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Anna Hazare and India's war against corruption

Soutik Biswas | 17:14 UK time, Friday, 8 April 2011

Anna Hazare fasting in Delhi

How has a fasting 72-year-old ex-army man turned social activist managed to captivate middle-class India's imagination and get the beleaguered government on the ropes? Why have thousands of people rallied around Anna Hazare to demand tough new anti-corruption laws?

Well, the answers are simple enough. Indians are fed up of sleaze - the country has been rocked by a string of corruption scandals in the past few months. Mr Hazare is a calm man of unimpeachable integrity with a pleasing smile. He has a track record of fighting corruption in Maharashtra - one of India's most corrupt states. Evoking Gandhi's example, he has become a rallying point for the burgeoning anti-corruption fight and the infuriated middle classes. And there is no greater symbol of coercive non-violent protest in India than a fast - again a Gandhian legacy - however much this form of protest may have been debased in recent years by some politicians who snack surreptitiously while on "hunger strike".

Mr Hazare's tactics appear astute. He has now upped the ante, exhorting his followers to "fill India's jail" - again a throwback to Gandhi - in a mass campaign of civil disobedience. It is clear Mr Hazare is not about to ease the pressure. His fast, played out in the full glare of 24/7 news television, is a significant moment in India's largely jaded fight against corruption. The middle classes have responded, happy there are no politicians taking part. For most Indians, politicians, unfortunately, epitomise all that is wrong with the country. Two politicians were turned away from the site of the fast at Jantar Mantar, a historic Delhi observatory, by irate campaigners.

The fast has also had a bizarre side, with assorted Bollywood stars, controversial gurus and publicity hungry lawyers flocking to the stage. There have been also excited and absurd claims that this could be India's Tahrir Square moment.

Anna Hazare has made enough sacrifices to earn the leadership of this powerful protest - most Indians feel their politicians have conspired to remain silent about rampant corruption. The last time corruption was an issue in election was in 1989 when a minister in the Congress government quit against alleged kickbacks in a defence deal, and became a rallying point for the opposition.

But commentators like Pratap Bhanu Mehta eloquently warn that "sometimes a sense of unbridled virtue can also subvert democracy". They say that the Jan Lokpal Bill (Citizen's Ombudman Bill) that the activists want will amount to an anti-corruption institution vested with draconian powers. They ask: Why do we think that this institution will be corruption-free?

Corruption is a complex malaise in India. It is rooted in opaque and badly-run institutions that have been fostered and tolerated over the years. Then there is the stifling, post-colonial bureaucracy. Everyone knows the warped government policies, like misplaced food and energy subsidies, are open to abuse. Add to that the failure to reform India's election system with its shadowy private funding of candidates, many of whom have criminal records. And many people - some now protesting against corruption - have become habitual bribe givers to navigate the system they have lost faith in. More cynicism has bred more corruption. It's not clear how far Mr Hazare's campaign will go - but setting up an citizen's ombudsman will not be the end of corruption. There's much more to do.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    There has been a attitude that any work if it has to be blessed via the red tape has to accompany money or monetary materials, when the corrupt were merely investing their ill earned incomes within India it did not look so bad. In the last couple of decades this money has been leaving India for Switzerland and other tax and secrecy havens, while Indians do not have schools, clean toilets or clean food, bribery has reached the door steps of temples, palaces, Prime Minister and his ruling party, there is zero accountability and complete secrecy about funds being lost under various governmental schemes. The educational levels of people is increasing, with the internet everyone knows that the history taught and the news put out are full of Lies and more Lies. Everyone wants to see that the rich and powerful invest within India, create jobs and better infrastructures, create more accountability within the government, stop using the police and military to suppress the truth. Manmohan Singh and Pratiba Patil are both WEAK, have no personality to represent the people or the country, both have just folded their palms and avoided any controversy, have never answered any question with sincerity and truthfulness, they are riding a false Love Boat floating on ill gotten wealth.

  • Comment number 2.

    as long as corruption is accepted as norm by the general public, situation wont change. I did not realise that corruption is not normal till I left India several years ago!!

  • Comment number 3.

    I agree the Bill might have draconian powers. But what about the present situation? We have got thousands of institutions with unchecked draconian powers - all misused to make money and exploit the poor. I am fully for a single Lokpal institution with draconian powers. If that can uproot corruption everywhere else it is a blessing for the country. Finally, even if that institution turns corrupt, at least we know whom to fight against and set it right. Contrary to the present situation, where we don't exactly have a single institution to fight against - either politics, bureaucracy, police, military, various government machineries, government schemes, (even temples as my previous commentator put it) - you name it. They are all corrupt.

  • Comment number 4.

    Let us step back and take a look at India with historical perspective. India came into existence just 80 years ago. The brutally wounded nation, choose democracy as a way of governing. India was not handed over to Indians on a gold plate, most people agree that it was mess and historians predicted that India will be a failed state in 50 years. But India survived brutal wars imposed on it and even liberated a country ( remember Bangladesh). Yes corruption is a problem in India. But I have seen the decrease of it during my visits to India. I see the corruption scandal expose sign of things going in right direction as people are no longer tolerating it as way of life. It is up to the younger generation who needs to step up and take this fight to the end. I hope Mr. Hazare's efforts will be augmented by the young of India and take it to its meaningful destination.

  • Comment number 5.

    Mr. Anna Hazare's approach to bring India to a Corrupt Free state is appreciated. It is a herculian effort by the 72 year old ex-army man turned social activist. He, sure has managed to captivate middle-class India's imagination and get the beleaguered government on the ropes. We are in solidarity with his idealogy and would come forward and extend our strong support for this great move to restore purity in administration.

  • Comment number 6.

    Y is that BBC not covering the Indian uproar on live TV? Is it for only violent protests?
    This is a nationalist movement.
    People of India are soo feed up with the corruption that they consider this a a second war of independence.
    Bribes are paid is such small scale that a gas cylinder delivery boy needs his share for delivering the cylinder to Raja's multi billion dollar scam.

  • Comment number 7.

    The corruption has been increasing year by year. It starts when a baby is born. All poor people use the government hospital for birthing, which is supposed to be free. You have to pay bribe to the midwives and nurses to be taken care. If not, the mother will be left in a corner to suffer and it is the baby's luck to survive or suffer. Next, birth certificate. You have to bribe somebody to get it. It will be sitting in an officer's table. You have to bribe to move (move - that is the word) the papers so you get the certificate. Every international company doing business in India have to bribe. They do it indirectly. A legitimate 'agency' will 'take care' of it for a 'fee'. But it means bribing indirectly. There are laws in western developed world to punish those who directly or indirectly bribe. But it happens all the time at all levels. The bigger the fish, the bigger the bribe you have to pay.

