humour mk kaw
Corruption is in the genes
indira Gandhi once said famously, “Corruption is a global phenomenon”, as if by being global it ceased to be an anathema. The bhrashtacharis of today speak of corruption being universal, both in respect of time as well as space. Now if corruption has always been there, it would be interesting to analyse whether there are ups and downs in this journey. It is my humble assertion that periods of high economic activity also witness a higher level of corruption.
Take the period of Emperor Ashoka and Chandragupta Maurya. Kautilya says in his Artha Sastra that bureaucrats are like fish that live in water. The revenue of the State passes through the hands of the bureaucrats in the same way as water passes through the gullet of a fish all the time. Thus, it is but natural that a bureaucrat will imbibe a part of the water, wittingly or unwittingly.
The other peak in the imperial tradition was the reign of Akbar. No wonder there are all kinds of stories rampant in our folklore. Many of these come as interesting arguments between Akbar and his legendary courtier Birbal. But the cake is taken by the story of a high official who was caught red-handed while accepting a bribe. The crime was so blatant that Akbar wanted to make an example of him. It was decreed that he would henceforth function as the controller of waves. Akbar felt that he had punished him adequately and the official must have become a butt of ridicule. Birbal, being a shrewd man, was not so convinced. He proceeded on tour and reached the new headquarters of the official. He was not surprised to find him in the midst of frantic activity…Read More