INDIA WE LOVE

When an Indian politician along with his or her family members is accused of acquiring wealth disproportionate to the person's known income, no one is surprised. It is taken for granted that politicians are in their trade only to enrich themselves. Those who do not are hard to find. Elections cost money. In most cases political Parties in India center round certain personalities. This central figures more or less control the purse. Sonia Gandhi in Congress, Lalu Prasad Yadav in RJD, Naveen Patnaik in BJD are some of the examples. In order to serve the interest of the Party, some politicians as central figures collect money from contractors, business people and others. The donors take it as an investment in the Government. What happens in the process is something totally different. In the name of the Party, the politicians get the money but a sizable chunk of it in most cases goes into their pockets. The wealth builds up bit by bit and superrich politicians are created in no time.

Those who are in power have access to certain information that others do not. They sell products and stocks and make a hefty profit. People's Representatives are paid a salary to serve their constituents. This service also becomes a money making business. When a project is commenced in a village - say addition to a school building or digging a pond for irrigation or repairing the local road - a certain percentage of the cash goes to the politician whose help made the project possible. In order to get money from the government, people all over India - in cities as well as in rural areas - are happy to grease the palms of their Representatives. In order to facilitate the process some bureaucrats also see an opportunity to get a cut and more often than not they do. In a way, politics at all levels in India has been intertwined with corruption. At the same time, politicians at all levels from all political Parties nourish the trend.

Accusation and counter accusation of corruption among politicians in the country has become so common that it has almost lost its news value. Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal has accused Arun Jaitley, India's Finance Minister of corruption. Jatellay has a court case against the Chief Minister. Lately Jayalaliltha had numerous cases against her before she died. In Bihar Lalu Yadav and his offspring Tejaswi Yadav, Tej Pratap Yadav and Misa Bharti are caught up in a financial investigation. Lalu is a former Chief Minister of Bihar and a former Central Minister. His children are respectively Bihar's Deputy Chief Minister, Health Minister and Rajya Sabha member. In the past, Lalu Yadav while serving time in a Bihar prison, ran the state through his wife Rabri Devi as Chief Minister. Currently, the BJP Government has brought cases against him and his family as well as against former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and his son Karti. These are just a few high profile court cases. There are many more. However, neither political Parties nor the public in general see the wealth issue as a deterrent to coming to Power. It is not the corrupt practice but getting caught while doing so becomes just another irritant in the political landscape of India.
Only when a politician is out of power, the government from the other Party accuses him or her wrong doing. The bureaucrats help in the process gleefully. Politicians may come and go depending on people's will. But the bureaucracy in India remains constant. Why don't its members see the obvious? Why don't they stop the politicians from swindling the state? The Secretaries and Directors and Commissioners with high sounding degrees and long experiences choose to keep quiet in fear of losing their comfortable positions. So they become enablers to those who commit corruption while in power. They also become a tool in the hands of the new rulers who supposedly go after the crooks. In the name of serving the people the bureaucrats from top to bottom seem to help grow a thankless situation from bad to worse. Then where is the outcry? An apathetic population and its self-centered bureaucracy continue to tolerate corruption and those who perpetuate it. And that is the India we love.


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