  • Comment number 8.

    “setting up an citizen's ombudsman will not be the end of corruption. There's much more to do.”

    Of course there is tremendous work to be done. No sensible person will underestimate the gigantic task. The track record of all legislators who are entrusted with this task is poor and they have betrayed the trust reposed in them by the electorate. Anna Hazare is convinced that left to themselves the law-makers will continue to hoodwink the public through their tokenism in the struggle against corruption — a criticism that is based on the weak anti corruption bill that the government has framed. Anna’s proposed modified bill has vastly improved upon the official bill, offering hope for drastic action being taken against bribe-takers and will cover bureaucrats and judges also, in addition to the Prime Minister, Ministers and Members of Parliament. It will not be a hollow, toothless recommendatory body as the one that is envisaged by the official bill. 

    India, reeling under series of corruption, its image internationally taking unprecedented beating, undoubtedly need a truly powerful Ombudsman of the kind Anna is agitating for. This is working fine in many countries and no reason to be pessimistic at all. Indian intelligentsia need to draw inspiration from Anna Hazare’s anti corruption crusade and bring about a change for the sake of future generation.

    Anna, a 72 year old school drop-out from a labour family of Maharashtra's Ahmednagar district, has fearlessly taken on the formidable might of entrenched corrupt Indian establishment . He certainly "want world sympathy in this battle of right against might.” to quote Gandhi during Danti anti salt agitation.




  • Comment number 9.

    India has mainly two types of Corruption.One type of Corruption is seen in the 2G Scam,CWG,Antrix,Adarsh scams and the other is bribing the official or politician in power to get a legitimate thing done where he fulfils all the conditions for the service but still has to pay the bribe for the legitimate thing to be done like getting your ration card,licence etc.99% of all Indians have been forced to suffer the second corruption which is basically financial extortion.The former is the most dangerous Corruption like to get undue favour by wrong means by paying a bribe or if got caught having done something wrong then paying a bribe and your record becomes Clean.The dangerous corruption is where most of the black money is transacted and goes via hawala etc and is deposited in Tax havens like Switzerland etc or is invested heavily in real estate,jewellery,gold etc(black money) and this is what has to be fought very seriously and this is what Shri Anna Hazare is fighting.Whatever maybe the result his intentions and his fast are respeected,admired and supported and the UPA government since 2004 is worried and shivering in it's spine and will do everything possible to make it effectively toothless and if any elected politician and government bureaucrat is prosecuted ,they will ensure he does not spill out the all the beans and will get the most lenient punishment.Nevertheless I support Shri Anna Hazare's fast and the Jan Lok Pal Bill

  • Comment number 10.

    I learnt that notorious gangster, Dawood Ibrahim, also supports Anna Hazare! Each and every corrupt politician, industrialist, businessman, police officer, sarkari babu, bureaucrat, so-called "scientist", professor/teachers, corporate executive – all support AnnaJi.
    The students caught cheating in exam, unemployed youth who purchased degrees and “experience” certificate to get job, teacher/professor who do not take class but busy in private tuition and running question paper leaking syndicate, doctors busy in cheating patients, opportunist and unproductive "scientists", wife beater husbands, girl child hating in-laws, “too busy” parents, fraud BabaJis, oppressive feudal landlord … everyone seem to “support” AnnaJi now!
    If everyone support Annaji’s cause, then why India is suffering from such all pervasive corruption since ages? Ninth wonder in the world!

    I hope this new found excitement and infatuation with “honesty” and fight against corruption will not fade soon. To oppose corruption needs real courage and conviction- not some temporary excitement. Poor Anna Hazare probably will not find much of these crowd who are gathering there as a time pass for some, and mental solace for many (after doing all sorts of corruption during the rest of the day).
    If we get few dedicated, educated and courageous young people to fight corruption, the fate of my country would have been much different. But I know it is too much to ask from present day Indians, who have accepted corruption as part of their lives. It is now a matter of “practical sense” and “reality” to majority of Indian youth, than to become “stupid” enough to oppose corruption when they actually need to chose between fighting or accepting corruption in their OWN personal lives.
    Mob psychology is totally different than real personality that guide people more in real world

  • Comment number 11.

    The BEST support one can extend to Anna Hazare and people like him (may be your own parent who are now aloof from outside society, from the "successes" and "reality" around them) is NOT ONLY TO REMIN PERSONALLY HONEST BUT ALSO TO OPPOSE CORRUPTION WHEN WE ENCOUNTER ONE AND TEACH OUR OWN KIDS TO DO THE SAME. Can we do that OR is that too "impractical" to follow?
    If you think it is just another "stupid" idea, then please stop supporting Anna hazare or efforts by people like Kiran Bedi. Please do not insult them; please do not dilute their efforts. Please…..
    If you think that it's better to accept and use corruption in your favor and shout ONLY when it goes against you, then you do not have enough (true) education (that a class VII drop out like Anna Hazare has) and/or maturity to understand it, its consequences. But if you think otherwise, then be assured that your grandchildren, who will live in much better (probably “developed”) India and will be immensely grateful to few such “fools” who dared to oppose corruption in a systemic way sometime ago.

  • Comment number 12.

    All those who want to end corruption in India,which of course is much desired thing, are willing to give up giving bribes? Every small thing in India needs giving of bribe otherwise you can be badly stuck for even getting a driver's license. Are people ready to gather in support of someone who refuses to give bribe to babus, policeman, clerks, and politicians etc etc? When people gather together to support each other when an official refuses to do the work, which he/she is supposed to do,
    without being fed with money, then only we can fight this monster of institutional corruption.

  • Comment number 13.

    The cure for corruption is not so easy and will come so fast. I am not sure if the problem will be minimized to a manageable level, even if the “Jan Lokpal bill” is passed, exactly the way Anna Hazare wants. That agency also need to be monitored and tendencies of its custodians must not have beyond-criticism and accountability status. For few days it may be an honest person like Anna Hazare, but there is no guarantee that tomorrow an utterly corrupt person will not take charge (a major reason why socialism failed in so many countries).
    After all we need enough number of professionals to have the same moral character, same standard on issues like corruption. We do not have even a fraction of that. Since last several decades we do not groom that breed. We have to build our vital democratic institutions, reform our rotten education system, judiciary, civil administration and so on.
    It is myopic and sign of immaturity to blame only the politicians for the current sorry state of our country. Politicians are no more or no less responsible than anyone else - be it a primary school teacher, university professor and VCs, directors of national institutes, students, doctors, police officials, lawyers, judges, bureaucrats and so on.
    All the people come from the same pool of people, having almost same moral and ethical standard. If we want a better politician or a doctor who have better ethical sense or a scientists who is honest and accountable towards larger society, a teacher who prefers to make good and rational human being - we have to change ourselves, our own thinking. The way we groom our own kids needs to be changed- to make them a rational and independent human being than a machine to earn money and become “successful”, judged based on social and employment hierarchy and money.
    Unless we change our own attitude towards corruption, no revolution, no Anna Hazare can make any sustainable change for a better, transparent India.

