India is not corrupt….by Pritish Nandy

Scams, scams, scams. Wherever you look, there are scams. So many in fact that people are losing faith in everything. Unless you are a cynic and say, as many do, that corruption rules India with a firmer hand than any Government, you must be disgusted to see how everyone in power has been looting India. A Report on Global Financial Integrity last week says $462 billion has been siphoned out since Independence, most of it derived from corruption and kickbacks.

Now I am the kind of person who can’t even figure how many zeroes there are in $462 billion but it certainly looks like an astonishingly large figure. In my time, we went after Rajiv for the Rs 64 crore Bofors scam and, even though we knew the actual amount purloined was much more, it was never in the league of today’s scams. The CWG scam is Rs 70,000 crore and growing. The 2G scam is Rs 170,000 crore. Yes, I am learning how to count the zeroes but maths is not the issue here. It’s probity. Has it finally deserted us? Is everyone a chor, as an unknown Indian tweeted me the other day? His exact words were: Sab saala chor.

Now that’s something I find hard to believe. Even after three decades of tough, no-nonsense journalism where I have seen and met every kind of rogue and rascal, I still believe this is not true. India is not a corrupt nation. We are not a corrupt people. No, this is not wishful thinking. It’s based on the kind of people I meet every day in the course of my work. Most Indians are honest, hard working. They try very hard to live out their lives in difficult circumstances, whatever our GDP growth may be and the stock market indices may show. Life is not easy for most of them. Yet they demonstrate exemplary courage, dignity, faith.

But what lets them down is the ruling elite, the 10% India which grabs all the loot. They are the ones in control everywhere and they are so supremely networked that it’s almost impossible for the rest to break into that club of bandits and robber barons. Look around you and you will see it everywhere. It’s this 10% India that manipulates politics and policy, and protects each other when the chips are down. They are all connected to each other as in a feudal protectorate. And even in rare cases where they are not, there are enough pimps around, to help them schmooze. That’s why parties change, leaders change, voting patterns change but no one can break the nexus of the corrupt. They are all partners in crime even as they throw muck at each other in Parliament. Occasionally, when they are caught with their hand in the till, they are allowed to melt away. They are never punished.

Supporting this exclusive club in politics is a bunch of venal bureaucrats. They have no political affiliations. They switch sides in a blink. They sense where power lies and they inveigle their way there, to make their own fortunes as well as the fortunes of their Teflon-clad political bosses. Sure, there are many bureaucrats I have known who are honest, upright, impossible to corrupt. But most of them live a difficult life. Some suffer silently, waiting for retirement or better postings. Others quit the service. A few have risked standing up to their political bosses and paid heavily for it.

The same is true for businessmen. A large number of Indian businessmen may not exactly be models of great rectitude but the exact opposite is also true. There are many hardworking entrepreneurs, many amazing professionals who have created world class companies that do us proud. But the tragedy is that The System, the netas and babus, compel them to make compromises they could otherwise avoid. Some are brave enough to refuse and bear the consequences. Others succumb. Scared, many squirrel away their money overseas because they don’t know when the next bolt from the blue will strike. As a result, illicit outflows from India today account for 72% of the underground economy.

Everyone knows that if we bring this money back, every Indian will have a job, no one will starve, no one will have to pay taxes, and not just MPs, we would all get free medical facilities and pension. But the tragedy is: This will never happen because the entire money secretly banked overseas belongs to the 10% India that rules over us and they see no risk in keeping it there.

While we, the 90%, may keep protesting, there’s no clear road map as yet emerging on how to take on this 10% India and seize back what is rightfully ours. After all, Gandhi fought and died for us. So did Subhash Bose and many others. Why must we allow a tiny bunch of fellow Indians to take away this nation from us? Why should we live with the disgusting moniker, Sab saala chor?




156 Responses to “India is not corrupt….by Pritish Nandy”

  1. Its really a very sad state of affairs.Because of those one in ten,that are only benevolent to their community or group,the whole nation has suffered and still is in a precarious situation in this respect.What Gandhi and others did was for the betterment of their nation and will always be remembered,but what these ill-demeanored people are up to is certainly not acceptable.

    No country is free from corruption.It exists in some form or the other.Mr.Nandy here has made a very beautiful point,that if the 10% which has illegally been smuggled out comes back,no poor will sleep without food.Actually,there should not be any concept of scarcity as such.Its an invention of economics.God has made nothing more and nothing less.Everything has a reason to be.But the problem is its proper allocation.Had we have found out a solution to this,the scarcity concept would have joined the pages of history or may even would have disappeared totally………..

  2. Lakshmi Jag Says:

    I love this as it is more positive..90% are good people and who knows that happiness is not money in swiss banks but life we live here. Everybody goes and I hope nobody has to die like Dr. Rajasekhar Reddy, a horrible death where even his body was not found, all that money he accumulated in the banks of no use to recover his body or stop the accident.

    • Yes Lakshmi. Great example. You can add Pramod Mahajan to the list too. Unfortunately, 100% of the 10% ( the wheeler dealers, movers and shakers ) are scums calling the shots which leaves the remaining 90% totally jaded. Even I for one do not feel inclined it is a good idea to pay my taxes which are being burped by this 10%, a dangerous thought for those who think like me and will forever be in the 90%.

