Corruption is in my Blood: I'm honest, because I didn't get an opportunity by Nalinaksha Mutsuddi SignUp
Corruption is in my Blood:
I'm honest, because I didn't get an opportunity
Nalinaksha Mutsuddi Bookmark and Share

Delhi will hold Common Wealth Games this year, beginning 3rd October, 2010. It is the biggest sporting event of international stature India is going to hold till now. It will showcase India’s image to the entire world – all be it participation is restricted to Common Wealth Countries only. Hectic preparation is on full swing: lot of new construction; huge work of deconstruction for beautification, followed by reconstruction of entire old city. All involve massive makeover to bring it to the level of international standard. It is an occasion for every Indian to be rightfully proud of – though, already there are critics questioning the justification for such an expensive event while millions of our countrymen live below poverty line. These criticisms should have been raised before finalization of hosting the games was done. Now, such criticisms are uncalled for. It is time to look forward to the perfect execution of the project and splendid performance of the event.


But we cannot wish away the pall of gloom overcastting the mental sky. First comes escalation of initial estimates of any project big or small; multiple shifting of dead lines – no project is finished in time; finished stadiums or building complexes are sub-standard – roofs are crumbling; costs of items paid many times over the market price -- quality remaining inferior. Sickening reports of corruption at each level of execution occupying the major space of news media became the norm.    It offered a great opportunity for looters – a hunting ground for making quick buck. Nascent firms with no office and little experience of executing big projects bagged the contracts due only to connections and palm-greasing ability. So, we don’t nourish high hope of the games. However, let it pass off somehow.


Now, coming to the main point – corruption. We heard it many times over; it happened and is occurring all over the world. But the scale and spread differ. In our case it is rampant and pandemic. It is there almost at every level. Whoever, whenever and wherever got a chance displayed the presence of this gene in the blood. Exceptions are there, but they are negligible. I will illustrate it with a few incidents of my short retired life.


In 1994, immediately after retirement for processing my pension documents through treasury I had to shell out Rs. 2,100/-. Though my department sent the papers complete in all respects, I was given a paper to get signed by 15 different officers/officials – none of them known to me. And without knowing me, nobody can sign my papers. In fact, they demanded Rs.2,200/-. I paid them Rs.2,000/- and I was handed over a quarter-of-a-newspaper size  document called cheque. It was account-payee cheque. I presented it to the bank to be told that it had to be routed through sub-treasury. The sub-treasury clerk cannot initial it for forwarding to the T.O. because he doesn’t know me. Telling him he need not know me because it was account-payee cheque didn’t yield any result. I phoned the treasury clerks whom I already paid enough. They in turn contacted Mr. Jain, the sub-treasury clerk. Now, Jain tells me, “Why didn’t you tell me that you are Mr. Arya’s man?” I thought, probably the ordeal was over. Still, after initialing my paper he told in Hindi “dijiye” – meaning  “Give me”. What ‘give me’, I had already given. He repeated “dijiye”. I paid him another 100 rupees. And I started getting my pension.


I needed to renew my driving license. The touts asked for Rs. 250/- and everything would be ready in a jiffy. Or else I had to go through normal channel of providing an affidavit on seven rupee stamp paper and a fitness certificate of eye-sight signed by a government doctor. I never knew the rules of Motor Vehicles Act differ from state to state, because in Himachal Pradesh I was never asked to produce an affidavit for renewal of licenses. Now, I settled at Gautam Budh Nagar, U.P.  I preferred to follow the official route. Stamp paper vendor demanded hundred rupees for seven rupee stamp paper. To my question why hundred instead of seven -- the actual cost of the stamp duty -- he replied, “I had to recover whatever I paid already”. There was no other vendor.


Next, I went to the government hospital for test report of my eye-sight. I was asked to pay Rs. 80/-, which I paid and kept waiting for my turn, at the reception. After about half an hour the fitness report duly signed by eye specialist was in my hand without testing my eye-sight. See the magic of rupees eighty only.


At the Regional Transport Office I had a different story. As usual I was waiting for my license after submitting the relevant documents. After sometime I was spotted by the boss – a lady officer – sitting inside. She called me in and told the clerk, “Why do you trouble old people; bring his papers.” And within no time I got my driving license. Of course, she was not known to me.


Paying Rs. 250 to the tout would have been cheaper bargain minus all such hassles.


With limited transactions of a retired man there are many such incidents, which I am omitting now, to switch only to two little stories. I have a bad habit of being chummy with so-called lowly people, like rickshaw pullers and chowkidars etc. Enquiring one watchman about his family, how many children he has and how much salary he gets   I get to know that actually he gets Rs. 2,000 though he signs for Rs. 2,500. There are so many such cases around us, but you cannot catch any body: the documents are perfectly clean on the surface. Even the victim himself will not testify in front of anybody for fear of losing 2000 rupee job.


Now the dog also has its day. I was holding first birthday ceremony of my grand son in the community center of our colony. The society has many caterers on their panel. You are free to choose from them or bring from outside any one you like. We compared the cost: the empanelled ones costing more for the same menu – it has to be, because they have to accommodate the society bosses. So, we opted from outside. Now, the chowkidars got a chance. They won’t allow the external caterer to decorate the hall as he likes or keep his utensils wherever he pleases. They continued to create little hindrances wherever possible. This they cannot dare with the internal caterers. The external caterer had to gratify the chowkidars to continue his business. (This story the caterer narrated to me when he came to collect his dues).  Such interesting stories are galore in our country.


CWG offered easy way to amass money; the smart people are quick to grab it. We are unnecessarily crying foul.


Now, I started doubting myself: corruption probably is in my blood too, I am honest, because I didn’t get any opportunity.

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Comments on this Blog

Comment Dear Mr. Prem,

Thank you very much for liking the title of the article.