  • Comment number 14.

    I bow my head to Mr. Anna Hazare. This is tremendous. I know a lot more is to be done. But achieving this is a huge milestone.
    A true India Hero.

  • Comment number 15.

    Jay's comments are very true, if everybody is supporting Anna, from where this corruption is surviving? Anyways, may be we don't like it when we are the payers but we love it or at least can't refuse it when we are the recipients. I am glad Anna has given an umbrella to all the disillusioned people who wanted to fight against corruption. But I still doubt that the thousands of people gathered there are clean. One thing I've always wondered why we have became corrupt? The British parliament archives show that during the infancy of RAJ Indians were absolutely people of high morale and dignity. We were pedigree of Raja Harishchandra but after the firangees left us in despair we became looters. This corruption also has something to do with everyone's' desire to physical commodities, life-style as shown in movies. People's status is only measured in what car, house they have, where their kids study; not in the terms of their intellect, nice citizenship or patriotism. This can again attributed to our way of both formal or informal teaching. We always show our pupils the utopia; One day you'll become a big officer-so the desire to look great and important and great is inculcated from childhood and ultimately corruption is not considered as a bad thing. I know so many people proudly telling about how they evaded taxes, utility bills, cheated in exams, treating patients without proper degrees etc.
    Its very hard to fight against this deep rooted evil but looks like Anna and his team can take us to right path. One thing we can do as a baby step is not to take and give bribe and heavily criticize or even ostracize corrupts even if they are your families and friends. But I 've to admit that I tried and already failed. I wanted my parents to visit me here in USA. And to get their passports they were asked to deposit 14000 Rs. I even told them not to pay a single paisa, but the inspector warned them that it's already below rates and can even bring false charges even against my old father or mother. My parents ultimately paid 10000/-. They thought if its like this for passport then how much they have to bribe for USA Visa and then air tickets and port of entry. They were shocked that part went very smooth without unaccounted money. But I'll try again not to bribe anybody again.
    All the best to anti-corruption junta..One thing I am thinking why the big shots Amitabh Bachhan, Sharukh Khan, Advani, TN Sheshan, Sachin Tendulkar, Supreme Court JUdges are not fasting with him?

  • Comment number 16.

    I am a Canadian born Punjabi who visited India with my parents for the first time in my life last year. I have personally seen the corruption in India with my own eyes. Everything from having to pay a government official extra money to get my father's land records on time (we apparently had to pay 1000 rupees so that the boys downstairs could look for ours specifically) and have even had my fathers own relatives try to rip us off when we went to purchase some land.

    I have a question for the Indians viewing this blog and would especially like a reply from the poster JAY. In a country where every tom, dick and harry is armed with a cellphone why is it so diffuicult to begin a national campaign to video record, snap photos or use the audio recording device on cellphones to build up a national database of corruption? In a country known for its software development im sure someone could even start up a website where people could expose corrupt government officials. The relatively simply technology is in the hands of practically every single indian.

  • Comment number 17.

    Congratulations to Shri Anna Hazare !!

    I would like to inform all Indians that If we want curruption free country, then WE HAVE TO OBEY RULES..

    Say for Example...

    1) So called Educated People we are... how many times in a day we break the rules..?? Like... we pass urine if we see nobody is passing by...

    2) By not keeping enough papers for vehicle, i.e. License, PUC, RC Book with us and during Police checking ... we are into policeman's hands... to overcome from this we pay 20/50 Rs.. as it is less then the FINE amount... and speedy release ... and we go for that... BUT at the same time, if we have all the papers during police checkign NO FINE...

    3) In Ahmedabad, where I reside there is no Traffic sense, it is gowing very BIG, but I would say here ILITERATE - LITERATE People everyday breaking rules...

    At the same time, when we visit any foreign country we obey all the rules... and in our Matrubhoomi... we are not.. WHY SO??

    IF WE DEVELOPE A DISCIPLINE... Then Our India can become very good... In true sense INCREDIBLE INDIA....

  • Comment number 18.

    Unique India: Very Diverse but Completely United

    India is a great nation on this planet. People of all religions live together in a great harmony despite lots of hardship and challenges. Democracy is working wonderfully. A suitable Indian citizen from any religion and caste gets an opportunity to serve as MLA, MP, Prime Minister and President of India. However, corruption is the topmost problem in India, and seriously damaged the image of India in international community due to unending corruption scandals. The common people of India are tired and very frustrated with corruption at all levels. It is very important to fix this problem for the national interest, and respected Anna Hazare knows how to fix it. It’s not that easy to get it done from a Government who relatively gives more importance to remain in power than doing radical reforms for the national interest.

    Anna Hazare has dedicated his life to serve the society for better India. He has made History by doing lots of good things for society. To solve the problem of corruption genuinely, he demanded formation of a joint panel to write new anti-corruption law. Though it was necessary for national interest, Indian Government only agreed to do so after realizing the power of Anna Hazare’s fast unto death. The massive public support from all sections of the society regardless of religion and caste reflected the greatest unity among Indian citizens against corruption. In fact, people know that winning this battle is more important than winning World Cup in cricket game. Anna Hazare galvanized all Indians against corruption and finally Government agreed to formation of a joint panel to write a new anti-corruption law. Hope that this law will take care of corrupt agents, bureaucrats and politicians.

    As an Indian citizen, one thought came in mind and that thought is ‘Why don’t we (all Indians) consider Anna Hazare for President’s post of India?’ He is devoted social work, and contributed greatly for the Indian Society. If you are talking about his age (72), think about our Presidents of India from 1947. Most of them were 72+ years old. Selfless Anna’s is in good health and can do wonders to fix the social problems.

  • Comment number 19.

    I think the nail has been hit on the head with the poser "Why do we think that this institution will be corruption-free?"

    Like many Indians in my position (i.e. living outside but with families back home) I don't think I have truly appreciated the scale of Anna Hazare's fast but just reading updates by Indian journalists and celebs on social networking platforms as well as reading/watching updates by Indian news outlets, the entire situation seemed to turn into a bit of a rebel without a clue.

    The saving grace of this movement was the millions and millions of ordinary people from nearly all strata of society who came out in force to support Anna Hazare. Its not the celebs, the journalists, the politicians or even Anna Hazare who will make the Lokpal work, it will ultimately come down to we, the people.

  • Comment number 20.

