Can Prohibitio​n Succeed in a Land Where Even the Priests Drink?

 

Originally posted on 30.06.2011:

KahaaN maikhane ka darwaaza Ghalib, aur kahaaN waaiz?

Some of my very esteemed friends, including Gen ‘Yogi’ Sharma and the erudite Mahibhushan Johri have chided me for my ‘misplaced’ cynicism on the ‘Lokpal’ bill. They are sanguine that this bill will check graft and usher in an era of good governance and prosperity for our country. I think I must give my reasons for my misgivings and apprehension.

Permit me to ask you the following questions: You are caught jumping the red light. The cop is filling out the ‘chalan’ for a fine of Rs 500. You see a man slipping in a hundred rupee note in the hands of the policeman and go. Do you follow him, or take the receipt for the Rs 500 which is specified for this offence? The plan which you submitted for building your dream house keeps coming back with trivial objections. An agent approaches you and tells you that he can get it cleared, if you cough out some money. Do you give the cash and be done with it? You buy a TV. The dealer says that if you pay in cash, you can save tax. Do you insist on paying through the cheque and accept your tax liability? You are buying or selling property. You are told that the ratio is ‘sixty-forty’ What do you do, insist on a ‘full cheque’ transaction?

My fear is that an overwhelming majority of even the ‘honest’ citizens of our land are living with soiled hands. We already have fairly stringent laws to check graft. But how can the laws be enforced when the rulers themselves are a part of this sordid game? Here I am tempted to mention the following more facts: The starting pay of our IAS and IPS officers is Rs 21,000 plus 51% DA which works out to a total of Rs 31,700 per month. The average salary of our much maligned ‘babus’ even after the massive increase granted by the 6th Pay Commission is just about Rs one lac per month. The annual pay bill of the entire lot of 6000 IAS officers is no more than Rs 750 crores, and that is small change for the likes of Mukesh Ambani who has spent Rs 4,500 crores on his house. They can easily ‘buy out’ not just one or two bureaucrats but the whole lot of them! The government is, itself dependant on these stinking rich businessmen who possess such large sums of money that they can purchase not just the ‘babus’ but the ministers. Remember the time when the government needed to pay a few crores of rupees to some honorable Members of Parliament to stay in office? What they did is common knowledge.

Our advocate daughter-in-law tells us that there is nothing wrong with the laws. Where we fail is in enforcement. And we fail because we lack the political will, which, in turn is due to the fact that at the grass roots level, we are all into it!

Prohibition can not be enforced if the priests themselves are given to the pleasure of drinking. If you wish to cleanse the public life, you have to punish those who give bribes. And if you try doing that, half of India will be behind bars, with no room left in the Tihar jail for even a needle to slip in!

What we need is a culture change…a revolution of sorts. The Lokpal Bill is not the solution. It is a mere illusion. I do not know why, I am compelled to turn to Ghalib for comfort. He has some thing on this subject also, and I am giving below the link to a well known ghazal. The last stanza is important. The words in this lyric are in common use. However, for those who may not know, ‘waaiz’ means a priest.

Surjit

PS

A writer friend of mine, Mirza Yawar Baig (mail ID : yawarbaig@gmail.com)  has mentioned in one of his mails that the one person whom we adore as the doyen of entrepreneurs in India has institutionalized corruption in this country, single-handed!  No prize for guessing his name.

 

  1. colls says:

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  2. Ajay Hooda says:

    The fight against corruption is not mere coffee table talk , it is a very serious matter and some very determined people are fighting for our rights while the Machiavellian set that has been usurping peoples money is trying to protect its illegal entitlements employing all means possible .

  3. YVR Vijay says:

    Sir,

    I agree I am simple but a start has to be made somewhere and the best
    method would be to expose the nefarious and unscrupulous. Our
    political system and Govt bureaucracy are the first that can be made
    transparent by social activists and media exposing irregularities and
    ensuring reform in processes. India is corrupt because of lack of
    clear transparent processes.
    As far as getting the black money back from Swiss Banks here are two
    interesting views.

    BABA RAMDEV’S VIEW

    http://hubpages.com/hub/Swiss-Bank-has-agreed-to-disclose-the-Indian-Black-Money

    http://www.thesangaiexpress.com/fullstory.php?newsid=6079

    ALTERNATE VIEW
    http://www.reasonforliberty.com/current-affairs/how-to-get-back-indias-money-from-swiss-banks.html

  4. Mirza Yawar Baig says:

    I agree with you Sir. Thank you for quoting me. Today his sons are involved in the 2G scam but though others are gracing the portals of Tihar jail, these are sitting happily in their billion dollar homes. Incidentally the one whose home you mentioned built it on Muslim Wakf land, misappropriated by compliant Wakf Mutawallis. People who are happy to sell their faith to the highest bidder.

