The (Indian) media was ecstatic that the “per capita income” of Indians for the first time crossed the Rs 50,000-mark in 2010-11! The “average” Indian was earning about $1000 per year (before Taxes). This should be very reassuring to Balraj, our contracted choukidar (Security Guard), as he collects his monthly gross salary of Rs. 5000/-. But, to his “average Indian” relatives living on the poverty line in the village or communal slums embellishing the city gutter, a thousand dollar income is a distant dream, and Balraj is looked up to as somewhat of a prosperous hero.
But even for people like Balraj who’re on a fixed income of Rs. 5000/- (US $100), how can one be reasonably expected to support a growing family of five, i.e., him, his pregnant wife, and three kids?
THE MEDIA LIES! Statistics are conjured up to deceive: there’s a conspicuous rift between creative computation and objective reality. Dividing the country’s national income by its population is no accurate reflection of its overall living conditions and quality of life. More importantly, when the base figure for the national income is in itself fallacious, all subsequent calculations would be nothing but illusory.
Consider this: The base national income is the DECLARED INCOME (also known as “White Money”). Now, who in his right senses would declare his “under the table” takings (i.e., “Black Money”). As we all know (or should know), it is this country’s Black Money that keeps us afloat in the turbulent world economy. It is Black Money that gives us buying power and, yes, STATUS!
The Winds of Change has subtly but with certainty reached our country. And we’re just ‘this close’ to having a hole blown thru’ it if we don’t watch where we’re going!
Look around you: There is nothing in the “outside world” that is not available right here in India; sometimes, at a lower price than elsewhere: state of the arts electronics, medical/diagnostic equipment, automobiles, fashion, entertainment, education, recreation, spirituality, debauchery, law, lawlessness … We’ve come to accept online shopping as a necessity rather than convenience! Currency is almost obsolete; we pay thru’ plastic. Heck, we’ve opened our doors to international retail super stores like Metro, Walmart, Carrefour , Tesco to compete in our lucrative retail market. (Of course there’s a real likelihood the international giants may have to “renegotiate” with the new government if the current UPA is replaced after the elections … But, so what? I’m sure the players were prepared for just such contingencies: “Flaunt your inaam; remain calm! It’ll go your way when you Grease their palms”).
Would this unofficial indicator of economic development been possible if we were to live within our legitimate income? Please Note: The term of reference. “WE” excludes the “average Indian” like Balraj and his slum-dwelling kin.
Let’s be realistic: An alternate, tax-free, undisclosed source of income is an absolutely essential prerequisite if we’re to enjoy an elevated standard of living; our revised national ethos being, “Live within your means even if you’re bribed to do so”.
It’s comforting to realize there isn’t a country in the world that could boast of being truly corruption free. Those naïve patriots who claim there’s no bribery in their nation, or dishonesty for personal gain are myopic. It may not be as evident at lower levels of their society, but it is most certainly there and flourishing amongst special interest groups way up the pinnacle of the pyramid – and in gigantic proportions!
As for our beloved India, and some other countries, where bribery and other fun forms of corruption are as commonplace as garam masala and coconut hair oil, corruption is everywhere but the dollar amounts involved are relatively diminutive. Whereas a cop in the US would throw your ass in jail if you attempted to bribe him, here in India, no self respecting cop will overlook an opportunity to be bribed; failing which, he will attempt extortion – even for a paltry Rs. 50/-.
Let’s face it: Corruption is an essential part of our cultural fabric. It would be tantamount to treason if genuine, determined attempts are made to root it out.
OK? So what about the ANTI-CORRUPTION BUREAU? Is it truthfully that which its name describes it to be?
The answer is an irrevocable, resolute, vociferous, straight-faced “YES”!
The ACB is the government’s elite enforcement wing, sort of like a Desi version of the Gestapo. It functions exclusively to keep in check police personnel and other government employees from freelancing for private profit. By “freelancing for private profit”, I mean surreptitiously sabotaging the healthy flow of gratuity, circumventing the established chain of command, and diverting it into one’s very own pocket!