    In addition to S C's comment above re corruption starting as soon as a baby is born, "....birth certificate. You have to bribe somebody to get it." You need to pay a bribe to get a death certificate when someone dies... The cycle of corruption thus is complete!

  • Comment number 21.

    Well.. my message to the readers is that, instead of cribbing about the level and depth of corruption, you can also contribute to reducing it (completely eliminating it would be wishful thinking!) by playing your part. If you cant join the civil society or any social movement, you can contribute by not paying bribes in regular day-to-day tasks. More information on how you can do it can be obtained by going to www.ipaidabribe.com (by a Bangalore based non-profit org called Janagraha).
    I've personally been benefited by this site, was able to renew my driver's license and Passport without paying Paisa for bribe. You can also report indicents where you've had to pay a bribe.
    Hope people take note of this and make use of it instead of giving the stereotypical 'living room talk'. Actions should speak rather than words.

  • Comment number 22.

    Some fought for a separate state (chandershekhar for telengana),
    some fought for quota (jaats and gurjars),
    some fought for their rights(naxals)...
    BUT Mr. ANNA HAZARE IS FIGHTING FOR COUNTRY,, HE IS WHOLE COUNTRY'S HERO ...LEADING THE ASSAULT ON CORRUPTION...
    My salute to mr. Anna hazare..

  • Comment number 23.

    Exceedingly good change.

  • Comment number 24.

    Another view which I would like to post is: regarding the low pay of India's governement servants and police. In a country where inflation is so high and the expenses of running a house have skyrocketed from a few hundreds to a minimum of Rs.5-10,000 per month, how can you expect anyone to survive let alone save for their kids? In all fairness, we must abolish and jail the bribe takers, but first, give them enough to live and survive. Then we have every right to catch the corrupt ones.
    In the land of Gandhi, the non-corrupt will lead a hand-to-mouth life whereas the corrupt lead a rich life. Let us make it worthwhile for future generations to become a policeman or a government servant by following the exmple of developed nations. Pay Government servants well to lead a bribe-free life and simutaneously, make bribery and corruption punishable by effective laws.

  • Comment number 25.

    I don't think corruption is possible in this committee, because its members are elite social activists and politicians.
    the politicians can turn corrupt, but a social activist can never.
    if we are talking about a social activist., then it means we are talking about a critic of system, a critic of government, a critic of its policies.. So there are very few chances of a social activist turning corrupt..
    Now a days we are coming to know about RTI activists. The most of the RTI activists are social activists.. Truly there is always threat to life of RTI activists and even after that they just don't care about it.
    death is smaller thing than country for them.. So money stands nowhere for such persons.
    Even after that if there is any complaint against the member of the committee., then that member may be subjected to elimination within 3 months (max. 3 months of investigation)..
    I think Jan Lokpal Bill is toughest in india till now..
    Lets see when and how it's passed in the parliament and how it comes in to action.

  • Comment number 26.

    Mr Anna Hazare is a Congress Stooge. Congress as a party has many such, he is more famous. He UNsuccessfully highlighted the corruption under SS-BJP, although the Party did manage to build 62 overbridges in Mumbai against Congress 1 in 60 years and ofcourse the good roads. The fact was he Mr Anna Hazare went to court and lost the case and even went to jail because he could produce the compensation. His going to jail, made him look meek and the SS-BJP gorvernment which definitely did the corruption which could not be proved in court of law, looked Demonic.

    Fast forward, here we have court proven corruption cases Mr Sharad Pawar the Grand Ayatullah of corruption was actually on a body of corruption Vigilance, speaks in volumes of what level of Corruption we have.

    Sonia Gandhi demands 10lkhs 1 Million Indian Rupees from CM and similar amounts from State Cabinet ministers for her speeches she makes, this was recorded live on TV when one functionary was talking to other without realisiing that the mike was ON. The point is from where can these State CMs produce such cash, not from their own pockets or business ofcourse from corruption. If she is demanding this much for speech, imagine how much she has asked from Sharad Pawar of Kalamadi the CWG man or from 2G !!!

    Look at the state of affair, this Anna Hazare has demanded changes in Law or creation of Law, do we now assume that there was no LAW before for stopping corruption ? I can understand that if Mr Anna Hazare had asked for resignation of the government, even the opposition is not bothering the rulling party over resignation too much, why ? Dont know.

    The entire show is stage managed and possibly you will have some sort of order in corruption rather than unriddled. Those Guilty will slowly slip away into oblivion and new comers will come to take their place.

    Bottom line, life will go on as it is, except a few more blogs !!!

  • Comment number 27.

    Dear Sunny Grewal (#16).
    Sometime ago I wrote about some of my experiences in

  • Comment number 28.

    Dear Sunny Grewal (#16).
    Sometime ago I wrote about some of my experiences in but what can I do. That might help you to get the answer you are looking for.
    Any system, any society, any organization, any country, any government is bound to be corrupt if it is a closed system. I was reading an article, published in a reputed Bengali magazine, "Desh". That article was about great Indian scientist and chemist, Acharaya Prafulla Chandra Roy. Dr Roy once tried to analyze the reasons for downfall of Indian science. He pointed out few reasons, mainly our social conservativeness (mainly in the name of "religion" and "tradition") and the way we make our children corrupt and groom them not to ask questions (be it against religion, God, social custom etc). He also believed that two persons were mainly responsible for our (mainly Hindus) scientific backwardness- 1) Saint Manu (who mainly invented caste division among Hindus) and 2) Saint Shankaracharaya (who was highly successful to strictly introduce that heinous caste division, even among "lower" caste people). It was a fascinating analysis by Dr Roy and a very relevant for India, even today.

    Unless we open up our society (that includes religion and many other associated issues), we will never have a more transparent government. There is not a single country in the whole world which is having a closed, conservative society yet having a transparent and progressive government. A truly ration person can never be rational on some issues while remain naive and illogical on others.
    Those two very seemingly different issues are so interconnected that one can never be solved without solving the other one.

  • Comment number 29.

    After a lifetime working in the UK I have been spending about half of each year in India during the last 8 years or so. Economic (the black economy is probably many times larger than the reported GDP) and other progress in India is truly astounding - sadly not fully reported (understood?) in the British press. Also the level of corruption is so endemic that hardly anyone talks about it any more in India (probably because EVERYONE in all walks of life whether they live in a village or in a city is DIRECTLY involved in it or has benefited from it). Yet almost EVERYONE irrespective of their station in life is fed up with it (probably because corruption not only involves paying bribes but also having to endure routine harassment first to ensure that the bribe is handed out, or else..). When I ask my friends how do they advise their children now - be good, truthful or honest OR teach them how to be really good at making people cry so that they pay the largest bribes, the thoughtful ones become silent and feel concerned!

