Babas, gu­rus abound

Bangkok Post - - WORLD -

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.

KULDEEP NAGI

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