We are all corrupt

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June 21st, 2011 Nayanima Basu

Remember that comedy of the 1980s Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron? While it evoked a great deal of laughter, there was a not-so-subtle message in  it as well — the very people we invest our faith in can be the ones who let us down badly. In the movie, that role of the so-called custodian of morality who succumbed to the lure of money was very ably portrayed by the late Bhakti Barve.

Fast-forward to the present times. I just couldn’t contain my amusement while simultaneously feeling sorry for what has become of our country. Like everyone else, I too want corruption to be eliminated from society once and for all. The question is, who is to be the torchbearer in the war against graft. Godmen or so-called Gandhians?  I am not convinced.

The Lok Pal Bill entails creation of an ombudsman who would, if Anna Hazare and his ilk have their way, have the power to question the Prime Minister of the country. And that ombudsman would be an academician, a scholar, a professor, just about anyone who commands respect in society. But there is a small problem here — who is to guarantee that newly-appointed keeper of the is himself corruption-free and has always done things legally?

It was different under British rule. At that time, we were up against a foreign power and there was a common thread called nationality that bonded people together and sacrifice their lives for the nation. Today we are fighting our own. And we don’t really know who the enemy is.

I have a bigger issue here: Aren’t we ourselves the enemy? If we are truly concerned about eliminating corruption and poverty, we could start by discouraging such practices individually. We could, for instance, contribute in our own little way by not bribing the passport officer to obtain the document or join an illegal driving school that promises to issue a valid driving license even before you learn how to hold the steering wheel.

The RTI Act has been around for a while. How many people you know have used it for genuine purposes? And how many genuine people really know how to file an RTI application? A colleague from Mumbai tells me he took a dip-stick and asked 10 fellow journalists knew how to file an application. Surprise, surprise… just one of the ten respondents knew, and that too because her father had literally made a hobby out of using the RTI as a weapon.

Call me a die-hard cynic, but I figure it will be the same with Lok Pal. There will be give-and-take, and while there will be celebrations galore once the PM comes under the ambit of the Lok Pal — IF at all he comes under its ambit — elimination of corrruption will remain a pipe dream if the ombudsman does another Bhakti Barve on us. Another question here. How will the ombudsman be chosen — and by whom?


This one is for you Babaji? If you were truly serious about your mission, you could have made your point by fasting in Haridwar itself. You had the media at your command, surely your campaign wouldnt have gone unnoticed. But since you decided a Chalo Dilli would be more effective, all you had to do was to court arrest when the cops came to Ramlila Grounds. Your running away from there and donning the garb of a woman only displays a lack of conviction in your crusade. Jai Ho.

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14 Responses to “We are all corrupt”

  1. Gupta Says:

    What u said is absolutely ture…. ” We are all corrupt”. Definitely self realization is required. A coomon man is paying the bribe to fulfil his basic needs or to get the services which he should get.. which(to get the service) is his basic right….
    But these politicins/white collared ppl are taking bribes to provide the servies …which is their duty …. for which they are being paid…..
    what a pathetic situation….

  2. nandini Says:

    Sorry Nayanima Basu,
    Most indians are not going to fall for ur catchy headline .
    we are all corrupt.
    Most people are salaried people, people on the fringes, day wagers, laborers, farmers etc if u consider the population of this country ARE NOT CORRUPT

    Yes bureaucrats, politicians, businessmen, crony capitalists and media houses and media persons (who get flats and subsidized housing under prime minister chief minister quotas) who have an agenda or who sell space , some in the higher judiciary of our crumbling justice system may be corrupt , some ngos may be corrupt, people in slums or vote banks may be corrupt that too because of desperation and lack of options
    finally u may be corrupt or egalitarian ,,,

    But please statistically they are neither the aam admi or general population.
    Jane bhi do yaroon shows that the innocent small man is always the fall guy… and it still is relevent …

    and yes corruption to get a legitimate work done is speed money not corruption again in desperation,,,

    Jane bhi do yaroon talked about the sad state of the indian democracy or might i say crony capitalist state, that media has a big hand in promoting .. India fails in journalistic standards and management and marketing always dicatates edit, sits on the editors desks and even gets a padma bhushan on recommendation of lady sonia!