    So it is an unbelievable piece of news to read what is going on with Mr Hazare's initiatives.

    I just pray to God that there will be enough Indians in India willing to "Experiment with Truth" (just as Gandhi struggled all through his life) and search within their own hearts, and start a sustained effort to change their life long habits. To just blame the politicians or the bureaucrats or the businessmen - ie someone other than oneself WILL NOT BE ENOUGH.

    It WILL be a lot harder than anyone can imagine - because I am not aware of anyone (anywhere in the world) who knows in himself that he is totally free from corruption. But corruption like many other non-virtues can be controlled, and that will be a great start. And if this movement can create an environment for honesty to prosper and thrive that will be a great first move.

    In the end legislation and Ombudsmen cannot change anything (India has more laws than one can imagine, and they are put to good use in collecting bribes, and India has plenty of examples where the Chief Protector is also the Chief Crook), unless the people themselves WILL themselves to be good. Then that will be a fitting legacy to Gandhi (and not just cynically exploiting the Gandhi brand name, as some people feel is currently being done in politics)!

    May God guide the good people of India in this most important struggle. May God guide us all.

  • Comment number 30.

    It is not the lack of laws in India, it is lack of backbone to implement laws. That is why there is so much corruption AT EVERY LEVEL. I ask you a simple question. How many people caught red handed, sting operations, and indicted by inquiry commissions have been jailed or hanged? NONE. That is why we are a very indisciplined nation. Let us face it. Every Indian knows that bribe would get him/her free of taking or giving bribe. This disease can only be eradicated by very severe punishments meted out very fast and in public. Unless an example is created where a proven corrupt person is immediately punished nothing will happen in India. Hazare or no Hazare. But who is going to hang whom? Everybody is corrupt. The judiciary, the police, the executive, the politician and the administration at every level. Please do not live in this illusion that one fast by Hazare will solve the problem indiscipline in our society.
    Who is going to remove a politician who spends tax payer money in creating her own statues all over the state? just to give one example.

  • Comment number 31.

    A few days ago, I watched an excellent interview (with Charlie Rose) of ex-PM of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew , who practically developed Singapore from a typical third world country to one of the most transparent, more developed countries in the world.
    We can learn a lot from Singapore, which used to have (and still has) many of the problems of a typical third world country, including India.

  • Comment number 32.

    Unfortunately, eyewash is all that was accomplished--not even a "Clean Sweep Ignatius" (which is the best the "corruption ombudsman" will be--reference to a Jeffrey Archer short-story), who will catch some of the worst offenders and return a portion (but not cent-percent) of moneys taken.

  • Comment number 33.

    The incredible success of the Anna Hazare 97 hrs protest fast is an amazing revelation of the state of alienation and loss of credibility of the ruling class . The ordinary citizen were helplessly watching series of scandals of astronomical proportions. People have become extremely disillusioned with Prime Minster offering protection to most corrupt under the pleas of coalition compulsions and the citizens inability to embrace the equally discredited opposition parties. Anna Hazare on the other hand is determined Gandhian, starkly contrasting corrupt ministers flaunting private jets and MPs in luxury limousines. Anna has a proven record of effecting change in his village through community action. He has a simple demand to place before Parliament an effective Lok Pal Bill. It may not be a panacea for the widespread corruption that exists; but it has focused attention on a problem that has troubled most people, and exposed the fraud of a legislation that the government had been planning. Unlike earlier times, Anna has the ready availability of electronic media to reach nook and corner of the country and net savvy huge middle class. This has come handy to effect profound revolution no less than Egypt Tahir square and elected representatives cannot take shelter under the pretence of monopoly right to representing people.



  • Comment number 34.

    The scale and reach of corruption in India would put any banana republic to shame. The truth is that politicians in India have been looting the country with total impunity for the past sixty years. It wouldn’t be surprising if politicians in power have robbed more in the past 5 years than what the British and other invaders have taken away in the 500 years before the so called independence. Anna Hazare is a great man and fully deserves the adulation of his growing flock of followers. Unfortunately it is hard to believe that an institution which for all practical purposes is the preferred destination of successful criminals can be expected enact laws that would be the undoing its key members. Look for instance, at the silly stipulation that the selection committee for the Lok Pal (ombudsman) should include Nobel laureates of Indian origin and Magsaysay award winners!!
    One good thing from all this is that The so called largest democracy in the world is finally being unmasked internationally for what it really is : The world’s largest hereditary feudal state.

  • Comment number 35.

    This reaction shows the immaturity of Indian democracy. What Anna Hazare has done is to hijack people's disenchantment with corruption to push a dubious and anti-democratic agenda. The sympathies of many members of the so called 'civil' society lie with anti-democratic and violent groups that have no respect for democracy, justice, or equal rights. Reducing corruption requires improvements to the administrative structure and reducing the political influence in enforcement. It will require hard work and attention to detail in the various areas where corruption flourishes. It is symptomatic of our immaturity that we are hailing Mr Hazare as a savior who will magically get rid of the malaise of corruption.

  • Comment number 36.

    One of the key factors that contribute to all pervasive corruption in India is our inability to earn respect and leadership. Corruption is the unavoidable consequence of not allowing questions, not applying rationality from the very childhood.
    In India, people do NOT earn “respect” or “leadership” but it all imposed ; sometimes by age (we are forced to accept not to question/argue with any elderly person), or social hierarchy (e.g. we are reluctant to question/argue with a Brahmin/babajis for religious guidance) and now for economic/employment hierarchy (boss is ALWAYS right) as well.
    In my opinion (after so many years abroad and with different organizations), Indian (or from most of the third world countries) managers (irrespective of his/her IIT/IIM degrees) are one of the worst managers a person can have, in any field. They DEMAND “respect” than earning it. They believe that “leadership” is proven by his/her ability to force others to obey him/her, rather than his/her ability to convince others, encourage others and most importantly, giving others (mainly the juniors) their due credits (both financially and otherwise). That mentality seem to be ingrained since childhood, in almost every field of life, in every profession (starting from politics to teaching to research to corporate management). Children from rich and powerful family background NEVER face consequences of their actions (always shielded by parents and money/power). On the other hand, a children from less fortunate background face so many unjustified consequences (punishment) for which s/he has no responsibility or even clue. That’s why majority of Indians and Indian origin people (NRIs) have NO sense of justice and honesty, even if they are professor in an ivy league university abroad or Cxx of a company.
    If an undeserving candidate attains a higher position of authority then there is no way one can prevent nepotism and other sorts of corruption. That starts from our own homes and continues to the highest level of our national government. Accountability and probability to face consequences for one’s own acts are almost non-existent in modern India. But in reality, the consequences of such acts have to borne by everyone else including those rich and powerful ones, in some form or other.
    Institutional corruption is just one, probably a major, of such consequences.
    That’s one of the reasons why we will not get a true leader like Barak Obama to lead our country. We will not have a innovative company that can rule the world beyond routine BPO jobs, that’s why India will not have a world class, noble laureate scientist (trained and successfully working in India, without having any foreign connection) and so on. We pay a heavy price yet to try to ignore such issues as “small” or non-significant ones. We must fix these “small” issues first, before we solve “big” issues like corruption.

