Below you will find an analysis of bribes paid in lakhs in major cities. Now this is from the website www.ipaidabribe.com
In the first instance the statistics present a skewed picture showing Bangalore to be the most corrupt. This maybe true, but what it doesn’t bring out is the sample size. Bangalore has always been a middle class, educated city … thanks to Nehru’s socialism. Five major public sector firms were started in the 50’s and the current IT euphoria and progress can be attributed to generations of middle class educated living there.
I refuse to believe lower levels in Mumbai, Delhi or Calcutta. They have greater populations, it is just that they are not reported or captured in the statistics. Education therefore remains the key to managing corruption and not an andolan of sorts.
Imagine that there is no power associated with politicians only with politics. That means no privileges, a salary, and uprightness. It is not hard to do it because in many parts of the world politics are not necessarily vehicles to power and wealth. There is power, but not in a direct sense. Power is derived by the popular actions a politician wishes to undertake. Transparency has a very high role to play. Power with in a context, is perceived in a medieval sense. It is displayed and paraded. It is partly because of the lack of uniform education, that keeps public civic sense at a low or that a change is not possible. Everywhere we have the symbols of power. Power represents fear, more than respect. In a society that respects power through its direct representation, it has to be visible. Kings and royalty had to parade themselves on high elephants to reinforce their authority. Aloofness and granting of audiences was another aspect of power. Power was derived from the Gods and royalty that was deemed superior.
Religion will be a very hard route to take and education and civil law will be the next best choice. In some ways, religion has failed in many parts of the world and therefore there is more evenness in the power matrix. It is after religious wars, persecution, terrible conflicts, ethnic cleansing, ideological conflict that instruments such as the Treaty of Versailles and the Westphalia theory emerged. It took hanging of petty criminals at the market place over centuries to have laws that people respect. The apparent peace is the result of years of conflict and the power dimension through any other means is simply not a good choice.
Do we have to go through the violence, bloodshed, and hanging to come to an amicable low corruption society?
In the Indian context, there is corruption everywhere, with some exception. We can cut but not end it. Will this be the provocative question for the next decade, or will it be education and eradication of poverty?
I invite you to write your comments and thoughts.