    Now interestingly the BJP/RSS is trying to cash in on the Lokpal bill on the shoulders of Yogi Baba Ramdev who will fast until he is persuaded to give up his fast (whoever fasted actually unto death?) to have the bill enacted. Money is flowing like water on the Ram Lila grounds to prepare for this mega media event, which includes 200,000 sft of water proof tenting and 4 media towers. This is our modern day Satyagrah.

  5. Surindar Sarup says:

    WE HAVE TO MAKE A BEGINNING SOMEWHERE. IN CASE OF DELAY, ONE CAN USE RTI ACT AS I DID WHEN I TRIED FRUITLESSLY TO GET VOTER CARDS FOR SELF AND WIFE WHEN WE RETURNED AFTER 20 YEARS ABROAD. NO REPLY WAS
    RECEIVED AFTER SEVERAL REMINDERS. I LEARNED THAT A VISIT TO THEIR
    OFFICE WOULD BE REQUIRED, TOGETHER WITH ‘CHAI PANI’ FOR THEM. INSTEAD
    I MADE AN APPLICATION UNDER RTI ACT AND I RECEIVED VOTER CARDS FOR
    BOTH US IN A WEEK’S TIME!
    SECONDLY IT WOULD BE WISHFUL THINKING FOR US TO WAIT FOR THE BABUS AND OTHERS IN POWER TO CHANGE THEIR MINDSET. IT WILL NEVER COME.
    WHAT I FEEL WILL WORK IS THE FEAR OF PUNISHMENT WHICH WOULD BE
    BROUGHT ABOUT ONCE WE HAVE A LOKPAL IN POSITION.
    FURTHER WE HOPE THAT MOST INDIANS WILL SUPPORT THE AGITATION TO BRING BACK ILLEGAL FUNDS TO THE TUNE OF 4 LAKH CRORS (AS BEING BRANDED ABOUT). IT APPEARS FROM THE NEWS THAT ALL YES ALL OTHER NATIONS HAVE
    ALREADY GOT THEIR FUNDS BACK SO WHY NOT INDIA?

  6. Hemi Bhagat says:

    My dear Surjit, The problem is in our system. Unlike the Army,there is no accountablilty,no supervision . no mechanism for implementing the legislation . If there was proper supervision as we have in the army, the municipal sweeper would be supervised by a superviser , who in turn would be supervised by a junior officer ,a senior officer ,a director and so on, As there is no supervision , there are fake employees in the municipality., the PWD contracor does shabby work ,etc. No one question inaction . No one is accountable for his deeds or misdeeds.Laws are being enacted ,not for the public welfare but for personal motives.(take the case of unauthorised colnies in Delhi .Vote bank is supreme and to hell with duties ,responsibility, honour and integrity..

  7. Jetinder Mayor says:

    Good intentions Surjit. But I am afraid you have missed the point. Homo sapiens are basically animals, and all animals are selfish. So we humans started as selfish creatures obeying the jungle raj. Slowly when societies developed we created barriers to deviant behavior and called these as laws.Society also created a machinery to punish those who do not obey laws. Today in India, the machinery for enforcing law has failed. Therefore we need a law (lokpal act) that will ensure that those meant to enforce laws can be hauled up if they fail in their work, or themselves indulgent in deviant bahaviour. This is only the beginning. Next will be to ensure that criminals do not become law makers. And then will come laws to ensure that those who are meant to punish the wrong doers (judiciary) can themselves be punished if their behaviour is not above bar. Only then can we stop corruption. Man cannot never remain straight if his actions are not watched. Culture does not ensure honesty

  8. YVR Vijay says:

    Sir,

    I saw some interesting comments by Swami Ramdev the other day in his
    walk the talk interview.
    1. Abolish all 100, 500 and 1000 Rs notes. Any transaction over Rs 1000 can only be by card or cheque or online banking.
    2. Automate with CCTVs/Cameras/auto challaning at traffic junctions.
    3. Very severe punishment for bribery.
    4. Every Govt Servant must be held financially accountable for a
    file which lies with him for over a week.
    5. Use the internet and media to publicly humiliate corruption and
    their practitioners.

    As far as prohibition goes I don’t believe in it.

    Nice to see you so active on the EME Network.

  9. Neena Singh says:

    Wonderful- I agree with you and am sharing with friends on my wall! Hope you will not mind..

  10. J Thomas says:

    Yes, it’s a cultural thing

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