Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Blame it on us

Predictably, our media has started writing the same thing in droves — that it is people like us who are to be blamed for corruption. Either it is in our genes — we are like that only — or because I paid a  bribe.

By showing the public that we are all corrupt, right from bribing at a Government office to IPL spot-fixing — where cricketers are corrupt (and by extension, the gilli danda team of our apartment complex as well) – and the corporates (see Ranbaxy), slowly, we are being primed to believe that this current (and previous) Central Government’s corruption to the core is a perfectly Indian thing. As normal as scratching an itch. Sorry for the long sentence. I don’t get paid by the word unlike some who can do verbal gymnastics. So here is what I am saying.

The media has long maintained that corruption is not an electoral issue. Because, if they did, they would be handing it on a platter to the one person who has shown the way with clean, uncorrupt governance devoid of personal agendas. The same goes for others in the same party who are providing great governance in many States — Goa and Madhya Pradesh two among them. Whereas all Congress Governments have proved to be corrupt (read this on Andhra) or incompetent (the way Maharashtra is handling its drought) or both. So, corruption cannot be bandied about as an electoral issue.

There is a second part to this. Watch how the Government doles out ads to media (there is a pecking order here as well) – the equivalent of NREGA for the people. News channels need to do nothing different than what they have always done. Be nice to the powers that be and you will get ads. Else you are screwed – no ads for you. Newspapers and media need ads to pay for their staff, right? Certain media luminaries have been caught fixing, lobbying, running companies to get sports event-related contracts and so on. Remember corruption is a non-issue here, because if it were an issue, the chickens would come home to roost. Remember the Congress’s social media budget of a 100 crores? Here is where it will go – eventually.
Even the media monkey which jiggles to the Government’s ad coins does not have a conflict of interest. But those on social media – they tell you do. Yes, those who pay for the Internet from their own pockets, mostly pay their taxes and their bills on time and the only red light in their vehicles is the brake light – are supposedly paid – the media tells you this. Because, well, the media depends on the Government for its doles and they are part of the massive politico-media complex in India. They are paid to tell you precisely this.

What better way to prove this than by telling us, the illiterate, unwashed masses that corruption is in our (soon the scope of this allegation will narrow down to one religion) genes. Therefore, if the Government is swallowing money and the son-in-law is buying land at cheap prices, it is all your fault that your bribed the guy who got your stamp papers franked faster. They never tire of telling you that it is you who is corrupt, that it is we who are corrupt and our palm-greasing politicians are just an extension of us. If you remember, there were (and continue to be) quite a few tweets (notably by one particular media diva) and articles on this theme saying that only those who have never paid a bribe must raise a finger against corruption. She was rightly taken down.

(So, how come some people are still honest and ethical? Remnants of the fictitious Aryan Invasion probably…)

Now come the newer elements to this story – to make an even more compelling argument to let corrupt Governments be — corporate and the cricketers.

The IPL spot-fixing story may be a big thing in the news these days – but did we forget that a few big names of Indian cricket were banned for something similar a few years ago. One of those worthies is a politician today. That betting exists in cricket is an open secret. But that even cricketers are corrupt is the new tune being played today. As usual, a few scapegoats and disposable diapers will be nailed, booked and tortured till they tell the convenient truth that they and they alone operated the racket and the big ones escape.

Ditto the Ranbaxy scandal, where they are telling you that the corporates are also corrupt. Those selfsame corporate organisations where many of us work. The banks where we put our money are also corrupt (yes, remember that one which, despite the best efforts, did not find too much publicity or outrage).

Therefore I really should not be concerned if a politician or his family makes a few gazillion and stash it away somewhere. I should not be concerned if a son-in-law uses his family’s influence to do things that are patently unethical if not illegal. I should not be concerned with clean governance at all actually.

Net net, here is how it works. The Government makes money, doles it to the media as ads and they keep quiet about the Government scams beyond a point and shout from the rooftops that the problem is elsewhere. Then dole schemes that are about as leakproof as a leaky bucket keep the middlemen happy. They have proved to you that cricketers are corrupt and the corporates are corrupt and you, the common man, are corrupt anyway because you paid a bribe in 1983. Therefore, corruption is not an election issue, the media and the middlemen tell you. How convenient.

Very soon, we will see articles that tell us how a little corruption is actually good for the country and people.

(Weblished last night @niticentral)

1 comment:

Ruminating Optimist said...

Why do we always blame just the Government for corruption. There are places where not bribing is in our hands. But we do not avoid that, right? An acquaitance of mine, at the age of 60+, shamelessly goes ahead and bribes small sums of money for the work he needs to get done on a daily basis. And he says, if I do not do that, my work will not be done. It is we the citizens who by making such lame excuses make the Government corrupt. The same shameless person while running his corrupt business from his home, claims the entire electricity bill, the AC's in all the rooms, even the washing machine and the dish washer as business expenses, and goes about blaming the Government.