Corruption Stories – Part 1

I was having a conversation late one night with a few friends and relatives, whom I was meeting after a long time. Inevitably, the topic shifted to politics. One topic that kept coming up was that of corruption – at the high levels and at the low levels. Its pervasiveness has now become so deep and wide that we accept it as part of the operating environment. We are no longer jolted out when we hear stories of corruption.

It was not like this once. It should not have been like this. It need not be like this for the future.

Before we get to that, I want to share some of the stories – big and small. For obvious reasons, I will not put the names – just how it operates. All political parties are guilty of this crime. And every person gets away with it.  Over time, the system is such that the honest people are almost weeded out of the system.

6 thoughts on “Corruption Stories – Part 1

  1. “honest people are almost weeded out of the system” – very well said, Rajesh.

    This need not be so. This is our country. We make it in our own image. We can change the leaders. That’s what it will take. Nothing less.

  2. Co-incidence. Have been thinking about this for the last few weeks on “Why is the Indian govt system rotten with corruption” – look fwd to your thoughts.

  3. Dear Rajesh,

    Been a while!, I guess the issue of corruption has been coming up lately a lot because of the CWG fiasco, I think corruption is around from forever across the globe but isn’t prevalent across the board like we have it here in India.

    Until I and others like me don’t see something strong done about this I don’t think we would take this issue seriously. I look at it practically which is unfortunate but it is the truth, if I want to get something done and if the quicker way is to bribe then so be it!! I’m not going to go fight it alone to me thats stupid.

    I think its not possible for a small group of people to fight it. Till I don’t see the guy on top take serious action on this I don’t see it changing.

    It something that is even more accepted I think with the yesteryear business generation its almost like its wisdom 🙂 pay and smile!

    I might sound cynical but till they don’t reform the system on the ground first until then its just going to be the same.


    Satyam Bachani.

  4. I am following yours and Atanu’s blog on related topics

    Kudos to you guys for taking the initiative.

    Few thoughts [ inspired by some of my recent classes in marketing, competitive strategy and game theory that I naively want to see being used 🙂 ]- I will try to keep it brief

    1. Smart and extremely creative marketing campaigns can sometimes completely change the perceptions. Such campaigns are rare but have made huge successes possible. The reason I am bringing this up here is because I feel that changing people’s perceptions on this topic is really the key here along with well laid out plans and hence it is relevant. With online video sharing and content generation becoming so cheap and easy, I feel that marrying this with say X-prize type of model will be a great idea. X-prize for the most innovative advertisement/public interest message (could be “home made”) that will inspire people in India and make them aware of fundamental flaws in terms of governance, corruption or what ever we pick as the top priority topic and guidelines around that

    2. I am sure you guys must have gone through this thinking (especially knowing Atanu’s background), but creating say 5-10 scenarios based on game theory on what will be the reaction of people and the existing political parties on the UVI or similar such initiative would help foresee the problems. Again on crowd sourcing type of a model, one question is that can this process be made “open” (X-prize) for people to participate and the goal of the game will be to collaboratively come-up with strategies against the current political parties’s incentives to make the right decisions for the country.

    Hopefully you see where I am going with this.

    Keep up the good work.

  5. I agree with Sanjeev that what is needed is change in leadership. But as leadership emerges out of the population (yes, even dictators only reflect the will of the people), what is needed is a change in how people understand reality and how they react to that understanding.

    Our task is to understand why corruption exists (which I have argued is primarily due to the ability to control something), and then chalk a way out of it. I think it was that ancient philosopher Diogenese who was asked how can a citizen be honest. His answer was “make him a citizen of a honest state.” State honesty precedes individual honesty, but state honesty is a reflection of the collective honesty of the citizens.


  6. Manish has identified one of the core issues, namely, how to change people’s perspective. Marketing people know this very well. They sell soaps and shampoos but their techniques apply equally in the political sphere.

    I believe the technique of how to get a message accepted by a population is well-known. The larger issue is which message should be conveyed. We have to marry the message and the channels of distribution. The traditional media presents one set of channels which include magazines, books, pamphlets, newspapers, TV, and radio. Then there are the channels provided by the internet.

    The message has to be packaged well. Content creation is the key in that respect. If sufficient attention is given to content creation, then the cost of distribution can be very low — because available social networks will virally spread the message.

    Our challenge is to create that message which will go viral.