The Coalition of the Corrupt
Part 3: “Can The Coalition of the Corrupt change … itself?”
by Nalin K. Nirula
October 12, 2012
It is widely reported in the news that the leadership of the country has game-changing proposals to fight corruption in public life. The latest proposal is that a law be brought to punish the bribe-giver in addition to the bribe-taker—a seemingly logical proposal, but one wonders what would it accomplish.
“Is ‘Law’ to serve the people, the lawmakers, or the law breakers?”
The immediate question comes up, would this not now arm the governmental, executive bribe-takers with a counter pressure-point to any whistle blower, to ensure that no voice be raised against the corrupt in public life?
Ours is a political system that runs on the fuel of bribery and corruption. It is a fact of daily life. The various mafias that control public assets pay their tithe to the authorities and ultimately the public pays for it in higher prices.
To get even one’s perfectly legitimate work done, the dictum is, ‘bribe and pay off or suffer loss.’
The loss can be loss of opportunity and timeliness, it can be financial loss and it can even be loss of livelihood.
To this, it is now proposed, that if one complains under the Prevention of Corruption Act, or if one is discovered to be a bribe giver, in addition to all of the above downsides, in case one is revealed as a successful bribe-giver, now will be added the factor of public prosecution, where one may lose one’s personal freedom as well.
Given the present state of affairs, penalizing the bribe giver will only increase the fearlessness of the bribe takers while increasing the price to be paid.
Such legal proposals and provisions may be desirable, but the context in which these emerge does not encourage good results.
The intricacies of bribery?
Here is a statement made by the Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh in the annual conference of the CBI and state anti-corruption bureaus, as reported in the press on October 11, 2012:
“Experience has shown that in a vast majority of cases, it is difficult to tackle consensual bribery and the bribe-giver gets away by taking advantage of the Prevention of Corruption Act.”
The use of the word “consensual” is significant as it implies there may be ‘non-consensual’ bribery. And then, is the opposite of consensual bribery ‘forced bribery’—what is it and how is it better or worse than non-consensual bribery? Is there really a difference between these three type of bribery?
It would be interesting to see how the government would describe ‘non-consensual bribery’. In reality, there is no such thing as ‘consensual bribery’ because in the context of the heavily regulated bureaucratic system of governance and administration, almost anything that a citizen should be able to do in pursuit of his lawful objectives of gaining his livelihood or living, requires approval from government agencies.
Obstacles in the citizens path are quickly removable through the bribery route. It becomes a matter for the citizen to weigh the opportunity cost of paying or not paying this ‘expediting fee’. Is this right or wrong?
“Under what category would bribing public servants fall, where the purpose is that the government men do not harass the hapless and more-or-less innocent citizen? More-or-less ‘innocent’ citizen, because he has no other practical alternative because the rot in the system is greater than his powers to resist it. He becomes a participant in it willingly or unwillingly, consensually or otherwise.
“After that, he may also be liable for legal action. He is first persecuted and then he is prosecuted. Is it a wonder that few dare to protest?”
It is commonly reported, for example, that in order to get refunds from governmental agencies bribes have to be given.
There is no prior wrongdoing on part of the bribe-giver, who must pay the ‘expediting fee’ to get back what is owed to him, or face harassment in the form of the officer raising tax demands that the officer knows will eventually fail. In the meanwhile this costs the tax-payer legal fees and years of litigation and wastes public money.
The officer is never held accountable for this. Such powers only gives the income tax officer a handle to pump the taxpayer for money.
In this case would this be consensual and actionable bribery, or would it be excusable bribery under mitigating circumstances? Or is it expediting fee or is it equivalent of the ‘hafta’ protection money payoff system?
It is the ‘baksheesh’ or tip system in a most sinister form. In short, this is the mafia system that affects all citizens directly or indirectly.
Welcome to the Coalition of the Corrupt system.
The call sign is, “Give me your money and your life.” In the days of the highway robbers, it was ‘give me your money or your life!’ Now it may as well be both because the citizen works for the government in bonded servitude under the Coalition of the Corrupt.
