Saturday, August 11, 2012

Natural Laws That Govern Human Growth

If there is one thing I can’t abide by, it is cunning. All politicians believe they ought to be just that. Or someone more cunning will be ready to usurp their place, position and privilege. They call it "being canny".
Earlier, while ordinary people were constrained by their inability to talk to others all over the world, politicians harped on the “preserve my culture” theme (divide and rule?). But suddenly, we are all connected. People from Brazil have access to what people in Maharashtra think. People in the UK know what really worries people in India. As a result, either some countries have tried to contain that connectivity or people have started looking at their politicians’ rhetoric with jaundiced eyes.

To my mind, this is great. It means the beginning of the end of the world order as we know it. (It could even be the beginning of the end of demarcations of countries although not quite yet!) It is back to the beginnings - we are one race. Our humanness and our humanity don’t change wherever we are born or whoever we are born to. Our culture, language or religion is hugely dependent on where we are born. Our traditions - how we do things, what we eat, what we wear, what we celebrate varies because of the fact that we are in a certain part of the world and born to certain parents - it is pure chance. (In India, because of centuries of association with others, we celebrate many different traditions from various cultures - we even have public holidays for many festivals celebrated in different cultures) And now, thanks to our being able to talk to just about anyone from the rest of the world, we realise first hand, how similar we are in spite of our cultures.

Politicians claim that they work for the good of the people and country. They don’t mention how much self interest and self preservation enters the picture. Except, in India it is blatant and to a degree, unsurpassed. All their energies are focused on how to extract something for themselves from everything. With so many politicians in power and in the opposition doing just that, with each of them extracting so much from the providers of goods and services for their own pockets, their “cut” is an expense passed on to the consumer – you and I. The common person pays through their nose for every service and for any goods. 

Of course, politicians aren't the only ones to blame. I’d like to think through an imaginary example with you: A wants to make something and the by-product is not good for the air we breathe. He goes to the person in power who says, “I’ll overlook that but, what’s in it for me?” There are three routes open to A. Can the project, give the bribe or ensure the by-product isn’t harmful to the environment. 

·        If A decides to give the bribe, these might be the possible outcomes.

o   He starts the factory and rakes in the profits.
o   He and millions like him might be making the air we breathe too polluted. According to the UN, the extent of pollution in India is far above the danger level already.
o   The bribe demanding politician might decide to increase his cut.
By now A might realise it might have been cheaper in the first place to take that one extra step to convert the bad by-product into something that’s good for the environment.
o   But, that would mean selling the product at a more expensive price than the competition who would probably have bribed the same politician to dispense licences for similar factories.

He might decide to take the politician and / or the competition to court for unfair practices. Yeah right. What checks and balances are there for politicians? If he doesn’t get his cut, the politician will simply refuse the licence to A, whether his product and by-products are environmentally friendly or not. A has no recourse to justice as politicians have their own people in our judiciary and the police. With the help of goons in their pay they’ve subdued the people. Their tentacles are everywhere.

A might decide to let the ordinary person know what’s happening but the ordinary person is too indifferent or apathetic. Besides he or she feels they aren’t such fools that they’ll fall for that line. Why should they buy from A, when B sells the same product cheaper?

Our entire mindset, from the politician to the business person to the ordinary person needs to change. But that is easier said than done. It is a very slow process. Take the other example of the various projects to uplift the poor. They sound quite wonderful on paper. Most of the cash that has been earmarked for these projects is usurped by people who are well off in collusion with local politicians. How do we ensure the poor, who are actually targeted, benefit from these projects? 
This curse of corruption has to be rooted out before it sucks India and ordinary Indians dry. To my mind, this scenario can change to a great degree if there are proper checks and balances on politicians. Only checks and balances will bring about rapid change. In the mean time and side by side, we may try changing the moral fibre of our people. 

The late Stephen Covey had this to say – Principles that govern human growth and happiness are natural laws that are woven into the fabric of every civilized society throughout history and comprise the roots of every family and institution that has endured and prospered. The degree to which people in a society recognise and live in harmony with these principles moves them toward either
  • survival and stability or
  • disintegration and destruction.
The principles he was talking about? Most humans know them instinctively. Some of them are truth, honesty, integrity, a sense of justice and moral courage. Wonder if any of our current batch of politicians have at least one of these qualities. But more than that, I wonder if we have the moral courage to vote for the ones who do, in 2014.

So many people have spoken about the many guises of corruption in India that I thought I’d put up a few links.

· This blogger has quoted Noam Chomsky who’s spoken about the media’s unethical behaviour and how news may not be true at all. He advises us to keep our eyes, ears and mind open.

·        Superb article on what is required to bring about change in our system and it isn’t superheroes. It is the common Indian citizen being non gullible and courageous.

·       A very recent article in the Economic Times titled “How Corruption in Coal Is Closely Linked to Political Funding”

  Why is there a shortage of railway tickets during our festive season? Read what the touts do. 

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  1. KayEM , unfortunately, in India a farce in the name of democracy and open loot by politicians is only what matters:(

  2. Rahul, India Against Corruption have promised honest candidates for the 2014 elections and I am hopeful. The fact that the current lot WILL use state machinery, the newspapers they fund and tax payer money to malign these candidates worries me though. It is up to the public - see the links - to keep things in perspective.

  3. The great changes start with the little people. Most of the great people in history were simple people, I have a huge belief in the kindness and wisdom of simple men :).

  4. I second that, Unikorna although I have no illusions about the tactics of the corrupt and powerfully entrenched politicians who IAC are trying to weed out. Still, I am looking forward with elation, excitement and hope to the announcement of IAC's new party on 2nd October, 2012.