Saturday, March 29, 2014

How much Corruption is Tolerable?

Stability or Corruption?
               In this election if  choice before you is a Government promising stability backed by corrupt candidates and a corruption free government with questionable  stability, which will you vote for?
dr.james kottoor
    It is voting time! What does it mean? It means choosing between candidates, called public servants or Members of Parliament(MP), which some  expand as Members of Prison. When measured by corruption-free yard stick, candidates may be rated:  tolerable, good, better or best. What happens if those who present themselves are in the range of bad, worse, worst or abominable?
   In the first instance one may vote for the tolerable in the absence of anyone better. But a responsible citizen should never vote for any one in the second category. Nay he should use his negative vote to arrest them from winning. But the fact is all traditional parties are fielding corrupt, communal and criminal candidates (reportedly 30% criminal) and so barred according to election rules. Still they are fielded resorting to lame interpretations of the rule. They present themselves legally right, not morally. For them what matters is win-ability not uprightness or morality. In this group should come also dynastic candidates, those well connected to high and mighty, those with enormous money or muscle power?
  Besides this group must contain those who contest from two seats. It is equivalent to proposing to marry two ladies with the prior intention of cheating one. An MP is said to represent people in a defined locality called his constituency. One can’t paddle in two canoes at once. Such a person is driven solely by a selfish desire to ensure a seat to loot by hook or crook, not to represent or serve any one except him. Just an Instance.The New Man association of Ernakulam organized a two-hour meet-the-candidates gathering on March 27 with photos in notice of Congress, BJP and AAP representatives who promised to come. But none of them turned up. But the prominent citizens who came to see and listen took up the mike and gave enlightening assessment of the election scene and pointed to the event as an example of how politicians fool the public with election promise.
       Choose Corrupt, but Stable?
   But in this world none of us are perfect, argue some, and so we have to tolerate some amount of corruption to be practical, that is, to put up a stable durable government. So the new slogan reportedly by Kiren Bedi is: “Let us compromise on corruption for a stable India.” That is, the only choice left is either: a government  propped up by needed number of corrupt or a corruption-free government. So shall we opt to stay happy in a permanent hell rather than in an impossible heaven on earth?
  It may be very appealing for those who are habitually corrupt, for those who are in the rat race to make profit at any cost, for those who see end justifies any means, for those promoting the survival of the fittest, for those who worship the idol of money, not of truth, honesty and service to the less fortunate. Forget about all morality, principles or idealism? If so how is humanity going to be different from the animal world, from life in the jungle? How long can one live in an island of affluence in a sea of misery?
Is not poverty  anywhere a threat to prosperity everywhere, similarly ill health, illiteracy, homelessness, joblessness and all imaginable human deprivations and exploitations a threat to today’s interdependent, not any more independent,   world reduced to a global village due to instant connectivity? Will not a house divided against it crumble to pieces like the tower of Babel? Where then is stability for a home of affluence built on the quick sand of corruption?
Example of Luminaries
  Besides, only truth, love, compassion, selfless service and all such humane traits alone have the substance of survival in an imperfect world yearning and striving for perfection and unlimited happiness. Add to this the examples and teaching    of towering personalities of history like Gandiji, Narayana Guru, Vivekananda, Tagore, Mother Teresa, Nabi, Jesus, Bhudha, all of whom have contributed so much to make this world a more happy, harmonious home worth to live in. I for one, happen to be a follower of all of them though very distantly.
   Finally one has to leap for the impossible even to reach the possible, dart for the stars to get away from the dirt under our feet. If we water down our long cherished ideals won’t we end up in a watery grave dashing to bits our dreams even for a stable corrupt system of government due to its internal contradictions?
  This is the topic Jug Suraya discusses in his article: Amoral India, published in Times of India, given below. I am inclined to agree with the Author. Perhaps it may help you readers to choose the right candidate to vote for or against.
 The choice before you may be a candidate, corrupt tolerably or intolerably. For me a government made stable by corrupt candidates is no choice at all. I can never vote for a candidate of Somnath Bharti fame either. He has really dented my original enthusiasm for his party, not destroyed it, because AAP alone seems to be the best bet among the worst lot, due to its transparency and efforts put in to field clean candidates.     
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Amoral India
   Jug Suraiya 25 March 2014 in Times of India
Hats off to Kiran Bedi. She's openly  said what a lot of people in the country might be thinking right now but can’t bring themselves to be upfront enough to put into so many words.

            Speaking to Times Now, the former police officer, who has made public her support for Narendra Modi as prime minister, said with reference to the BJP taking 'tainted' poll candidates into its fold: "Let's compromise on corruption for a stable India." This is refreshing – and surprising – candour from a luminary who was not long ago at the forefront of the anti-corruption movement launched by Anna Hazare and his then chela, Arvind Kejriwal.
Kiran Bedi's U-turn on the issue of corruption – which in effect says that if stability of governance is to come at the cost of moral compromise, so be it – is a rare and honest response to India’s ingrained culture of bribery and graft. Corruption has become endemic to the country, as has the hypocrisy that accompanies it. All of us – from netas to common citizens – publicly denounce corruption as the greatest besetting sin of our body politic, but privately we accept it as being part and parcel of our daily lives, almost as indispensable as the air we breathe and the food we eat.
After five years of UPA-II – a tenure which witnessed rampant corruption matched with not just policy paralysis but policy retrogression in matters like taxation with retrospective effect which scared off potential investors, both foreign and domestic – the country is in desperate need of not just political stability but also political efficacy. India wants not just a government that works, but also a government that will allow the innate spirit of Indian enterprise to work for itself as well..
This is widely felt to be not just a desirable end, but the only end that matters. And the means of attaining that end – as borne out by Kiran Bedi's statement, which a lot of her fellow citizens will endorse, if not explicitly then at least implicitly – don't matter very much at all
If morality is an obstacle to our achieving the necessary objective of having a stable, workable government then let’s dispense with morality, or at least dispense with the pretence that this commodity is capable of existing in our public life. The pre-poll political merry-go-round of which we have a ringside view, whereby candidates and would-be candidates switch from one party to another, shows that there is no longer any politics of ideology – if ever there was such a creature – but only the politics of expediency.
The newly-formed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) accuses the two mainstream parties – the Congress and BJP – of being indistinguishable from each other, like Tweedledum and Tweedledee, in that they both turn a blind eye to corruption.
A valid point. But how incorruptible is AAP iself? Arvind Kejriwal and his party members might well be free of the taint of bribery and graft. But to paraphrase an old saying, power corrupts and even a little power can corrupt little by little. AAP’s response – or lack of it – to its law minister’s midnight raid on African women in Delhi and Kejriwal’s threat to 'lock up' media reveals that the teflon party is not immune to the corrosive effect of corruption through power.
If everyone is more or less corrupt, corruption becomes a non-issue, as Bedi has pointed out. What’s important is 'good' — read 'effective' — governance.The total morality of Mohandas Gandhi's 'Ram raj' yields to the total amorality of what might be called today's  'haram raj'.

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