Your friend's comment on various types of people is mostly true, but nowadays the teachers,doctors,engineers and scientists also are not immune to the virus of corruption. Old values are submerged under the weight of greed -- generated by the desire for quick buck for higher standard, better life and more amenities compared to you neighbours -- breeding widespread corruption in all spheres of life covering almost all profession. After all, they are controlled by the fourth category of people as diagnosed by your friend -- is it not?


02/10/2011 06:13 AM

Comment I like the title, Corruption is in my blood: I'm honest, because I didn't get an opportunity. As a teacher Mr. Nalinaksha Mutsuddi is automatically recognized as the noble "first class" as in the following statement on life in India:

Most "First Class" students get technical seats, most become doctors, scientists, engineers, and teachers...
The "Second Class" pass MBA, become administrators and control the "First Class"...
The "Third Class" enter politics and become ministers and control both...
The "Failures" join the underword and control all the above...
(Excerpt from recent email received from a friend)

02/09/2011 17:21 PM

Comment Hi Vijay,

I agree with you that the leaders -- politicians, industrialists and others -- should set the example for others to emulate. Tatas are good. But all industrialist are not that good. See the 2G scam and other headline hogging scams. All big fishes are involved. After all the tamasha of 'grilling by CBI' and time and public money nothing happens.
You are right in pointing out so many rfeligious leaders as well. Nobody seem to believe in region and ethics.
There are many shades of corruption pervading each and evedry nook and corner of the society. To cite a fresh example: I have to register my flat. I lost one document and the authority to issue a fresh one. I was instructed to register an FIR first and with the copy of FIR i need to apply again.
My friends advised me to hand ovedr a hundred rupee not under the table to the registering clerk. Why? Because he may raise some objections -- this and that etc. Now if you don't giv e the will ensue. Similarly for ctual registration at the copurt i have to shell some more money to nullify made-up shortcomings. Like this at evedry stage of our social life it exists.
CleAnsing should start from the top. The guilty must be punished in exemplay manner so that nobody dares in the future. In short a systemic shake up is in ordder.
Thanks for your comments.


11/18/2010 09:30 AM

Comment Hi

I would like to salute Mr. Ratan Tata for publicly disclosing the bribe incident.  The solution lies with the influential people like Mr. Tata.  They can take these corrupt politicians, and officials headon and get their work done without bribeing.   Once these people lead the path I'm sure common man will follow. The common man does not lead he only follows.   Basically we have to spin the wheel in opposite direction to reach where it all started.  Also would like to comment here that the biggest blow to common man's integrity is the corrupt religious leaders. 

I also agree with Tagoreblog that still their are alot of people who keep their integrity intact even in difficult times.

Vijay Khurana
11/18/2010 03:49 AM

Comment Hi Tagoreblog,

Indeed one automatically becomes pessimistic, specially if someone is not involved in minting money by dishonest means.



10/04/2010 11:01 AM

Comment Hi Vijaykhurana,

Many call it 'speed money'. If you want to speed up your work done, be ready to shell out money. Otherwise, continue to be harrased.  It is spreading fast to almost every sphere of our life. There seems to be no cure, for the time being. What do you think?



10/04/2010 10:53 AM

Comment It is very shameful that corruption has become an essential part of every common man's life in India.   India could have been 20 years ahead of where it is now if corruption was not so deeply infected.  Now no one feels any shame in being corrupt. 

10/03/2010 09:43 AM

Comment I agree with you, Mr. Mutsuddi. The current situation makes one naturally pessimistic.

09/29/2010 06:44 AM

Comment To Dr Pravar Passi, & Tagoreblog

Thanks for your comments. They may be in minority but the number is multiplying fast. In the past you needed the art of bribing to get your work done  fast, now you don't need any skill in bribing they brazenly ask for it right in front of your nose.

Thanks for the wonderful poem of Tagore. I don't remember if I read it in  original Bengali version.

Of course, it is not that I am repenting for not getting the opportunity. I only expressed the general impression currently prevalent in the social landscape.

09/27/2010 11:16 AM

Comment Very thought provoking.

Dr Pravar Passi
09/27/2010 00:06 AM

Comment Not necessarily - still there are people who consider honesty to be the best policy and they are in the majority. Please don't lose your faith in humanity, Mr. Mutsuddi, - it is a sin. Those honest people remain honest not because they lack opportunities to be dishonest - they are so from an inner belief. In my translation, published in boloji long ago, here is a famous poem, in fact the last poem Rabindranath dictated, which has this message -

O ye guileful one
You have kept the path of your creation
Cluttered with endless snares!
With skillful hands
You have laid
Traps of baseless beliefs
In simple lives.
With this deception you have marked the great
For him
You have left no cover of night.
The path that is shown by your heavenly light
Is the path of his innermost being
It is always transparently clear
With his simple faith
He keeps that path ever glowing.
It may seem crooked from without
But within it is straight
And for this he is proud.
People call him a credulous fool
But he achieves the truth in his soul
Bathed in his innermost light.
Nothing can deceive him
And the ultimate reward is his
He who has suffered this deception with ease
Gets at your hands
The everlasting right to eternal peace.
The last ever poem Tagore dictated at 9.30 AM on 30th July, 1941, shortly before his surgical operation. He never recovered to revise these lines. It was posthumously published in the collection Shesh lekha.
There will be great temptations and there are people who have the strength of character to resist those temptations however irresistible they may appear to be.

09/18/2010 19:17 PM

Comment First of all, I didn't get any opportunity, being a poor teacher. Had there been any opportunity, probably i would not have left it to float by. 

09/18/2010 10:29 AM

Comment Or you were very timid and afraid lest you are caught.

kumud biswas
09/18/2010 00:36 AM

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