The bizarre drama of the intriguingly named Anna Hazare saga reached its climax on Saturday 9th when the government of India, in Delhi seemed to have caved into the demands of the lone Crusader against corruption. Maybe they will make a Goondawood movie about this event, staring .........Dev Anand as Hazare, in his native RSS/Siv Sena Maharashtra........singing and dancing of course with Modi of Gujarat who he has endorsed; Poor lad, educates himself for a few years, joins army, finds Nirvana at war in 1965, and public service finally......overcoming the sheer bloated corrupted government of the Congress Party, through his lone efforts.
That's the Fairy Tale, but what really happened?
Congress is rudderless, with a geriatric leadership under ManMohan Singh, and now into its second term is on the defensive...OBVIOUSLY.
The Ardash scam, the 2G scam, the Commonwealth Games scam's, Military Golf Course scam's, and the sudden discovery that there are between $500--1,500 billion looted from impoverished India by the corrupted elite lying idle in Swiss Bank accounts alone .....has correctly generated public anger. (70 tax havens around the world, excluding the UK and USA....otherwise 2 favorite destinations of South Asia's assets by the corrupted governing post-colonial elite from Bangladesh to Pakistan)
PM Singh is a weak front for Sonia, the real back seat driver who herself is wholly uneducated, not holding a single under grad degree, but is the unofficial leader of the country simply because she is the wife of former PM Rajiv Gandhi, and through marriage she belongs to that famous dynasty. Clearly Congress is insecure...as it should be.
India has 69 Billionaires.
The Congress Party has been in charge of the show for most of the 63.5 years of "Independence" run by the Macaulay Brown sahibs, so obviously they must take the greatest direct flak for the nations many woes. However what is sad is that in a Great Nation such as India, the government of such a great nation has to bow to the wishes of one man, and the blackmail tactics of a lone hunger striker.
That is not the way to run Great nations, and governments.
There are many levels of financial corruption:
(i) Corruption between individual citizens.
(ii) Petty corruption between government officials and civilians.
(iii) Big corruption cases involving powerful public figures in government and the private sector.
With the first and second, in developed countries, there is quite a lot of transparency which allows Joe public to seek redress if corruption is involved, usually through civil or criminal action. The neutral (a) state institutions, (b) effective governance, and (c) the rule of law is quite sufficient to prevent high levels of corruption in the first two cases, in Developed countries. Though there are variations between say Norway, New Zealand on the one exemplary end and Greece, Italy and Portugal at the other.
However in the instance of the third kind of financial corruption, the level of corruption is as great if not greater in Developed Countries as it is in any Third World country. But because the system of the nation state works, and the scamsters are more sophisticated, infiltrating governments and controlling them (USA/UK)......big corruption cases in First World countries, save a few (Enron/Bernie Madoff) don't really surface as they do in India.
Consider that London is the headquarters of the global narcotics trade and money laundering ($600 billion annually) with New York, since the days of the East India company over 200 years ago.
The Pentagon does not know what has happened to $3 trillion of its expenditure from 1990--2001. There is no audit, and "al-Qaeda" helpfully cruise missiled the single office of the Pentagon which was investigating the trail of this money in 9/11 2001.
Barak Obama, elected by Wall Street money has given corrupt, mismanaged Wall Street Banks trillions of $ to "Bail them out" of their own corrupt, deceptive, criminal practices.
The USA installs puppets in Third World Nations; pressurizes them to put ALL their nations money in American banks, and then topples them (Shah of Iran, where the USA is holding between $40-50 billion of the Shah's Iran assets, with interest)
Despite the above, the USA is still a successful country, with tremendous prosperity, and an economy of $15 trillion. The UK is still a successful country, with tremendous prosperity, and an economy of $2 trillion. What makes these two countries First World, and prosperous is the total absence of the first two kinds of corruption. Which also allows Indian expats to succeed into millionaires through sheer hard work, and business acumen in the USA and UK. The OVERALL system of the state works.
I do not condone the third category of big corruption, I abhor it. We must also remember that Germany and Japan are doing quite well, with huge economies, without the clear indication of running the third type of big league corruption cases, through the government and big business.
However major league corruption is not the crux of the problem for a Developing nation.
The main challenges are:
Transparent, effective state institutions.
Good strategic policies which are useful for the state in all spheres.
Effective leadership which articulates state policies to the state structure and the masses
China is successful not because the Communist Party is completely incorruptible, and there are no cases of major corruption in the country....quite the contrary. However the Communist Party in China is strong, is meritocratic and not based on dynasty politics....governance is effective...with effective top down state institutions...and finally good strategic policies for the state, which bears obvious fruit.
India by contrast is a mafia state, where the government is weak, epitomized by PM Singh, and the organized criminal elements strong (oil mafia, movie mafia, wheat mafia). Government operates on a minimalist basis, despite all the hue and cry, with the budget accounting for about barely 20% of the official GDP.....and far less of the real GDP ($4 trillion).
Indian Government institutions are corrupt, colonial era and ineffective---they don't do their jobs that well, thus obviously governance is very weak. Finally most government policies are inappropriate for the strategic development of the country, but instead is a mixer of bandage wrapping and hole plugging adhoc policies depending on the publicity that is generated by the "popular" Westernized media (TOI, Hindustan Times, Anglicized TV channels).....Indian governments are shallow, and inactive.
However trying to hold hunger strikes against such deep institutional problems is not going to be easy, trying to galvanize the public at the same time.
How do you hunger strike against a corrupt MOD, which thirsts for foreign arms purchases, which affords huge kickbacks for the netas and babus involved, but compromises India's strategic defense policies?
