Corrupt India: Can It Change?

For quite some time, the corruption news are in the headlines in the cover pages. Interestingly, every one denounces it. Sonia doesn’t want to tolerate it any more. Rahul, the prime minister in waiting suggests severe punishment for the corrupt. Even for Advani, the oldman speaks againt corruption as vexing issue. Judiciary also has been sermonizing against it very often. Should Indians who suffer, hope for the decline and ultimately end of corruption at least for getting even small things done?

Recently I went through the famous tale or joke on political corruption about the infamous former President Ferdinand Marcos of Philippines and the deposed dictator of Zaire, the late President Mobutu Sese Seko, and the homes the two presidents built.

President Mobutu visits Manila and is invited home for dinner by President Marcos. Mobutu is awe-struck and jealous of the palatial home that Marcos has built. “Where did you get the money to build this palace for yourself Mr. President,” Mobutu asks of Marcos.

Marcos takes him to a window and shows a massive bridge built across the river. “Do you see that bridge,” asks Marcos, “I got a loan of $100 million from the World Bank!” Yes, yes, yes, says Mobutu, but where has the President got the money for his palace, he asks. “10 per cent!” replies Marcos.

Few years later, President Marcos visits Zaire and President Mobutu is happy to invite him home for a meal. Marcos arrives bewildered at Mobutu’s huge palace. “Mr. President, where did you get the money from to build this palace,” asks Marcos of Mobutu.

Mobutu takes him to a window and shows him a bridge across a river. “Mr. President, I got a $100 million from the World Bank to build a bridge across that river.” True, true, Mr. President, says Marcos, “but I don’t see any bridge across the river?!” “Exactly!” says Mobutu, “a 100 per cent!”

I don’t know if it is true for Indian politicians. But the stories of riches of the family of the chiefs- be it of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka or UP, indicate that it is a prevalent practice. Nothing but a mass uprising can eliminate it. It requires education and social boycott. Unfortunately, the corrupt ones get elevation of status in present society.

Corruption might not be a trouble for the few at top of the pyramid in the society, but torturous for those below.

Can the media continue the fight against corruption till a permanent solution is set in? Can Nitish way of confiscating the property amassed be a solution and get emulated?

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