How to get out of paying a bribe

Bribes : As common as flies and mosquitoes in India.

This pissed me off so much during the Anna Hazare campaign that I hulked out and spewed venom on the keyboard.

So, I was wondering how anyone in India is supposed to get out of paying one. It’s become so common and widespread that you’ll all just laugh and say “ha, ha you’ll get nothing done..this isn’t Sweden”.

True, you know. It’s just something you can’t get out of.

Say for example a guy from BSNL comes over to fix your broadband connection. He asks for 500 bucks after finishing. If you refuse, there’s a chance he may not come back again or he may screw up your connection.

Or if the police man comes over to verify your information for your passport. He asks for money and if you don’t pay him – your passport never comes. If you do pay him, you’re encouraging him to extort money from people for basic services every citizen is entitled to.

So what can anyone do about this mess?

Complaining to his superiors is pointless. They won’t do anything because even they’ve collected bribes at a point. Even if they DO do something, there’s a chance they’ll suspend him for a couple of days and then back he is in “business” again.

Civil servants cannot lose their jobs, ever. I think that law needs to be modified.

Fine, so you can’t complain to his superiors. How about complaining to the Anti Corruption Bureau? Well I doubt if they’ll respond fast enough to come and take action against the erring official who seeks corruption, and I don’t know the nature of this action that they will take, if at all the respond.

So next step is taking things into your own hands. You can record it on video as proof, but his superiors can easily brush it aside as “edited”, because you have nothing to do apart from editing videos of random people.

So prevent that, you can possibly shoot multiple videos at the same time from different angles. It’s difficult to edit multiple videos that are being recorded at the same time just to implicate someone randomly, so if they claim THREE videos containing the same material from different angles are edited, then you may as well bang your head against a wall and hope it becomes sand. Your head, not the wall.

Even if they accept your video as perfectly unedited, their subsequent action will suck.

So we take the next (and sorry) step : bring in more people and call the media. Even ONE cameraman is enough, one sting is enough, it’ll shame the policeman forever.

I think people need to do this actively instead of sitting and accepting everything passively.

“What can we do about it lulz?”

I agree, nothing you or I do will ever amount to anything, but there’s no harm in trying. Or probably there is – but if people actively target, say, the police and collect evidence of them asking for bribes, then any of the following could happen :

  • The police will stop asking for bribes and there will be a crackdown on bribe taking freaks.
  • The police will seek revenge and treat the common man even worse, probably demanding higher bribes, beating up people and randomly jailing people. They may even carry out “encounter” killings, which is just another term for “murder by crazed psychopaths who think they’re above law”.
  • Nothing will change because nothing will happen. People will continue to be passive about it and life goes on, where you have to pay a bribe to get milk, LPG, broadband, TV connection, passport, license etc etc etc.

But seriously, if we tried hard enough, our “frothing at the mouths media” is just waiting for that next big scoop so this can work mutually well.


Oh well. I’m happy living in my own imaginary Utopia. I like to forget about the shitty hellhole that India is becoming, where values are vanishing and money is taking over everyone’s thought process.

Two things are the cause of decline in human values here : anonymity and absence of accountability.

The policeman would not ask you for a bribe if he knew you. To him, you’re just a random person who wants something badly and a profit stands to be made. Also, you don’t know him, so what’s the harm? Everyone does it right?

And that brings us to accountability, or its absence. He knows nothing can happen to him, unless the bribe is a huge amount like 10000 bucks for a passport. It’s just 500, that’s fine, right?

NO its not. Go earn your money and educate your kids so that they wont be part of the police who are poorly paid. This is not how you earn money. You’re a state sponsored thief.

The worst thing is, it’s too bad people are already making the distinction between “cheap bribe” and “costly bribe”. A bribe is a bribe : its wrong. There’s no distinction here.

This is analogous with the infamous “bad Taliban” and “good Taliban” distinction that POTUS Obama made.

If it’s bad, its bad. There’s no relative grading, especially when it involves something you’ve worked hard to earn.

If you know other ways to get out of paying bribes, comment below please.

If you’re interested, go and check out and read the stories of the numerous Indians who are disgusted with this whole paying bribes thing.