  • Comment number 37.

    Educate,Organise and Agitate....

  • Comment number 38.

    #34. General Tapioca: You remind of a depressing person when smelling roses looks around for coffin instead of rose garden!

  • Comment number 39.

    Now its the turn of the political parties to give bribe to people to get their vote.

    http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/tamil-nadu/article1614759.ece

    Both Mr Karunanithi and Jayalalitha have announced lots of freebies (grinder, mixer,laptops etc) to the people if they come to power.

    http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/tamil-nadu/article1606158.ece

  • Comment number 40.

    It really amazes me that despite this existence of corruption in India, the economy of this country is growing at such a fast pace. The gems of the international corporate world like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet like to court India. Recently the President of the US too came to India to court Indian companies to create american jobs back home. All the tech giants such as Intel, IBM, Cisco, Microsoft have huge operations in India. It shows the resilience of the common man in India. We manage to create such advancement inspite of the corrupt and useless political class. This fact cannot be ignored.

  • Comment number 41.

    Dear Mr Jay,

    You have been vocal on the board and I do understand that this is a critical issue for most people in the country. I am however intrigued by your comment that the 2 people responsible for the ills of India are Saint Manu and Shankaracharya. I am not sure how much you have read the writings of these two people. Further, a fundamental assumption you are making is that if India did not have the so-called caste system, the society would have been the best. By this logic, all countries in the world except India would have been corrupt free. Maybe you have a bright point that low intellects like me are missing - if you can enlighten, that will be most appreciated

  • Comment number 42.

    What everyone is missing here is the role of over-population in the ills of our society. Noone is born corrupt, but India is a country of hyper- competition due to too many people chasing too few resources for a good life. Taking an example, would you punish a constable who works 14 hours a day in heat, dust and crowd and gets only rs. 15000 a month, if he tries to make some extra money to give his family a better life. I am not condoning corruption but we need to recognize too much has gone wrong in last 3 decades and we need an overhaul of systems. Maybe even rewrite constitution. Take into reality of over- population and rewrite the checks and balance systems. The previous constitution was written with lot of faith on integrity of political class. The new one should assume the political class will be corrupt unless the strong hand of law punishes them. Law has failed in India to be an effective deterrent and the day corrupt start getting punished by taking their money away, it will be the biggest leap for India since independence.

  • Comment number 43.

    Lets not get carried away. We have to wait and see what sort of law comes out and how it is enforced. But it is a good start.

  • Comment number 44.

    @ 42. At 06:56am 10th Apr 2011, Bend_It_Like_Murali:

    A police constable makes Rs 15000 (£200/$350 per month)? Is it actually even that high?

    I remember watching a Hindi movie a few years ago, where the constable character tells his boss that a municipal sweeper makes more than him, so why shouldn't he be corrupt?

  • Comment number 45.

    There can be no disagreement over the need of an effective ombudsman to curb corruption but the draft bill has to be anaylsed without getting emotional. Last few days has already seen a ‘drama’ being unfolded with publicity hungry cheap filmstars, lawyers, NGO’s trying to hog the limelight. The whole media frenzy and 24X7 coverage of this agitation has created an impression similar to ‘Peepli Live’ movie. More surprisingly some over-enthusiastic tv commentators are terming it as ‘India’s Tehrir-Square’; there can be nothing far from reality than this.

    A cursory glance will make it clear that the Jan lokpal bill is fraught with dangers of undermining the fine-balance of our 3-pillared democratic setup. As proposed, a lokpal can't be made a super-authority over legislature, judiciary and executive specially with no checks on members themselves. Some of the powers being asked are totally undemocratic for e.g. lokpal would be a 'deemed police officer' with authority to grant search warrants; do we need more policing with the powers to conduct door-to-door searches merely on the basis of allegations? Where is the role of judiciary then? Similarly the power to take 'suo-moto' action is highly contentious.

    Perhaps a tacit assumption has been made that all the members and Lokpal him/herself would be God-sent people with no vices at all. We need proper checks and balances against Lokpal institution also. Nobody should be made so powerful that s/he is beyond all controls. Moreover, the bill has tried to paint all the bureaucrats and legislators with the same brush of being 100% corrupt which is not true. No doubt we need to PUNISH THE CORRUPT but we also need to have proper safeguards to PROTECT THE HONEST from witch hunts by vested interests. It becomes much more important because most of the legislators and bureaucrats work in public space where many a times allegations are made just for the sake of character assassination also. We have a due process of law and that should not be undermined in any case. On a different tangent, do we really need more laws or we need an effective implementation of the existing laws?

    The impression that an ombudsman will be a panacea to corruption is an underestimation of the real depth of corruption. It is all pervasive in public and they accept it. Infact, we all are angry when we have to pay something but are more than willing when we are recipients! So, there is a need of introspection rather than kneejerk reactions. Lets not over-estimate the effectiveness of this agitation.

    Finally the agitationary tactics is welcome but there has to be a space for due deliberations also so that other pillars of democracy are not undermined at any cost. In a hurry or due to any pressures, the govt should not create a Frankenstein's monster and be apologetic about it later.

  • Comment number 46.

    I think the biggest rogue is the mentality of most of the government sector workers, i'll like to share an incident as an example here.
    Few days back there was a quarrel b/w two families living in next street.. Matter became worse so sombody called police.
    But before the police arrived, the issue was solved.. So 1 member of family said to constable "sorry for disturbing you sir, but our issue has been sorted out, so it's o.K. Now. You can go."
    then the constable replied " sorry for what !, your issue may had been sorted out but mine is not. I also have wasted my time and that's why you need to pay me!!"

    so if this is the mentality of a government worker, then what we can expect from a politician who is running the government..

