A Brief History of Corruption in India


No, this piece has nothing to do with time a la Hawking. Actually, it begins in the middle-eighties of the last century. That was when the novelist, Ann Tyler (famous for The Accidental Tourist) published a not so short story in some magazine. Neither do I remember the name of the magazine, nor the title of the story. What I distinctly recall that I was overwhelmed by its content, and wanted to write about my experience. Firstly, the protagonist was like me an engineer in middle-forties, married with two daughters; secondly, he also had (like me) reasons to be grateful to the organization he worked in, for the benefits and rewards given to him; and thirdly he let go the job for what he regarded as a blatant instance of corruption, favoritism…call it what you will. Apparently, he was bypassed for a higher post which was given to a colleague of his. That perceived injustice cut him up so much that not only he quit the job, but also made inconsequential claims of great service to the organization. A performance which he regarded as an example of shining loyalty. Ah! I told myself, I will write all this in my deathless prose, setting on fire the waters of Ganga, Bramhaputra, Thames, Godavari, Tigris, Subarnarekha, Charles,…Rivers, I have crossed and re-crossed one time or the other. Then, I heard the voice of reason. Actually, it was from a Nobel Laureate-to-be, a confirmed India and everything-baiter, advising aspiring writers to distance themselves from the events they described by about 25 years. Bidya (Learning) was not pulling punches while distributing gyan (knowledge). So, I have to postpone narration of the awesomest, biggest and crudest story of injustice (in my lights) ever told until today. But, then, why now? Rupees 176000 crores telework embezzlement (can you guess how many zeroes are there! 10), Money-loot fest competition in Common Wealth Games, Dentist couple suspected of murdering daughter, and to top it all, whisper of disproportionate wealth creation by ex-Chief Justice of India and family. The cloyingly sweet and putrid smell of corruption invigorated me to no end. Before proceeding further, let us consider one of the strongest pillars (there are many) holding up the Government of Bharat aka India. It is called seniority, not necessarily by age. Thus, a relatively young entrant in a position higher than the one in which an older person works is senior to the latter. Naturally, the senior gets more money, say 18k as opposed to the other’s 16k and that entitles him to fly around for inspections and such while the minion takes a train. All other things being equal, these are the two life and death questions to be taken into account while filling up the post of a HOD, at least so I thought. Imagine therefore my surprise when a person named Pakil, fitting the description of the minion above, comes to supervise my work as hod! The irony is poignant because just a few months ago, the self-same Pakil requested me to recommend him for Associate Member of the Boston-based Society of Fire Protection Engineers, of which I was a member. My blood boiled, thunders crashed and howling winds of rage told me not to take the matters lying down. Pakil, a nincompoop was of no consequence. A little before this, he was charged of wrongdoing when he touched the feet of the enquiry officer and wept, the standard Indian method of asking for forgiveness, immortalized in no less than hundred times in Bollywood movies. Pakil deserved nothing but my contempt. No, the villains were others: Gadhilal Hahs, Poe-faced Tequila and Barabazar Ginka. The first was the pointsman of my employer traffic advisory committee; the second a dalal from insurance to the committee and the third was the head honcho of the main committee. My resignation letter was a protest, a fulmination and promised revenge from quarters not quite unknown to them, in the hope that they would reverse their decision. Nothing worked, Barabazar nodded, Tequila consented and Gadhilal wrote that I should go. In TV soaps, the passage of time is indicated as “Some Time Later”. So it was in my opera, the Nemesis was known as the Central Bureau of Investigation. They found that the bandicoots had been up to a lot of mischief. Thus, Gadhilal was demoted as general manager in charge of stationery (envelopes and the like). Tequila became CMD and then retired only to find that his savings had been forfeited. Ginka’s punishment was severest, he had to go back to his family business in Barabazar. Ah! Sweet Revenge!! But Pakil became a multi-millionaire by touching many more feet. He is now believed to be the Pedicure King of Mumbai.

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About chepeyja

chartered engineer(India), B.Sc., risk management consultant, blogger and layabout!
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One Response to A Brief History of Corruption in India

  1. Asthma Action Plans
    I was searching for this another day. i dont commonly post in community forums but i desired to say thanks!Cat and Asthma

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