Rakesh Iyer rakesh.rnbdj at gmail.com
Wed Jun 16 15:02:28 IST 2010

Dear Bipin bhai

While I had mentioned something as the cause, I think what I mentioned was
insignificant and insufficient with regard to the problem.

Corruption in turn is not due to one reason. It is backed by a number of
factors, ranging from the family setup one comes from (with the kind of
values one is imbibed with in the family), to also the region and the
neighborhood around you and the way you pick up values from people around
you, as well as your workplace. It also is a product of the kind of
education received by you (in school and college or elsewhere), as well as
your own personal take on it based on what you perceive as right and wrong.

One may say this is the reason not only for corruption but also for many
other things, such as social evils, and I would not dispute that. Corruption
in itself is also a social evil.

In India, corruption has many reasons for being there. The idea that a
person who has the authority must look like that promotes the notion of
corruption. It is not at all considered wrong for people to eat money since
they are seen to be doling out favors to the poor (that's how the Indian
development policy has been seen both by those who are favored and those who
give out favors), so they believe they deserve to get something for their
service in addition to salaries. This is further backed by our social and
cultural atmosphere and the environment around us which makes us believe
that we should concentrate on taking bribes as well as paying them. The idea
that it is just an additional payment made for the service and the ability
to pay it make us further go towards it. And the importance of the service
makes us compromise on the ideals (if at all learnt or believed in by us at
any point of time).

Corruption is also a function therefore of our historical, social and
cultural perspectives over a period of time, and it will take time to root
it out. There are measures, and law is only a small way.

You said that audit hasn't helped matters. Yes it hasn't, because the audit
is done by govt officials, who are again corrupt. The wings of govt. will
keep on protecting each other. Then what is the possible solution?

Audit by the citizens. Let Indian citizens be given a right to conduct an
audit on any government organization as and when they wish at any
unspecified time (within office hours of course) and then let them be able
to check the documents and find out what is the problem. Let more
information be forced to be laid out in public for the govt. and the govt.
officials itself. Let us force the Indian administration to be transparent.

How will that happen?

Good question. Through struggling for it. All of us in 1947 (or our
forefathers) thought that our struggles would end once the British would
leave our country. They didn't. That was just a moment to saviour. We forgot
our own basic responsibility, which was to hold the Indian governments (both
at the centre and at the states as well as the local levels) responsible for
their actions. We believed and still believe that our responsibility ends
the moment we have given our votes. I had condemned this mentality even when
people on this forum were castigating those who weren't voting in elections.
There is no use of voting alone. The use is of actually tracking down
corruption and making it public.

One may ask what is the use of that. The answer is simple. Even if Mayawati
is corrupt, she would never like to be called corrupt in public by her own
supporters, forget opposition leaders. The same goes for other political
leaders also. Therefore, if we expose the corruption (and I as part of the
group did in our social audit in Araria), then the very same govt. officials
will have to answer the public. Right now, transparency and accountability
are lacking, primarily because we have not struggled for the rights, or we
have not used our rights (or fulfilled our duty, something Rajendra bhai
keeps on saying, though not in this context), to change the system or make
it better.

Therefore, it's our battle. Instead of just spending time on net, let us
start acting at least as say RTI activists or something and seek information
and make that public. At least we can expose the corruption there itself.
Let people at least know what's going wrong. Even if we can't change the
mentality of people, we can force them to work properly and without
indulging in corruption (against their own wishes of course).

I know it's easy to say this and difficult to perform. But as a small
example, the Panchayat Rozgar Sewak, who was found mired in corruption in
the Choukta panchayat where we had worked (and we put this in public
hearing), has been forced to work properly because we are after him and we
have made the villagers also realize that they have to be after him to
ensure he works and works properly. Things are slowly changing.

There can't be dramatic changes ala Manmohanomics enforced in 1991 in India.
Changes are generally slow in nature and take time. As for the long term
view, I clearly stated in the mail that education and making corruption
ethically unacceptable for children will ensure that our future generations
don't tolerate it at least. But for the moment, it's we who have to
struggle, not our children. And that can't be done on net, though Internet
can complement us in our struggles.


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