Posted on May 26, 2011, in Personal Musings. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. This topic is really pissing me off. Its all because of the stupid good for nothing government. We have so much potential. SO MUCH. We’ve got enough money to settle all our foreign debts and still make large scale improvement. Bloody politicans are eating up all our money. If only it can be stopped. Grrr!!!! :X :X :X

  2. Look. Policemen are humans too. Its not easy staying out in the hot sun all day. The government should improve wages and provisions for the police. The guy stands around on some road with vehicles pushing out smoke in his face. He obviously must think he deserves better. I’m not supporting bribes taking/giving but. If they had something better maybe they wouldn’t feel like taking money from ppl. Citizens can’t be this selfish. Somebodys got to do the dirty work and their doing it. Maybe its time the government woke up and treated them better. Stop talking like their all scum or something. 😐 😡

    • wisetongue19

      before you say anything else, a bunch of policemen arrested a 3rd year IIT-b student randomly at a railway station. they searched his bag (without a warrant or sufficient cause). they accused him of having porn on his phone, and were unable to show proof when he asked them to show said porn. also, having porn on ur phone isnt illegal – its illegal only when its displayed publicly. they took 2000 bucks from him, took him to the atm and took 5000 more. he went to IIT and complained to his dean who complained to the GRP head who gave back all the money + 1000 bucks as apologies for the “inconvenience”.
      note two things here :
      1) your argument of policemen being innocent angels are fail, because this is a blatant misuse of their uniform to achieve what ends i dont know. even if their salaries are pathetic, they cant extort money from common citizens.
      2) also, before you start saying im generalizing all policemen – that’s what i am doing. if the majority of the police is bad, then the police itself is bad because “bad” is above average and “bad” is more prevalent.
      this isn’t relevant to the topic, but im debunking your utopian views simply because i am bored 😀
      3) they returned all this money only because they were up against some moderately powerful and educated people who would have possibly shamed them in public. if this was poor people who these guys extorted money out of, nothing significant would have happened.
      the police anywhere in india isnt good. theyre used to the shit they do and people bowing down to their maximumdickery, and i feel people join the police because of the power it gives you rather than trying to actually protect the good people from, you know, bad people.

      • lol.
        Policememn have done much worse than steal money. They rape and plunder too. read the papers wisetongue.

        1. I didn’t call them angels or whatnot. All I’m saying is its a shitty job with no gratitude. Yes they misuse their power but anybody ever thought why.. For all the huffing and puffing you’re doing I’m sure you wouldn’t pick up a stick put on a uniform and go sit in a station and deal with hooligans.

        2. I was generalizing too cuz I’ve never actually heard of a good policeman.

        3. Thats obvious. WHO THE FUCK would want to be a policeman in our country willingly?? They do it for the benefits.. And yes misuse them. But somebodys got to do it!
        You think there aren’t kids out there who dream of being policemen out of innocence. They’re told stuff and eventually the stigma and the bad reputations are rubbed in and the kids are forced off course. But some do it. A deal needs to be struck. Something! Talk it out. Ask them what they want.

        Again. This is all the governments job. ONE MAJOR REASON why the police suck is beacuse politicians prefer to keep them that way.

        If anything, one thing these politicians can do is divide and conquer.

        A balance needs to be struck. Certain things are easier in the West for a lot fo reasons.
        India will obviously take its insane amount of time to develop. Till then. We shall yell all we want.

        • wisetongue19

          you know what, i agree with you. the politicians are responsible for this. the policemen have horrible conditions. nothing they do is justified. on the same tone, nothing they do is appreciated. they’re doing a thankless job and trying to make best out of it.

    • Want a bribe? Ask those who are bribed 😛
      Theoretically, I mean (poor) cops can do their job and earn extra cash by asking for a bribe, threatening their higher officials.
      Innocent citizens are free. Policemen do their job (In a way), the guys who get more bribe get a taste of their own medicine. All in one 😀

  3. News channels have done crackdowns already. EVERYBODY knows that this thing is deep rooted. We need to do something hard and forceful. Like better wages and working conditions for policeman. They’re humans after all. Its a vicious circle. We need to set it all right.. Lord knows how.. 😡

  4. Dude, you got me thinking, how bout askin the media channels to send a sms with the official’s name and occupation who took the bribe to them and they could possibly display the jerk offs with the highest tally…by the day…or Even by the Hour..

Ok now say something. It's still a democracy in this part of the world.

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