  3. Shaan Says:

    Lokpal is just a small step in the long walk to check corruption in India. We may all be corrupt, but thieves who steal a roti or a vegetable and thieves who steal hundreds of thousands of crores are not equal. Please don’t deflect public attention from the current issue which is the large scale of corruption by elements of the current government. We can do introspection on our own roles when the scale of corruption by the government is reduced at least to hundreds of crores from the current scale of hundreds of thousands of crores.

  4. babu Says:

    these responses are also from honest hearts. congratulations

  5. Diya Says:

    I think please get little deeper than scratching the surface. Lokpal Panel never claimed that the enactment of the Lokpal alone will eradicate corruption, it is a step forward in the journey to transform. The Lokpal Bill is formulated by a panel of experts - who have understanding of the legal system- the law of the land- the socio-economic system of the country and they have spelt the details of the appointment,etc in the bill. Please do not question the people who are making an effort. ….no body is claiming perfection but only an evolution to a better world….all the loopholes can never be plugged at one go, its a process….

  6. sonia Says:

    Most Indians are honest - it is dishonest to call all Indians dishonest. Most of us lead our lives without paying bribes.

  7. bharat Says:

    This is dishonest thinking - we are all dishonest and so we should do nothing when the powerful and connected and people in high places loot a major chunk of the nation’s GDP in the name of policy/subsidy/whatever name you call it.

    It is time we came up with strict rules and enforcement to punish the white-collar criminals who loot even when they are paid handsomely and live off the rest of us.

    Why should the PM be not accountable - we have the case of Rajiv Gandhi with a massive majority who helped his and his wife’s friends steel millions in Bofors.

  8. sb Says:

    The nexus of bad forces will stale the countries engines & one day true intellicuals would be called a fraud. It high time the intelligent people of the society get these people rid out of their minds. We need a fair society & not a more corrupt country…I agree to what you have written.

  9. Shabbir Says:

    Very true. The point u raised is valid. One should first look at oneself and try to purify one’s sould. Then automatically corruption will be eliminated from our society…Hats off to u Ms Basu!!!!

  10. babu Says:

    once a while atleast one person is telling the truth. India has good future because atleast one person is telling the truth. congratulations and God bless you

  11. uknown Says:

    I completely disagree. If one pays a “bribe” for getting an “eligible” work done, one is not corrupt. It is a harassment as one has to spend his own “money” for an eligible work. If one does not pay bribe, the harassment would be much higher. By paying bribe, one chooses a less harassment option.

    And why one has to pay bribe? Because Indian laws and rules supports corruption. Where the laws are corrupt, and law makers are corrupt, one is left with hardly any choice but to pay “bribe” and get going!!!

  12. Rajiv Says:

    Correct to a great extent. Its a vicious circle, there is no end no beginning as far as corrpution is concerned. Corruption suits everbody right from top to bottom, its just another system running parallel, like the Mafiosi, its highly organised, structured and very professionaly run set up. it is almost tangible, u could see it happening all around like a gaint indestructible monster. We are so used to it that it has become a necessary evil for everything to move forward—right from collecting the birth certificate to getting the death certificate u have to pay up to the ugly Indian, it is not the new normal but a continuity of an order created by the favourite flogging boys–the politicians and their lackeys the police and other hangers on who have been created by the ruling class to perpetuate their regime–a kind of legacy from the British to a some extent.
    The solution–absolutely not a single one for such a huge problem. Corruption I repeat is a system which has to be removed not in one stroke but through a a sweeping change to be drawn from the ranks of the young and the restless–a change that has to counter this culture of corruption that has become so embedded in our hearts and soul.The change begins with you—

  13. unknown Says:

    i fully agree .but fraud- whom some people call baba-ramdev is more corrupt than any body else.I wonder why he is not arrested so for.such cheat should be hanged in public.

  14. Harish Kumar Says:

    I fully agree. Every Indian Citizen is responsible for the present scenerio. Self realization is required. Purification of Indian souls is required.


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