How do you you hunger strike against a corrupt worthless MEA, which does not know how to pursue India's external interests even in its back yard?
How do you detect ALL the spies working within the state structure for foreign governments for money? (Mitrokin papers reveal to us that most of Indira's cabinet worked for the KGB, whilst a few worked for the CIA).....who works for India and its poor people?
Hunger strikes against corruption is noble, and gauges audiences in India. The poor man with no money has some satisfaction against the man with too much money. But the focus and meditation in Civil society action must ultimately focus on how to improve GOVERNANCE, EFFECTIVE STATE INSTITUTIONS, GOOD STRATEGIC POLICIES OF THE STATE, and finally GOOD LEADERSHIP WORKING WITHIN EFFECTIVE PARTIES, which are not paid for and run by International bankers and their agenda's in the West.
But have I not stated quite clearly in previous blogs that corruption is the number one enemy of Developing countries? Yes it indeed is, but the question is how do you go about tackling it which makes the overall system of the state more effective?
I just don't think having a ten man committee (including 5 heavy government political insiders with a lot of experience dodging the ball).....with no lawyers with experience with complex corruption cases, or no clean honest untainted senior police officers again with experience with financial corruption will have the clear capacity to tackle the huge area of "CORRUPTION IN INDIA"......but instead will react to media stories, and exposes by journalists, piecemeal.
I'm not sure you can get rid of corruption in such a huge impoverished state.
In that scenario, it will be more effective if the informed and concerned section of Indian society focus on making India work more effectively as a state and society of 1.2 billion by improving governance bit by bit, state institutions through reform....bringing them into the 21st century through investment, reform, training (police)...developing better national strategic policies.......these things are doable, step by step, through strong leadership.
.....HOWEVER erasing the 3 categories of corruption mentioned above is near impossible in impoverished India. Certainly a peoples Lokpal will be a political football with too little resources, time, and energy to deal with the huge area of "corruption in India".....even though it may check hopefully the open season corruption in Indian politics. (Commonwealth Games scam, on going defense contract scam's since the 1960's from the day's of Indira Gandhi, indeed all government contracts scrutinized)....and corruption in the States.
By V Raghunathan in the TOI blog
In my last post, I argued why we cannot accept corruption as tolerable in some fields but not tolerable in others. I also argued that tolerating corruption in any segment of a society ultimately leads to its encroaching every nook and cranny of the society, and the situation culminates in corruption and un-patriotism merging into one another.
Since I posted that blog, I came across this interesting little news heading tucked away in the interior pages of a news paper: Defence contract: Dassault executive accused of bribery. The news item went on to explain that the ‘Indian Air Force has put on hold its dealings with the country manager of French defence firm Dassault Aviation for his role in the bribery scandal during the Aero India show in Bangalore’.
Exactly what was the role this manager played in the bribery scandal? It turns out that a Wing Commander of Indian Air Force, in charge of allotting parking spots for the aircrafts going on show demanded Rs 20,000 for allotting a preferred spot. An official premium for a preferred slot would have been understandable; but a personal consideration? Apparently this gentleman paid the sum, but took his complaint to the higher ups in Air Force, where upon the gentleman was accused of being involved in bribery and black listed, while the officer concerned wasn’t; or if he was, the news paper did not say so! Insiders tell us stories of how even preferred timings of demonstration flights have their ‘rates’!
Now is this your plain vanilla corruption of the usual business man variety or it something else? Air shows are meant for civilian and military aircrafts manufacturers alike to show case their wares. A wrong choice of the aircraft because it was not given a due slot could compromise the lives of passengers if the aircraft is civilian, and compromise national security if the aircraft in question was a military one. See what I mean about corruption and un-patriotism being inter-linked?
From all reckoning it does appear that the cup of corruption has indeed been overflowing in this country for some time now. A great majority of the so-called political leaders, the pilots, the air force brass, the army brass, the naval brass, the babus, the cops, the businessmen, the industrialists, the university professors on accreditation duties, the railway ticket collectors, the peons outside government offices, the lawyers, the judges, the journos, the doctors, the traders, the engineers, the contractors – apparently none of these groups can claim to be relatively more clean than the other. It is as if most of them fancy themselves a BSF Jawan on ceremonial retreat at Wagah border bent on outdoing the other. It is time when not just the politicians, but all of us as citizens need to look deep into ourselves as to whether or not we are corrupt.
After all the everyday graft seekers aren’t necessarily politicians, though the chain of corruption does go all the way up in most cases.(Sonia and family)
That is why the gentle Anna Hazare undertaking fast-unto-death assumes significance. People like Anna Hazare are evolved souls not given to jumping the gun like many of us are wont to. It takes a lot of doing for their patience to be tested. It is hardly surprising that Anna Hazare regards the corrupt politicians entrusted with the task of drafting the anti-corruption law as akin to a bunch of thieves appointed to design our home security system, when the thieves are still loose! It may not be feasible for every citizen to make a beeline to Delhi. (Tahrir Square in New Delhi---with 10 million..why not?)
But all patriotic and right thinking citizens of the country must provide every conceivable support to Anna Hazare, as thousands upon thousands are already beginning to do; but we are a country of a billion plus – so there is room for more support. Perhaps after Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan’s call for sampoorna kranti, culminating in Delhi’s Ramlila Grounds with evocative chants of Singhasan Khaali Karo Ke Janata Aaati Hai renting the air by a crowd of some 100,000 strong in 1975, Anna’s fast may be the next most significant mass movement in modern India yet.