1990 – That was when I recall making my first STD call. I remember my dad taking me to a phone booth. The guy operating the booth could decide if he wanted to connect my call – I had to pay him extra else the line would be “busy”. I did.
1995 – I remember understanding the train ticket booking system. You went to an “agent”. You gave him 10% per ticket or Rs.250 whichever is higher. He went inside the booking chamber in the station and paid a percentage to the operator who then booked the ticket. It was long time later I realized that it was NOT how you booked tickets and that what we did actually constituted to paying a “bribe”.
2000 – I remember opening my own bank account. I thought I would be required to pay an “opening charge” to an introducer – to my surprise (a pleasant one) – bribe was no longer the norm. The bank account still exists.
2005 – I buy my first mobile phone and can make calls at any time of the day – including STD. I ‘message’ for free.
2010 – I pay my taxes online. There is no “tax for paying tax”.
And they say, corruption has increased over the past years. The scale of corruption might have increased. The 2G scam – well I will refrain from giving it a number – the amount is quoted to be far above my comprehension – seems to be the biggest scam ever in the Indian History. But is it more than the cumulative “charge” taken by that “STD operator” across India? And so on and so forth…
The point I'm trying to make is that while the scale of corruption might seem to have increased, it has become extremely concentrated. The system is more open and “reform” – the same reform that many “activists” claim is the root of evil in today’s society – has reduced corruption at the grass-root level. Why do I bother if A Raja garnered the
Anna Hazare might go to jail for fighting against corruption – and many on FB might “like” it or “attend” the “Aug 15th event against corruption” – I will continue to live my usual life knowing I’m paying my taxes – and JUST THAT. Yes, my money might be going to a pocket of an “undeserving individual” whose only qualification is that he is an uneducated MLA/MP – but as I theorized long time back – any money making dupes someone else – so in essence – everyone is corrupt! Don’t go so hard on Raja because he made more money than you – that is not anti-corruption – that I call ‘envy’.
P.S: On second thought, oh yeah, prosecute him – get the black money back – that will mean people will have more money – but oops – the prices of common goods might have just gone up by the same amount by the time – and even if they don’t – who doesn’t ever want more money! :D