October 28, 2010

Corruption & India

TI has ranked India at 87th place in survey of 178 countries, almost near the middle of the pile. So in a way we are well placed as we don’t seem to be alone on an island. I often wonder why we are a corrupt country. How could a country with national tag line of ‘Satyamev Jayte’(Truth shall prevail) could happen to be corrupt? Should we not estimate the economic & social impact of corruption on us? Can we develop despite corruption amidst us and become developed country?

India is known to be deeply religious society, so could be trace the role of religion in fighting or promoting culture? The western society has begun to blame the Church for problems faced by the society, could we do the same? There is nothing new about it as Mahavir, Budh & Nanak did express such a view.  Why can’t the social & religious leaders launch a crusade against corruption? Would that be not a better temple for our pantheon of Gods in India that fighting over size of the temple?

One yoga teaching swami has become very popular of late. His success has been engineered by a vested interest group that want to promote yoga for the their social race genda than anything else. Some two decades ago Doordarshan ( Govt. owned TV Channel in India)had done so to another yoga guru who was close to the then prime minister. Swami Ramdev talks about fighting corruption, why can’t he start a micro finance venture and save millions of Indians from falling sick? Most of the MFIs are in the direct control of influential people including parliamentarians & politicians.

Corruption erodes the quality from a system. It has eroded away India’s potential to compete globally. We have become chalta hai jagaroo country. Look at our companies, most of them survive on borrowed or copied ideas, products & processes. Some of our visionary industry leaders after independence had influenced the politicians to protect them from competition so that they could survive. Look at any sector and tell where we have leadership? How could we have victory without going through the competition? Copying an idea is a form of pure corruption and most of so called Indian products like Cinema, auto, and chemicals etc are based on borrowed ideas. India needs original ideas to become a better country.

We grow up listening to chants of India being a land of culture, saints and family values. Our rivers have been given the status of God/Goddesses but no one thinks twice before polluting them. If our rivers are polluted & revered at the same time, do we take it as a sign of our way of life? Such unimaginable ambivalence? If you ask an average middleclass guy about such issues they would blame it on the lower strata of society. Indians of all economic class lack civic sense. They would not think twice to spit out from a moving vehicle or defecate at any public place. I have, you must have too, seen people bathing in rivers & other water sources that not suitable for human consumption just to please Gods. How could the Gods like unclean people?

Our social structure is based on group dynamics with family as the unit. So a large family has greater influence over the smaller one. You may find it natural? But these results in destruction of individual talent at the hands of might of family number? Our ancients text Mahabharta portrays the struggle between two families, depicting the defeat of the bigger size family and projecting individuals as Heroic. Could we learn some lessons from there and cap the corruption at the source? 

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