    I think if we can control and punish the top liners(politicians), then there is a chance of improvement in bottom line..
    A bribe of 1000 rs. Can affect the life of 2-3 people, but a scam of 1.76 lakh crores affects the whole country. Most of the countries don't even have GDP worth 1.76 lakh crores rs. And this is only 1 scam what about cwg and others..
    But even after when corruption is at extreme level, we are still growing at 9%. If corruption is eliminated then what would be our growth rate.
    whenever it comes to punish the telecom companies because of their involvement in 2G scam, politicians do say that this action would be ANTI GROWTH.. If a strong bill is demanded then again they say it's ANTI GROWTH.. Kapil sibal sees 0 loss in 2G scam,. Manmohan was asked about loss in 2G scam in a press conference, then he replied," we do give subsidy in wheat, kerosine, diesel.. Then shall we see it as a loss for a country."..
    When the p.M. Is relating corruption scam with subsidy and is pointing the low rates of Gprs as a result of 2G scam.(as he has accepted scam as subsidy because it resulted in low gprs rates)..However he is ignoring the fact that subsidy is given to primary things needed by poor man.. Poor man needs food, he doesn't need GPRS to live. So how P.M. Can even think about this foolish comparison b/w subsidy and loss of 2G scam. there is something wrong in their mentality. They have accepted the corruption as a part of the system..
    Mr. anna hazare has taken a good initiative but he has much more to do..

  • Comment number 47.

    We can't claim that taking bribe is constable's right just because he gets 15000 rs., if we are thinking so than we need to change our mentality, because of this mentality we are making our system more corrupt..
    I'll like tn share a fact:
    Engineers are being offered as low as 12000 rs/month in placement camps..
    Can we compare the educational qualities and capabilities of an engineer and a Constable..
    Constable stands nowhere, but still he is ahead of an engineer in payscale (without taking bribe)..
    "An engineer is to be satisfied just because he is in private sector.. And constable can accept bribe because he is in government sector."
    No ! Not at all !
    Corruption is a crime And it shall not be ignored in any sense..
    Why it is so that "WE ACCEPT CORRUPTION AS A PART OF SYSTEM RATHER THAN ACCEPTING LOW PAY SCALES AS A PART OF SYSTEM.."

  • Comment number 48.

    Most social problems respond best when there is a povital presence to represent the cause. 72-year old Kisan Baburao Hazare, famously known as Anna Hazare, has become the face against corruption, the rallying point. The Indian people are tired of paying more for this and that because someone is in a position to force them to pay or do without.
    I follow Anna Hazare...
    For decades, Anna was harassed, even thrown into prison...but the man fought on relentlessly. He started a 'satyagraha', meaning fighting for truth when he began his fast. In the silence of his fast, India has awakened.

  • Comment number 49.

    I guess you are missing the point. I implied lot of corruption is happening because people are trying to get decent life for their family. And this has become difficult due to over-population. And as for engineer vs constable, I would still pay the latter more as his physical sacrifice is much more. And also the danger to his life at times. As labor is cheap in India, too much is made of qualifications- but it is not consistent with natural justice. Your engineer would start at 12000 but his salary will rise way faster than govt paid constable.

  • Comment number 50.

    Dear UV,
    No body can deny Manu is a curse on India. Caste system kept India backward and it will keep it down as long as it is alive. The elite ruled the country for more than fifty years but never did anything to abolish it. So called communist also have caste name as there last name??!!. If you are an NRI and made the comment defending Manu you are in denial. Dalits are burned and raped everyday which is OK as per caste system. As far as I am concerned caste system is a fuel for corruption. Many educated indians obtain fake caste certificate to enter in to elite government run professional colleges.

  • Comment number 51.

    Dear UV (#41). The assertion that Manu and Shankarayacharaya are one of the two main persons behind India's downfall in science was not mine per se, but from Acharaya PC Roy. For detail you can read 2nd February 2011 issue of Bengali magazine "Desh" or PC Roy's book (which was quoted in that review).
    Yes, I am a brahmin (by birth) and have read some of those so-called "scriptures" you referred. I do support that caste system in India has a lot (may not be THE most important reasons though) in downfall of Indian civil society and also science (as Dr Roy said).
    So far caste system in India goes, you can read the comments, including mine in some of Sautik's blogs; e.g "Caste census: Opening a Pandora's box?" or "Killing for 'honour'.

  • Comment number 52.

    Corruption is an end to means.

  • Comment number 53.

    For those who want to lend a voice to ending corruption in India and supporting Anna Hazare sign the avaaz petition : http://www.avaaz.org/en/stand_with_anna_hazare/97.php?cl_tta_sign=927411ea81775cb2df977bdd6b42ffd4

  • Comment number 54.

    The massive rise in corruption and scams in India started mainly after economic liberalization in 1991. One of the major reasons for that is: the economic liberalization was NOT a well-planned policy shift but a rather desperate measure to save Indian economy from free fall and total collapse (after India was forced to keep its gold reserve in Bank of India). Even after that opening up of Indian economy, we did not even gave a sincere effort to reform our outdated, non-functional judiciary, civil governance (and almost all the democratic institutions that build and maintain an affective and all-inclusive democracy). So corporate houses (both Indian and foreign) opened, expanded and outsourced their dirty manufacturing jobs and routine maintenance jobs in IT to India and almost non-existent corporate governance attracted many corrupt businesses and industries from all over the world. It surely created few jobs, improved lives of some people but it also destroyed our own strength, innovative ability and massively increased social disparity. The poverty level has not been affected much now, as compared to 1980s. About 82% of Indian population now lives with a family (not per capita) income of ~2000 Rs (~ 45 USD). 34.7% of Indians live below poverty line (i.e ~ 450 INR per month, ~ $9); although at least 3 of top 10 richest person in the world also live in India now. That highly disport wealth distribution and gorss macroeconomic data like GDP, per capita income.
    The expanses of day to day lives in India has reached (almost) at per with many developed countries but the salary (of average and majority of Indians) has not increased to match that. Even the prices of majority of “luxary” goods (cars, TV, camera etc) are much more expensive in India than in US or EU.
    Greed and availability of luxury goods has increased manifold but we do not have any matching judiciary, police, administration to tame that greed and ease to satisfy the provocation to have a “better” (i.e western style life). Even there are acute shortage of water but many upscale houses/apartments in many cities like Mumbai, Hydrabad, Bangalore, Delhi are now having swimming-pool. We often conveniently forget that

  • Comment number 55.

    Some very enlightening comments above. I left India in 1974 and vowed never to return to this goddamn country where corruption and the degradation of human values was rampant. Impending old age and a desire to revisit my youth resulted in me and my wife - who had never been to India - to return for a 3 week visit to distant relatives and old haunts! Within hours of landing we had our first of many experiences with corruption. Having already paid the road tax for entering Punjab we were stopped by corrupt police on several occasions to pay bribes. Our correct paperwork had no effect. On each occasion I refused as they would not provide a receipt! On each occasion we were waved away. Talking to relatives it soon became clear that in the past 37 years things have got much worse. I have returned with a sad heart and the "ghost" of India finally expurgated, but with some hope that Anna Hazare and his mobilisation of youth may finally achieve the result the poor in India deserve.

