Babas, gurus abound
Re: “Modi’s big gamble”, (Editorial, Sept 3).
There is no doubt that demonetisation in India was done with good intentions to suppress the parallel black economy, money laundering and corruption. Just like in Thailand, corruption has become an integral part of Indian society and governance. A few years ago, the Supreme Court in India said: “Nothing moves without money.” It has expressed concerns over growing corruption in government machinery, particularly in the income tax, sales tax and excise departments. During the past seven decades of experimentation with democracy, corruption has become a way of life, a part of tradition, culture and governance. When political parties spend billions of rupees to get their candidates elected it should be quite natural to expect that these parties and candidates will do everything to recover their return on their investment. Hence, rampant corruption is the only way to recover the money or make some profit. In a recent Transparency International report, India was found to be more corrupt than Vietnam, Thailand, Pakistan and Myanmar. Vietnam turned out to be the second-most corrupt country in Asia with a 65% bribery rate. Thailand showed a 41% bribery rate whereas Pakistan had a 40% bribery rates.
The deterioration of Indian democracy does not require a war with China or Pakistan. It only requires further degradation of values in Indian society. In India, most politicians, monks, bureaucrats, babas and gurus are drenched in black money. The lack of checks and balances, nepotism, cronyism, corruption and blind faith in babas and gurus will continue to undermine India’s efforts to find its place on the world stage.