today nobody asks ..how did u get it/
My father felt insulted when i started working( in those days in our families daughters didnt work), but felt no qualms about socialising with corrupt officials.
But I never make friends with anybody, if I come to know that they are taking bribes.Once i had a kitty memebr who was the wife of a courupt Inspector, and I stopped meeting her.Thats my way of showing protest and detesting corruption.

Cuckoo said...

How come your last 5 posts came together on my reader ? Till now I was thinking you were not writing anything these days.

Have you read my post http://www.cuckooscosmos.com/Musings/2008/12/06/act-now/
where I have written about some steps to be taken ?

aneri_masi said...

@Preeti, my rss settings were all messed up and I was wondering where all my friends disappeared :)

Yeah, was back last week, it was simply amazing! will write more to u.

@RenuDi, You hit the nail right on the head! In India people get respect for the wrong reasons! An upright person also gets respect, but not as much as a rich person. And a poor person...like a maid or a servant... no one even thinks about what their character is!

Did you tell that kitty member why you were not being friends with her anymore?

aneri_masi said...

@cuckoo, my rss settings were messed up :( Yes, I did read your post, and liked it a lot too.

Renu said...

No:), but generally people know me and my views.
I dont cater to...this is her/his personallife why should it matter to us. U will be surprised that i cant like evn a film star who is not on the right track:), I need to appreciate the person first then anything else.

Ria said...

Very well analysed and i completely agree with wht u hav said here.

τ ħ€ ĐάЎđяёάmёя said...

wow...the last para was awesome and so true...and with that punching line at the end...it became fabulous... though I won't say much on this issue... coz i kno corruption is not present in India...it is actually we who are corrupted...so..I can't blame the system...as no one wants to follow the rule...so they take other means to overcome the problems

I am said...

wooo tune toh mere saree sawalon kaa jawaab de diya :)

awesome.. i liked it.. dubaara padungi if i disagree with anything :)

the most I agree to is clean your own backyard before complaining about the neighbors garbage :)

Anonymous said...

u r damned right Aner!

ceedy said...

Very intense artical....and lot of pertinent issues...

Besides all that you mention - one of the biggest issues is actually DIVERSITY....people are proud to be Gujjus, Marathis, Southies but now Indians....and that is also a very big issue.

good artical - hope all is well

Anonymous said...

Sorry.. I havent read this... I will read it when I get back... I just remembered I forgot to wish u on ur anniversary.. This time to right hai na.. :).. Congratulations.. Though it a week late and for the second time ;P

Renu said...

So thats why u have been busy:)

Wish U a very happy aniversary ! though a belated one.