Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My Corrupt Confession, in words

Short synopses of three current news stories that are doing the national rounds even as I write this:
(1)    The organization of the XIX Commonwealth Games, to be held in less than two months from today in New Delhi, is mired in controversy regarding international money transfers being made by local government agencies responsible for the provision of infrastructure for the Games, to overseas companies that don’t seem to exist.
(2)    The Revenue and Tourism Ministers of the current Government of Karnataka together own iron ore mines that have a turnover of over Rs. 1200 crores.
(3)    Local elected councilors in the city of Bangalore are up in arms over the currently active online (and transparent) bidding process for the awarding of government project contracts to contractors for any project greater than Rs. 10 lakhs. Their joint statement, across party lines, expresses concern that they will not be in touch with the projects undertaken and, by extension, the contractors responsible for them.

Corruption in public life is endemic – this seems like the typical cynical statement for the times we live in, couched in language that is vaguely academic and even somewhat pedantic.

I live in a world where people with no ethics thrive – a statement that seeks, this time, to instill an objection to the reality it refers to and perhaps even excuse it as being inevitable.

I have had no recourse but to sometimes bribe my way out of a headache when dealing with public officials – a statement that is clearly an admission of guilt couched in a reference to a powerlessness that is naturally a non sequitur to the uninitiated.

If I did not take it, someone else would have… and then what – a statement made by a person caught in the act, maybe? Or even something we in the middle class might have said when it came to getting our driving licenses, voter IDs, gas connections, college admissions and even job placements?

I will not stand for it – possibly the most uttered statement of all when it comes to a reference to corruption; a statement that is at once a challenge, a demand and a verbal stand forcefully being taken, the consequences be damned.

What about these –
It makes life easier,
Just grow up,
If you have a problem then why don’t you move on out of here?,
We are like this only,
Don’t focus on only the bad things all the time,
Stop playing to the gallery,
Get off your ass and do something about it,
What to do?,
They will be punished one day,
Karma begets karma.

Shakespeare, as usual, will have the last laugh –

Nay, but to live
In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed,
Stew’d in corruption, honeying and making love
Over the nasty sty
Hamlet (III, iv)

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