Selective application of Law
Laws which are selectively enforced to favor the powerful and influential are ultimately a result of a corrupt administration, and no amount of attention-diverting statements and appeals by the ones at fault can change this.
At the same meeting as referred to earlier, the Prime Minister said, “The mindless atmosphere of negativity and pessimism that is sought to be created over the issue of corruption can do us no good.”
Yes, it will do no good to a corrupt administration, and the people of the country can be excused for viewing such statements with cynicism.
It may be argued that there would be a difference in the case of overt subverting of the specific laws and the greater laws meant for the protection of rights of the individual as well as the rights of government. Well, what happens where these rules are favoring the bribe-takers and favoring an environment that fosters bribe-taking and giving?
Laws punishing bribe-givers have a chance of working in a society such as in America, where the system of public administration and governance is very transparent and very citizen-oriented compared to ours.
Our system of governance comes with a heavy hangover of the British colonial rule that was meant to subjugate a populace and take away public and private wealth, and it is still going on long after the departure of the British rulers—only the face and skin color of the rulers have changed.
The Coalition of the Corrupt remains.
Government must serve the interest of the people
With a continuity of the present way of governance, as in the ancient times of King Vena, and more recently the British Empire, the citizens are once again caught like ants in the middle of a log that burns at both ends.
At one end is the selective application of the law to favor powerful business interests,who tax the people by passing on to them the costs of bribes paid.
At the other end there are the venal politicians and administrators who extract the bribes for permitting the powerful to go about their business.
The assets of the country are up for sale as it were, through some of the political agents elected by the people, although it is certain that such was never the people’s mandate to them.
Image courtesy Abhishek Singh
There is a jockeying for political position and power, to be the ones who can dispense or withhold favors, in the process lining the political party’s and one’s own pockets nicely, thank you!
The need is not that more laws be enacted that are out of touch with the needs of society and public life. Laws that are not enforceable or that are enforced selectively generate contempt for the majesty of the law.
What is needed is a change in the nature of public life for the highest interest of the nation, and non-selective application of laws, rules and regulations.
The politicians and leaders in and out of government need to become true champions and defenders of the law and the rights of the citizens.
The Coalition of the Corrupt needs to be rectified and rooted out. And this must, and will take place.
Spiritual strength overcomes all material conditions
Committed healers continue to channel healing for relief and reversal of this disease of corruption in public and private life. The healers are not at all complacent about it unlike the leadership, because they can do something positive about it, while they recognize the essential negativity of the situation.
Healers are not unaware idealists, unlike the Coalition of the Corrupt who act as though their ideal world of corruption will continue indefinitely because the individual citizen cannot spare the time or effort from his daily business to act collectively and decisively against the corrupt. To this end, the crooked and venal in positions of power foster rules and regulations that keep the citizen bogged down in the struggle for just his basic necessities of life.
Throughout history, our country has been invaded, it’s people subjugated by foreign rulers and home-grown tyrants and dictators, and it’s wealth looted. The people of India have proved to be strong in spirit, resilient and resourceful and able to achieve much with little at hand. The Coalition of the Corrupt has to be reminded of this time and again.
Through time, it has been only the spiritual strength of the hidden and visible healers and mystics that have created the movements to eliminate, transform and overcome oppressive and dark influences.
The mystic karmic healers of today continue to do the same even though they may pass by quietly today, unrecognized by the general public.
The uncompromising shameless Coalition of the Corrupt are bound to face a rude awakening, when the Healing momentum creates enough power over time to remove them decisively, and restore the misappropriated glories of this great nation.
Nalin K. Nirula
New Delhi, October 12, 2012
Return from ‘The Coalition of the Corrupt’ to ‘Part 2: The Price of Corruption’
Go from ‘The Coalition of the Corrupt’ to ‘Part 1: Cult of the Personal Favored Elite’
To the Empower Healing Project – A collective healing initiative for reversing corruption in public life