Corruption in daily life

Coming from India, I know first hand what corruption is and what it does to people on both sides.

Corruption can take many forms – taking bribes, altered integrity, mental corruption, etc. Taking bribes is the most common form. In India, corruption abounds as I used to know it when I left it 14 years back. One reason I left India is I was sick of living in a corrupt place. The films tell the story and of course, the politicians will vehemently deny it. There is usually no case against a politician for corruption, at least when I left the country.

One story goes that one chief minister of Karnataka, there was an organized racket of money collecting from contractors. One story I heard was that every week, contractors would load the trunk of his Ambassador car with cash for delivery. This is just one such ‘load’. No wonder, that CM amassed a lot of wealth in his period as CM. But who knows how much? This CM is known to have broken records of money-amassing of any former CMs.

In the case of a state minister turned national politician, stories are that in a short amount of time, he had bought almost all of the land in and around Banashankari II and III stage. His children are known to have commercial buildings worth at least a few Billion dollars (yes, dollars).

Jeffrey Archer (himself corrupt in a way) had a short story where a Swiss banker is approached by a Nigerian politician. The politician asks for the names of all the people in his government who have deposits in the bank. The Banker refuses. Even after much goading and pressure, the banker doesn’t squeal. Finally, he is at gun point and he doesn’t relent. At this time, the politician opens a briefcase full of cash and asks him to deposit in the bank; the banker had gained his trust! While not relevant, the short story tells how corruption works.

A friend of mine who was failing miserably in his education, somehow managed to get a junior engineer’s job in the Public Works Department. I remember him saying that he doesn’t even has to ask for the money. Every money about 50 grand would be deposited in his office as cash. That was his take for being part of the organization. This was in the late 80s, and 50g would have meant a lot of money. One colleague in my first job who couldn’t cope up with the pressure took a job in the PWD with the influence of a family member paying 600grand as bribe. He had said he would make up the money in less than an year! Being a government official was a sure-fire way to lead a better life. Even a police constable would own a fancy house while a hard-working school teacher, who would earn pretty much the same, would struggle to make ends meet. The pay of Govt. officials was pitiable in those days and definitely was one reason for the rampant corruption.

No wonder, public administration is not effective. The cause of the public good is unknown or unheeded. Hope that has changed now or at least improved.

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