Corruption is in our social DNA. How can we eliminate it and get better governance and rule of law?
Mohammad Mahmood Ali, a minister in the Telangana government was wondering why that poor victim of gang rape and murder in Telangana didn’t call the police and called her sister when she was in trouble. That explains a lot of things. Our police forces are not effective. Like they show in movies, they mostly land up after a crime is committed. They are reactive, not proactive. But our problems are not restricted to the kind of police forces our states deploy. We have great laws etched in stone. But we have a legal system that inspires criminals to commit heinous crimes with impunity. We have a society that has corruption embedded in its DNA and scant regard for the law of the land. We have a judicial system that’s lax and delivers judgments that take decades.
A friend of mine whose daughter was brilliant and scored 90’s in all her papers was failed in one paper because the evaluator was incompetent. I took a look at the paper and it was evident that the vice chancellor of the University and the registrars and the others who appointed him as an evaluator were all in cahoots and deserved to be sacked for sheer incompetence. But that never happens in our country. When my friend sent her paper for re-evaluation, she got as many marks and I found out they do that because the original evaluator gets sacked if he gave her better marks. These are the incompetent people protecting equally incompetent people. My friend eventually found out that he could get his kid passed by bribing some university officials.
This is only one instance. Go out on the roads in the morning and see the number of traffic violations that are happening on the road. There is always someone coming at you from the wrong lane. There is always someone carrying his wife and two kids on a two wheeler. Then you have the potholes and the dug up roads. All these show that we are a people who have scant regard for the rule of law. The reason why most of our institutions, whether they are our municipal bodies, government offices, our courts, our enforcers like the police and our judicial machinery have turned out the way they have is us. We are to blame for the way everything around us works. We created this mess called India and we thrive in the chaos we have created. Come to think of it, we allow criminal elements to flourish and we assure them that they can get away with rape and murder because we just don’t care. We elect incompetent morons to represent us in civic bodies, in many cases people with criminal records and we are content with the levels of governance we get, which is abysmal to say the least.
Come to think of it. What did we get in the form of a constitution? Ambedkar only recast the constitution that the British used to subjugate this subcontinent with. We also inherited the bureaucracy that the British used to rule us with. What we saw over the last 70 years is the emergence of a Kleptocracy that subjugated us further. The British made way for native thieves who found a way to exploit us further. They were able to do so because corruption was always in our DNA.
So how do we get rid of corruption out of our social DNA? How can we bring about governance and rule of law? How can we root out criminals?
India desperately needs a constitution that promotes equality, meritocracy and discipline in public life. We need to make it compulsory for every citizen to undergo two years of Army training before he or she takes up a job. Our police force should be modernized and trained to take proactive steps to prevent crime. Our judiciary needs to be overhauled so that criminals accused of heinous crimes don’t get a lifetime to plead their cases. But these things can happen only when we Indians collectively decide that these are the changes we want in the system and empower representatives who can deliver these to us.