Monday, May 30, 2011

What to do about Corruption?

In our previous post, we described the drama associated with corruption and its removal. We also mentioned that the signs are ominous. We went further and drew the picture of a likely bleak scenario in the foreseeable future. And yet, we also expressed hope that something better will happen.

We pointed out that there are fundamental flaws in our attitude (as a society) to rule of law (in general) and therefore corruption, and that we need genuine social leaders who can educate the society and transform its core. We need to point out that we have not been such a society for long. Financial corruption gained substantial momentum only post political independence, and especially after Mrs. Indira Gandhi's regime.

As an interesting aside, recall that the BJP's mahatma Mr. A B Vajpeyee called Mrs. Gandhi Durga after India won the 1971 war. While we won the war because of the sacrifice and bravery of our soldiers, the credit was given to Mrs. Gandhi! Don't you notice any corruption here?

Anyways, the point to be made here is that it is in the nineteen sixties and seventies that corruption got firmly established and institutionalized in our nation. Before that corruption was there, but it was at least looked down upon. In the new era, corruption came to be accepted and worse still came to be even respected. What mattered was wealth, and how you got it didn't matter! And this got extended to all spheres of life.

Please observe how it permeates all spheres of life. From casting-couch in the film industry, to billionaire god-men, to terrorism inciting mullahs, to multi-bullionaire politicians. Now they do not even need to be shameless, for society doesn't shame them, rather it respects them and follows them! Do we see the gravity of the situation?

However, since the problem is not age old, hopefully we will be able to solve it sooner than later, provided we begin with a firm resolve and persevere. And societal transformation through education is of paramount importance in the long run. This will go a long way in ensuring that we regain our senses and resolve, to remain a free and responsible society.

However, irrespective of what we achieve in societal attitudes, if certain systemic flaws remain then these flaws will engender tendencies towards corruption in the members. Thus, besides societal transformation, there are certain systemic reforms which are needed. We propose our suggestions here. There will be many such suggestions, many of them orthogonal to each other, and we, as a society, need to introspect and debate, to come to a reasonable and widely accepted solutions. We did mention our suggestions earlier too. Now we can try to understand some of the points. One of the important aspects in correcting anything is the facility to identify and fix responsibility. For example, if a crime is committed then we would like all those who are responsible and none who are not responsible to be punished.

Parliamentary democracy claims to function with the principle of collective responsibility. Now, consider the present situation: For the CWG and 2-G scam, if we apply the principle of collective responsibility, Mr. Manmohan Singh and his whole cabinet must also be held responsible. For, we do not know who took the decisions. We are told that Mr. Kalmadi and Mr. Raja are responsible, but how do we know the truth of the matter?

It becomes clearer now that fixing the responsibility is easier when individuals take decisions. The individual can have as many advisors as he pleases, but he and is decides and is held responsible. So we do not get into a situation that Ms. Soniya Gandhi decides but is never held answerable, or that Mr. Manmohan Singh and his cabinet are involved but they can get away by making a Raja or a Kalmadi a scapegoat.

Imagine a scenario, if Mr. Manmohan Singh was elected to be the head of the nation directly by the people, he will have no coalition compulsion! He could defy DMK, he could defy Ms Gandhi, he could do what he wanted and he would be helfd responsible!

So now we copy-paste the relevant part of what we recommended earlier:

1. We need a new constitution.

2. We need a presidential form of government.

3. We need to be republic. And we need to restrict the powers of the elected representatives.

we had also mentioned

4. We need to restrict franchise.

5. We need have debates rather than mere political speeches!

And many more to be added ...

We hope to get opportunities to argue in favor of these recommendations in future. However, the importance of point number 5 can hardly be overemphasized. As a nation of individuals we need to apply our minds diligently and our emotions wisely in appropriate contexts. For most part, we as a nation have been emotional fools. There is nothing wrong in being emotional. And it is natural to make mistakes. But we must diligently and vigilantly learn and not be endlessly exploited due to our emotional foolishness.

Often people ask: Where is the choice? Whom do we vote? All are so bad!

We answer: Exactly! You are absolutely right. But then ... this is your opportunity! To paraphrase what we said earlier:

O people of this country, realize that most politicians are corrupt. No political party is interested in saving you. So you need to choose and send politicians from among yourselves. Make new politicians, make new political parties. Encourage upright people with spine amongst yourselves to become your representatives. Fix their responsibilities and judge them by their actions and not words. Otherwise you will be led by a bunch of Raja and Kalmadi clones. And surely they will lead you to your doom!

So we need to encourage good people amongst ourselves to join politics and take interest in the governance of this nation. If a politician tries to bribe you to vote for him then accept his bribe and then do not vote for him. He is out there to cheat you so do not get cheated and if possible cheat him instead!

We also need to become brave. If politicians threaten us we must be in a position to retaliate. Thus we also recommend that the New Constitution enshrine freedom to carry firearms as a suitable right. We must recall that we have been a very very brave nation for ages. These new breed of politicians and leaders have emaciated us, to meet their own ends. We need to understand their bluff.


  1. The persons involved in corruption should be treated as a criminal and should be treated as animals.

  2. We understand your spirit, but why ill-treat animals? :-) Interestingly, Baba Ramdev made a very effective remark today:

    More than 70 lakh people die of hunger every year in the country according to the Global Hunger Index. Those who are indirectly responsible for the death of more than 70 lakh people, what should be the punishment for them? No one sees 70 lakh people dying, but if someone corrupt is being hanged, they say 'Save him'.


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