I do not agree with Andre Béteille (“The flip side of fighting graft,” April 13). Corruption ranging from admissions to appointments and from public service to public welfare programmes has led to outrage and the movement against corruption. Since independence, people have become more aware of their rights, resulting in more adversarial attitudes. Corruption is a mammoth that needs to be attacked at the grassroots.
The root cause for the enormous growth of corruption in India is not the selfishness of a few politicians. It is when selfish bureaucrats join them that the damage is enormous. Of course, we have some honest and upright officials. If our country is to be liberated from corruption, the corrupt should be given harsh punishment. Guilty politicians and bureaucrats should be punished in public.
T. Anand Raj,
In the main, it is important to distinguish between the baby and the bathwater. In fighting corruption, we must be careful not to destroy the foundations of our democratic institutions. But this is easier said than done. To state my case, I must draw a contrast between corruption in India and the U.S., where I have lived. In the U.S., almost all corruption is at the very top, aided and abetted by law. The average American seldom meets the bakshishwallah in everyday life, and proceeds unhindered with normal life.
The life of an average Indian, on the other hand, is different. Failure to grease the palm in a timely manner may result in the misplacement of a relevant file in the inaction category. It could be the ration card, police verification for a passport, or even a licence. You are taught a severe lesson if you do not obey the unwritten, unstated, mysterious rules.
When I was a child, my grandfather used to tell me that India was a developing country. Then, my father told me that India was a developing country. Even today, India is a developing country. Similarly, India was, is and will be corrupt. Unless every individual understands that it is not only taking bribe but also giving bribe that is a crime, corruption will persist.