INDIA’S DYSFUNCTIONAL INSTITUTIONS AMIDST A HEADY COCKTAIL OF EXTREME SOCIAL GOOD AND BAD
[Indian democracy needs serious strategic innovations to restructure its institutions with a clearer and appealing national vision to protects its people and society. Indocracy envisions a series of smaller but interdependent ideas in this direction.]
I remember as a young person, hearing a cliché from one of the wise elders of the community. He used to often quip, especially when he struggled to persuade people, that ‘four Indians walk in the same direction only when they carry the fifth one on their shoulders.’
middle class Indians have built a reputation of being highly disagreeable, and
at times even discordant. Yet they are not violent. This is
especially compared to people of most other nationalities. Given the extent and
magnitude of mass poverty, illiteracy and poor state of criminal justice
system, India still appears a less violent society.
Several corporate leaders have maintained during private discussions that there may not be a single major procurement by some of the bigger corporate organisations, where substantial sums of money may not have found its way into some offshore personal accounts or payoffs in kind. Beneficiaries of such kickbacks may not necessarily be politicians or bureaucrats. In many cases, these could be top functionaries of these very private sector entities. Banks and people are there in any case to absorb losses emanating from such underhand payments or siphoning of funds.
Accomplishments of certain sections of Indians in the realm of corruption scandals has been genuinely spectacular. Going way beyond Indian shores, some have earned distinction from Far East to Dubai to Africa, Europe and even parts of North America. What is frightening that such trait is taking over as the wider character of sections of Indian elite. They cannot entirely be blamed. Very often, financial corruption appears the sole or even an unavoidable route for not only upwards economic and social mobility but sheer survival.
In the context of average Indian’s obsession with cricket, one of the retired senior police officers, whom I knew, often used to observe that it did not matter who was playing the game, ‘the key bookie or “match -fixer” was more likely to be an Indian than anyone else.’ It arouses a question: has underhand deal-making become personality trait of sections of the successful Indians?
It is quite logical for these forces to exploit the loopholes or deficiencies of the criminal justice system and other enforcement arms of the state or sabotage and even manipulate these, wherever possible. These forces with their clandestine but formidable clout, are, quite logically, believed to be the biggest impediments to institution of transparent, sturdy and efficient regulatory capacity of Indian state, including a robust criminal justice system.
But sadly, significant sections of compromised Indian elite, across all divides, with serious skeletons in their cupboard, have willy-nilly been their collaborators in a common cause. Many keen observers of India’s private sector have also argued that corruption being a way of life, it has been nearly impossible for leaders with integrity to come up in most domestic segments. These include not only industry and commerce but even politics, media or bureaucracy. Hence, large segments of social and leadership space of India has been polluted beyond points of redemption.
Assault on hapless citizens by sections of arrogant police personnel has been a common sight during the lockdown even though sections within them went way beyond call of duty to help the distressed and needy almost everywhere. All these are manifestations of extreme good and extreme bad coexisting together, with state institutions appearing either a mute spectator or encouraging the latter through their omissions and inabilities.