Tracing the Historical antecedents of corruption in India

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By Mr. Anthony Rodriguez
Bellevision Media Network

06 July 2011: Corruption in India is a cultural aspect. Indians seem to think nothing peculiar about corruption. It is everywhere. Indians tolerate corrupt individuals rather than correct them and remain supremely hypocritical about the discourse. No race can be congenitally corrupt. But can a race be corrupted by its culture?


A brief look at how a simple and fundamental system of living enshrined in its ancient scriptures, has metamorphosized through the practice of it, into one of the most decrepit mass of humanity in modern history, all in the name of a glorious culture.



How does a nation build its character, how does one stop this endemic rot, can such a nation be a leader in the world? Why is there such a paucity of leaders of moral stature and vision, in this vast populace? What does one need to do? To even contemplate that, one must understand why it is so, why the education system or family system cannot imbibe the simplest of disciplines, such as time, integrity, value of the individual, value of what one has, responsibility and other such basics, which are the bedrock of a civilized and progressive society?


At a time when the euphoria of "anti-corruption" seems to be sweeping the nation, for this "movement" to have real strength, one has to self reflect, to realize the stirrings that won them their independence from colonial rule in the first place.


To know why Indians are corrupt, look at their patterns and practices.


1. Religion:

Religion is transactional in India. Indians give God cash and anticipate an out-of-turn reward. Such a plea acknowledges that favours are needed for the undeserving. In the world outside the temple walls, such a transaction is named- "bribe". A wealthy Indian gives not cash to temples, but gold crowns and such baubles. His gifts cannot feed the poor. His pay-off is for God. He thinks it will be wasted if it goes to a needy man. In June 2009, The Hindu published a report of Karnataka minister G. Janardhan Reddy gifting a crown of gold and diamonds worth Rs 45 crore to Tirupati.  India’s temples collect so much that they don’t know what to do with it. Billions are gathering dust in temple vaults.



When Europeans came to India they built schools. When Indians go to Europe and USA, they build temples. Indians believe that if God accepts money for his favours, then nothing is wrong in doing the same thing. This is why Indians are so easily corruptible.


Indian culture accommodates such transactions morally. There is no real stigma.  The decayed moral fabric is starkly visible from the banal plains of the Punjab to the sordid wetlands of Bengal to the tip of peninsula, the people in the hill regions are more simplistic and self disciplined and one needs to ask why.


2. History:

Indian moral ambiguity towards corruption is visible in its history and they have failed to heed their own history. Indian history tells of the capture of cities and kingdoms after guards were paid off to open the gates, and commanders paid off to surrender. This is unique to India.


Indians’ corrupt nature has meant limited warfare on the subcontinent. It is striking how little Indians have actually fought compared to ancient Greece and modern Europe. The Turks’ battles with Nadir Shah were vicious and fought to the finish. In India fighting wasn’t needed, bribing was enough to see off armies.



Any invader willing to spend cash could brush aside India’s kings, no matter how many tens of thousands soldiers were in their infantry. Little resistance was given by the Indians at the Battle of Plassey. Clive paid off Mir Jaffar and all of Bengal folded to an army of 3,000. There was always a financial exchange to taking Indian forts. Golconda was captured in 1687 after the secret back door was left open. Mughals vanquished Marathas and Rajputs with nothing but bribes. The Raja of Srinagar gave up Dara Shukoh’s son,  Sulaiman to Aurangzeb after receiving a bribe. There are many cases where Indians participated on a large scale in treason due to bribery.


Question is: Why Indians have a transactional culture while other ’civilized’ nations don’t?


3. Social Order:

Indians do not believe in the theory that they all can rise if each of them behaves within certain simple disciplines and principals of life, because that is not the message of their faith. Their caste system separates them. They don’t believe that all men are equal. This resulted in their division and migration to other religions . Many Hindus started their own faith like Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism,  and many converted to Christianity and Islam. The result is that Indians don’t trust one another . There are no Indians in India ,there are Hindus ,Christians, Muslims and what not.


Indians forget that 400 years ago they all belonged to one faith. This division evolved an unhealthy culture. The inequality has resulted in a corrupt society,


In India everyone is thus against everyone else, except God ­ and even he must be bribed. To start a change, a discourse must begin, to accept what is wrong in this culture, not to take refuge in it. One only needs to read the vedic versus, the scriptures of Manu to realize what was meant to be and what has been allowed to become. The discourse must start within families, then within associate circles and workplace and hopefully, within a few generations, the inherent strength of the land mass called the subcontinent of India, may begin to rise.

(This article is forwarded by Mr. Oliver Quadros)



Comments on this Article
Rammohan, Puttur India Fri, July-8-2011, 8:13
A book called SOPRANO STATE byBob Ingle and Sandy Mclure, high llights the political corruption inNew Jersey and how tax payers money is swalloed by Politicians, even in a democratically far advanced country llike U S and shows corruption is rampant and party of our system
Melwyn D Souza, Dubai Wed, July-6-2011, 6:22
Bribing or corruption is become part of our life. For our comfort and easy life we are ready to bribe anybody at any level. This resulted in our democracy that "we have freedom without discipline". It is not easy to change peoples mind set. Of late it is become so worst that everyone wants to become rich within no time. This resulted in fast changing life style and inflation, increase crime rates and what not. Though it is difficult but it is not impossible that every citizen of India should take pledge against these bribing or corruption. Together we can make changes thus bring revolution in to our society for a better tomorrow.
Philip Mudartha, Qatar Tue, July-5-2011, 3:14
No matter how factually correct, the analysis fails to impress because of its own contradictions. Castes and classes are not unique Indians. Appeasing God and gods is not unique to Hindu. The social order born of religious divisions is not unique. It is folly to claim we alone are corrupt to the core, and civilized societies are not and, as a corollary, to imply that we aren't civilized. Most nations are corrupt; there are nations more corrupt than ours; there are nations with low corruption. Those who are less corrupt, have become so by intent, by a charter and not by accident, in their evolution as a community. There was no India and Indians a few decades ago. The colonial rule catalyzed the emergence of a pan-Indian nation out of a wobbly coalition of small feudal estates, struggling to define itself as an identity. While we anguish at the slow pace, caution: Rome was not built in a day. The renaissance, if we can call it, will take a few more generations, only if we keep the process going without getting lost on the way.
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