    India may be a developing economy on the cusp of getting into the economic top table, but the plight of the poor man remains pathetic. Concern for human life and dignity is sadly lacking in this country of Gandhi and Tagore. The poor are invisible. Linked along with this disregard for humans is the utter filth and stink that pervades everywhere you go in India. It's almost that the country has lost its will to live by decent international standards upholding human rights. It is the law of the jungle out there.

  • Comment number 56.

    Rise of corruption is a global phenomenon. That is mainly due to our infatuation with "growth based" economy. Majority of world economic leaders (both at national and personal level) are still obsessed with "growth" to measure "development" or efficacy of their policies, which is neither true, nor reflect over all prosperity of people. For a more detail analysis one can read "Steady-state economy and de-growth models of development . It becomes more important for countries like India, which has a very high population and not that massive resources. Consequences for not doing it will be rise in frustration among people, civil violence, different forms of extremism and rise of corruption, as we see now.

  • Comment number 57.

    Cont from #54:
    Greed and availability of luxury goods has increased manifold but we do not have any matching judiciary, police, administration to tame that greed and ease to satisfy the provocation to have a “better” (i.e western style life). Even when there is acute shortage of water, many upscale houses/apartments in many cities like Mumbai, Hydrabad, Bangalore, Delhi are now having bathtubs and swimming-pools for regular use! The same is true for many national resources, forest, sea beach, river, parks, drinking water and so on. We often conveniently forget that, Economic prosperity vs social disparity- dictates quality of life .
    We the average Indians still do not understand and/or accept that money MUST not be allowed to buy the resources that put pressure on others or waste national resources, as many Europeans do (unlike Americans). Sense of all-inclusive or community based development is not much known or accepted in modern India. That makes a huge impact on rise of corruption.

  • Comment number 58.

    Who is going there to wipe the hydra headed monster in India ?. We do not want more laws we need the people to implement the already existing laws and I do not see any one is there to do it for us. We are heavily taxed and our legacy is the testimony of how a handful of Britisher could control us by sheer discipline which we lack from time immemorial. It is a laughing stock of Indians everywhere, why should the educated well trained young people go out of India and develop the country they inhabit and same people do not find place to develop their own country. Bribing and unaccountability in public life and the most corrupt politicians has created HAVOC what Britishers failed to do.

  • Comment number 59.

    correction for #54.
    .........after India was forced to keep its gold reserve in Bank of ENGLAND.

  • Comment number 60.

    Erm. I just don't see what the hype is all about. People are so deluded that they accept everything. The features and demands of the jan lokpal bill are unrealistic and CANNOT be enforced by the indian government or the SC which takes 50 years to resolve a simple land dispute case. Only way to stop corruption is through barbaric violence - beat up the corrupt , torture them. They will stop it eventually if it is done on a dozen corrupt people. Or simple solution , Evade taxes whenever possible, what do you care if other people are stupid enough to pay full tax and then complain about "thieves" stealing their money? Complain ,cry do whatever u want, You will not stop corruption. It's a world wide phenomenon.

  • Comment number 61.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 62.

    @ bend_it_like_murli:
    Brother, I may be Getting little bit technical but I've visited many mechanical industries and in country like india the word 'safety' doesn't exist. The danger to life of workers is too much. If i had met 20 workers doing the job of hydraulic press operater then atleast 12 of them had met with an accident during their lifetime.
    (an accident in press working leaves the worker handicapped).
    Those workers also have sacrificed. But they can do nothing.. (normaly a press operator is an engineering diploma holder. Even he is more educated than a constable).
    Getting to the second point, an engineer gets 12000 as starting pay and he surely gets increment in his pay.
    But a constable also has got funds and various allowances in his a/c.. After retiement he's assured of job and pension.. But an engineer is not..
    And We can't say "why a small shopkeeper is earning less than a shopping mall owner?"
    how they can earn equal when there is huge difference in the investment in a shop and a shopping mall. Same thing is applicable here in case of engineer and a constable..

    One more thing, the danger to life of an army personnel is more than that of a constable but an army personnel doesn't get extra money for that...

  • Comment number 63.

    Dear Abhi (#62).
    That scenario is present in almost all the industries, including IT and BT (the two most hyped and profitable BPO) in India these days.
    Massive fraud and crime is all pervasive in almost all those industries. Just one important example is (once very respected profession), medical practice is now highly infected by all sorts of corruption. The same is true for teaching, research etc, which used to have a very high moral ground in public minds just fee decades ago.

    Indian business and industries are now adopting the typical American mentality of "winners take it all" attitude. They mainly rely on cheap, easily exploitable work force, lack of any corporate governance, cheap raw material and least interested to innovation and invention (the main parameter for long term success). Industry captains tend to give least to the workers, lower and middle management staff. Huge population and lack of very high technological or scientific demand is making that easier for the industries. India is now among the LEAST innovative countries in the world (along with China).
    If you ever experience a typical sugarcane industry in India, you will immediately understand how oppressive it can be. There is NO weekend. Saturday and Sunday is full working day; typical working time is 7.30 am to 9 pm and all that without overtime. There is NO paid holiday, in the whole year. Even that practice does not attract any government attention or penalty, simply because the sugarcane industry is very powerful and influential in many north Indian states, mainly UP. The same is true for almost every field, be it health care or biotechnology or IT or low skill manufacturing industries.
    All these have huge impact on corruption in public lives.

  • Comment number 64.

    Mr. Biswas,

    Your article is factual and correct. I am inspired by the events led by a simple man from a small village in India. It is sad that rather than being inspired by these events you end your article with negative hopelessness. I hope that you start looking at the world with hope and the glass is half full positive attitude.

    Best Regards,
    Ravi in St. Louis

  • Comment number 65.

    Has anyone examined the history of Indian 'Baksheesh'? How far back does it go? When did it become pervasive?

  • Comment number 66.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 67.

    Do not celebrate too much the victory of Anna Hazare's hunger strike against the corruption and the introducing the Jan Lokpal bill in the parliament. Everyone knows the fate of RTI (Right to Informatio) bill. To get an answer you will have to go to the court and then risk your life! In India it is common to pass all sorts of bill and laws and then not to respect it. So, what will happen if the Lokpal members become corrupt?! Already a member, Kapil Sibal, find that there was no loss to the government in issuing license for cell phone. To remove corruption completely from India, we should find a Prime Minister like ex-PM of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yeu or ex-President of Korea, Kim, etc. A PM, who is educated, sincere, strict, disciplined, modern and above all someone who really love his country. For the time being I don't find any in the present bunch of politicians!

    To Sunny Grewal #16, In India the cellphone users are very high because there are more than a billion Indians in this world. But if you consider it in percentage then it is very low! If you like to read the experiences of Indians facing the corruption, visit the website ipaidabribe.com

 

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