The ACB boasts a formidable track record of netting in the little fish (who are, in any case, dispensable). This purports to represent a deterrent; to scare the “big fish” into compliance. It also serves as a venerable vehicle to launch vendettas on whomsoever you intend to have his livelihood fornicated with.
So much for the “little fish” and “big fish”. But what about those who truly matter? The predators – THE SHARKS?
Well, my dear friends, as every Desi cop learns one time or another in his career, “He who swims in the company of sharks will one day have his ass bitten! Stick to the pond; frogs are a lot friendlier (unless you happen to be a worm)!”
This brings us to Sri D.BOOBATHI BABU,IPS, Director General of AP State Anti Corruption Bureau – an unfortunate casualty in The “War” Against Corruption (which really isn’t a “war” per se, but more of a façade to appease the gullible public).
Anyway, Sri Boobathi turned out to be yet another renegade and an embarrassment to the IPS fraternity: Being principled and a thoroughly honest guy, he took his job seriously! He resolutely stood his ground when the government suggested he overlook certain improprieties perpetrated by the local, highly influential mafia; “improprieties” of embarrassment to the ruling Congress Party since its State Committee president Botsa Satyanarayana was identified as a prime involved suspect.
The powers that be decided on a wake-up call. They promoted and transferred Boobathi’s right-hand man Kothakota Srinivasa Reddy, IPS who, as Chief of Special Investigation Team, was performing an invasive proctoscopy into the liquor scam. Boobathi’s two nominees for the vacated post were overridden by the government appointing instead Sri C. Ravi Varma, IPS. Ravi also happens to be a competent, charismatic, “straight-up” kind of guy but, like most other veteran cops on upward mobility, he’d be gun-shy to engage Mister Government in a pissing contest!
Not to be outdone, Boobathi mothballs Varma to administrative duties with no enforcement power or role over investigations. Whereupon, Mister Government, in a decisive “Check – Mate” move, promotes and transfers Prasada Rao, IPS as Chief of the ACB – and Boobathi goes on long leave.
So, is there an outcry; at least a faint whimper from a community “outraged” by suspicious political interference in the workings of the ACB? Naaa! It’s “business as usual” (monkey-business?), and Boobathi happens to be just another garden variety, run o’ the mill, honest cop whose career has gone to (the?) dogs!
Last I heard since writing this Post, Sri Boobathi Babu, IPS succumbed to adverse transfer as Additional Director General of Railways Police: a complex assignment to keep coolies and Ticket Collectors honest. C. Ravi Varma, IPS got what he always wanted: a transfer as Deputy Commissioner of Cyberabad Police so he can finally kick some butt! And Mister Government got back what is rightfully theirs: a free hand with impunity!
Moral of The Story, Boys & Girls: Don’t rock the boat. Corruption has earned a privileged status in our society. We can’t live without it! This, our beloved Bharat, happens to be a true-to-life WONDERLAND where, thanks to the magic wand of corruption, anything is possible in India – if you have the bucks to back your play. Heck! Walk into court with the severed head of some unfortunate bastard who ran into your knife … and walk away with bail – then take your sweet time (like 20 years) to orchestrate an acquittal!
The fact of the matter is we’re being desensitized about something that’s very wrong … as though resignedly succumbing to a horrible disease; i.e., “getting used to it”!
This reminds me of the guy who goes to the doctor because he has a long, ugly wart growing on his forehead. The doctor examines it and says “Oh my god! You have a rare disease: In three days you’re going to have a full-sized penis growing out of your forehead!”
“WHAT?” says the man. “Well, cut the damn thing out!”
“I can’t,” says the doctor, “It’s attached to your brain; you’d die!”
“So you’re telling me,” says the man, “that in three days, when I get up in the morning and look in the mirror to shave, brush my teeth, comb my hair, I’m going to see a fat Dick sticking out of my forehead and staring right back at me?”
“Oh no! No! No! Don’t worry …”, assures the doc.”You won’t see anything. Your balls will cover your eyes!”
And that’s precisely what’s happening to us. We’re becoming blindfolded Dickheads! We’re being desensitized to the fact that corruption is illegal: It’s a crime, remember?
No! It used to be …!
© Copyright 2012. Carlisle Collins. Havepenwillwrite. All Rights Reserved.