Latasinha's Weblog

Social and political Values and Systems in India.

What ails Indian society?

Corruption and indiscipline

“One of the biggest curses from which India is suffering – I do not say that other countries are free from it, but I think our condition is much worse – is bribery and corruption.” Muhammad Ali Jinnah,  (1876-1948), a lawyer, politician, and the founder of Pakistan. Jinnah served as leader of the All-India Muslim League from 1913 until Pakistan’s creation in 1947.


Few factors responsible for ailment of India are – colonial tradition, monopoly of few groups in power echelons, no regard for meritocracy or expertise for development of the nation, monopoly of coercive power, tiredness of workforce, inadequacies and instability of political leadership and the near absence or weakness of groups exercising countervailing force over authorities men and work for the development of nation.

Pervasive corruption and indiscipline are fast becoming an accepted way of life. Communal, regional and caste conflicts are increasing every day. The persons and the groups, who have the power in their hands and who control almost every walk of national life are working to deny justice to the masses. Common man has been reduced to the size of pigmy.

Closer view of the present Indian scene, reasons for deterioration – There are many reasons for reaching up-to the present pitiable condition of law and order all over India. Concentration of authority in few hands, protectionist and populist policies of the government to create vote-banks, poor personnel policies of the Government are responsible. Slow infrastructural development, cumbersome office procedures, increased paper work. Over and above it, there is disincentive to hard work, talent, honesty and sincerity, lack of accountability and alienation of common man. Last but not the least tolerance of people of India is also responsible, which tended the people to accept the sub-standard administration, giving very little challenge to the authorities to upgrade their performance.

  • Indiscipline – Discipline is a key to success. It brings stability in life. For leading a disciplined life, one needs to be fair, positive and consistent. Discipline means obedience and observance of established rules and respect for authority. It leads to regulate people’s behaviour in the face of temptations and impulses. As an executive function, discipline is necessary for regulating behaviour in order to achieve developmental goals. Lack of will power leads to gratification, short-term temptations instead of aiming at long term goals. Indiscipline means any act or behavior or performance contrary to approved norms, rules, and regulations.
  • Broken social fabric –  The social fabric of India almost completely broken. Population has exploded virtually unchecked. There are sectional and regional imbalances all over India, which are sources of great social and psychological tensions.
  • Instability of political arena – Social change processes and the larger political turmoil’s are making a virtue of narrow loyalties of caste and religion and the sub-cultures like – favouritism, nepotism and corruption. Bureaucracy being an important part of this very Indian Society, has reached upto the point of being beyond repairs.
  • Economic slow-down – Economic growth of the country has been very slow. The whole economy is in a bad shape because of low per- capita income, inflation, price-rise, dependence of at least ¾ of her population on agriculture, industrial backwardness, capital deficiency, rapid population growth, unemployment and under-employment, prevalence of backward technology, under-utilization of natural resources – men, money and material.
  • Delay in decision-making – A rot started setting up rapidly in the administrative set up during Mrs. Gandhi Era (1965 to 1980). The trend of ‘committed bureaucracy’ has developed. Attitude of ‘Playing safe attitude’ amongst upright and honest bureaucrats prevented/stopped them from  taking much required decisions or actions on time. Hence arose the problem of how, when and by whom  important decisions in national interests should be taken. It added fuel into the fire.
  • Unholy alliance amongst the major players in power echelons– Some unpleasant changes have taken place in the recent past. and are increasing every day in the character, role and inter-relationship of the following main constituent of the society:  bureaucrats; political leaders; executives; media persons, businessmen and criminal element.  
  • Deteriorating standard of education – Standards of education have declined beyond any remedy and it has become inefficient, wasteful, dysfunctional and increasingly unrelated to national needs and aspirations. It is so when still science and technology have been waiting yet to make their full impact.
  • Public attention diverted to abstract issues – In order to divert public attention from real issues, abstract issues like social justice, socialism, secularism, communalism were floated in the political world. Government assumed a pervasive role of being the sole guardian of public interest and assumed tremendous authority in the name of socialism. Economic logic and administrative acumen was subordinated to the logic of politics.

Era of instability – As the result, the country is now facing caste-communal divide; forward-backward divide, urban-rural divide and division based on class, gender, language and region. The feeling of oneness has almost disappeared with the emergence of many myopic, local regional parties pursuing sectional interest. The era of instability started after the fall of Rajiv Gandhi’s Government and then disappearance of Nehru-Gandhi family from the political scene. In the absence of any sound ideology and clear vision, the politicians of 1990s depended ideologically on “Caste”, “Community”, and “Political secularism” considerations, in pursuance of sectoral interests and use of power of money and muscle to widen their electoral base. It is only after Modi wave in 2014 that once again at centre, a stable government is being formed. But in provinces, the picture is not quite clear.

Corruption – Corruption and misappropriation of public funds was always there, but not so rampant, as has been witnessed after 1990. Corruption has now deeply entrenched into the system and has become its integral part. General public finds itself unable to defend themselves against exploitation due to corruption.

Types of corruption – Hapless citizens want to root out harassment and bribery, so that they can enjoy their legitimate rights. There are two types of corruption, from which a common man suffers –

  • Where bribe is given by someone and is taken by another after reaching a mutual agreement. This kind of practice has acquired a kind of legitimacy, as a price to be paid for “Getting a job done” in the Government and saving common-man’s “Time, energy and money”.
  • Extortion – Those in authority abuses power to extract money from the public. It is this type of corruption which has increased enormously, from which public wants to get rid.

How far Bureaucracy Responsible?

People hold bureaucracy, ‘the steel frame of governance’, responsible for this deteriorated condition. Bureaucracy is shaking under its own pressures. People wonder why the steel-frame of yesteryears is shaking and failing to do its job effectively and judiciously despite having a constitutional status with enough powers to deal with unwanted situations. There is decline over the years in the quality, competence and commitment of the administrative officers. In-discipline, violence and lawlessness are increasing every day all over the country.

Comment and suggestion of Mr. VN Narayan –

Mr. VN Narayan has described beautifully the present climate, “We have a political problem (scams and scandals), but we have no political solution, we have a religious problem (Ayodhya), but no religious solution. There is an economic problem (poverty), but there is no economic solution (Liberalization). There is a social problem (Sectarian conflicts), but there is no societal remedy (Secularism and Mandalisation). There is a socio-medical disease (cancer of corruption), but there is no socio-medical cure (ministerial resignations and reshuffles)”

“There is only one solution to all problems – a human and spiritual solution. We have to consciously move toward humanizing our social institutions and spiritualise (not communalise or secularize) ourselves.”

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