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 ipaidabribe.com and read the stories of the numerous Indians who are disgusted with this whole paying bribes thing.