Corruption, that very dreaded word, is firmly back in the
spotlight on the Indian firmament. This time, credit goes to the Commonwealth
Games-centric wheeling-dealing encompassing crores of rupees and a stupendous
dose of the ludicrous.
As inexplicable money trails stand exposed, the deal, it
would seem, is to see who is more corrupt rather, to see who is more
ingenuously corrupt. It’s been an engaging affair for all concerned. The point
that there is so much embarrassment in that engagement seems not to have been
With a ranking of 84 in the Transparency International
corruption index, we anyway do not have much to gloat about.
Our public sphere is replete with instances of bribery,
embezzlement, kickbacks, cronyism and extortion. There are regular exposes on
these instances, but always, these instances get lost somewhere between the
grotesque and the anecdotal.
Fortunately or not, we seem to have found our defence
mechanism in humour. However many crores of rupees get squeezed out of the
system, our reaction has been reduced to one characterized by a slightly
furrowed face with a raised eyebrow to boot.Our shock system has become fairly stoic and resistant to turbulence.
Yes, we humour corruption and the corrupt. And we think, is
there any alternative but this!
It must be noted that amid all the grisly tales of
corruption emanating from the CWG stable, the predominant thread for us ‘the
observers’ is that of entertainment. Is it the glee of the voyeur? The smirk of
the faithless? The resignation of the pessimist?
In 1832, the Belgian mathematician and sociologist Adolphe
Quetelet introduced the phrase ‘the dark figure of crime’ ‘signifying the true
crime rate as opposed to the number of crimes recorded by the government. The
dark figure, Quetelet pointed out, would be much higher than the official
figure, for people who commit crimes will always try to ensure that their
actions go unnoticed.
In 2010, the dark figure is infinitely more menacing, more
inventive, and more empowered. Perhaps, we ourselves have become ambivalent in
Admittedly, we have become a nervous, desperate lot. We know
that nothing comes to us as a matter of inalienable right, what should be a
least hassle-free transaction and an assurance of availability (for instance,
uninterrupted power supply) can turn out to be a case of wild chase under the
table, literally or otherwise.
Certainly, there are those among us who are spared the
ignominy of having to deal with the corrupt specimen. But, honestly, is there
any among us who have not dealt with the push-and-pull arguments that mark any
of the number of things that need to be got done so as to enable our day-to-day
And so, with a sigh and a smirk, we accept the inevitability
of the skewness in our lives. That happens to be our collective fatal destiny,
at least for quite some time to come. Unless.