  3. Sharmila,

    You can tell Pritish Nandy, this is the state of the rest of the 90%… specially the second verse… not being corrupt leads to this…

  4. Nope.. no luck.. it is diverting to en_US… try one last time without that…

  5. does that 10% cover all bureaucrats,politicians,Industrialists and other elitists..!?
    If so…why 90% get together and kick those 10% out..!?
    It’s a sad event ….a commoner has to sleep empty stomach because of faulty governance who forget conveniently about equal distribution and let those grains rot in and out the storage places.
    “India is not corrupt”…(but most Indians are ) corruption has been adapted as an important part of the system…which is a bad thing and confirms its long lasting stay over…for ever….shall i say…!?
    PPl are so much into it that when they come here to US or the other countries… they try it their too try to rot the system there….
    A couple in one state got caught polluting the system…bribing police officers indulging them into illegal activities is a recent case.

  6. Sharmila, Aishwarya, MonaLisa, Shubha, Saurabh and all,

    My vacations have run out of time. I am returning to my desert today.

    From tomorrow India will be my country again. It always looks better from a distance.

    Missed posting my travelogues of Hosur and the trysts with destiny during my stay at the Residency and shopping for a C# Bamboo flute at the Brigade Road in BLR.

    Hosur is a wonderful place and the space I have is right in the middle of an SEZ. Absolute gold mine!

    But about that and BLR another day and another time when opportunity presents…

  7. Aishwarya, MonaLisa, Sharmila, Lakshmi, Shubha (Where is?) and all,

    I am back to my work place. The vacation went like a breeze.

    Back to work, back to being useful. I have spent almost 2 weeks’ salary in the escapade. So, it’s time to put the head down, focus and earn it back.

    India is the best destination for a colorful vacation – spend all you can for all you want and have a regal outing!

    But somehow I feel more at home here than in India. Perhaps because I know the roads, I know the people, I don’t need to stand or stare or ask.

    Someday, when I retire and return to India, I’ll know enough about that place too, enough to live without attracting Money Mees, I mean Honey Bees…

    • Thanks for updating us all on your travel, it was most colorful! enjoy work !( if you can that is )

    • I have always wondered if an NRI would be as content if their country of domicile had no trace of Indianness… Would the calm of the foreign locale away from the chaos of India seem as inviting even then?

  8. Aishwarya, Sharmila & Anand (What a song!)

    Yeh andhere mujhe iss liye hai pasand; iss mein saya bhi apna dikhaai na de!

    Aish, pray tell me, what is Indian-ness?

    I am not a trader or a merchant. I do not look with wonder at the economic activity in India even if it is moving at an unprecedent pace!

    I am not a poet or a moralizer. I do not play chess with my feelings.

    I am not a representative of a society, community or a state. I do not even represent a family!

    I am not a mouth-piece or a reporter. I am not a mind reader. I do not voice the missions of investors, coteries or corporates.

    I am a person who is trying to be comfortable within my own skin, not outside it.

    If that is un-Indian and an NRI indicator, so be it.

    • Indian-ness.

      That we arrive on foreign land, and our eyes impulsively search for an Indian face in the crowds.

      That most NRI stylish suitcases are bursting at its seams with excess baggage because we carry as much ‘India’ in it to last us until our next visit home.

      That after the newness of the place and its culture wears off, we long for desi khana.

      That we sit in a flashy car, and the first thing we do is play Indian music.

      That at the end of the day, we are only trying to earn enough to be comfortable in India some day.

      That no matter how ‘non-resident’ we are, we remain Indians…


      I hope one day every Indian feels more at home in India than anywhere else in the world.

      Or may be thats just me and my wishful thinking…may be I am wrong…

  9. Retro repeat

  10. For a companion, I would settle for someone like Nutan in this song:

  11. Ofcourse, if someone with real wealth, called like this who wouldn’t come back! 🙂

  12. Unfortunately, unlike the dream sequence above, the reality in the forests and fragile hills of Muddumalai and Mysore is currently like this:

  13. Embedding disabled? Here is the enabled version… I have found a way around these blockers… copy paste just the link in the address bar…

  14. Ofcourse, I won’t wait forever…

  15. A fab composition of Naushad.. 3 verses 3 different tunes… one theme…

  16. Aur agar seedhi ungali se ghee na nikale toh hum tedhi ungali se nikaal lete hain.. 🙂

  17. Aishwarya,

    NRI or not… who cares… aapka kya hoga?

  18. You changed the subject!!! 😦

    • Did I??

      My question of whether an Indian abroad would be as content if there wasnt anything remotely Indian there was unanswered…

      Hum toh ‘Indian-ness’ mein atak gaye…


      • During the Civil War between the two Americas, the General said to his soldiers, “Wherever you are, be there!”

        In the same way, a part of India resides everywhere there is an Indian…

      • True…and a perfect quote too…

  19. Anand Khare Says:


    Thanks for responding. This song is one of my favorite songs and I hum it on my way return from Intl airport in New Delhi after seeing off my younger brother whenever he leaves for US where he is a citizen.I felt the same when u said u are leaving India.

    I also wish (as Aishwarya said) that very soon our own country India i.e. Bharat becomes as comfortable and as remunerative as the rest of the world so that committed and competent people remain here.



    Gazab song for Aishwarya is appropiate.Remembering presnt comment.


    Yet another scam unearthed in India today. Pls don’t give credit to media this time.It is CBI who did it now.


  20. Anand,

    Going by Rekha’s quotes, I think the title “Big B” was intended to mean Big Bang!

    I think Silsila is a bit off-beat. The on-screen chemistry between AB and Rekha is better in this one:

  21. Good Morning all,

    Who is taking the attendance?

  22. Sharmila, MonaLisa, Aishwarya, Anand, Shubha (Where is?), Lakshmi and all,

    It’s a weekend here and a Royal Guest is in Town. Practically all the main roads and arteries are blocked. I am going to stay indoors rather than find a by-pass.

    Shall spend some time on the net while browsing and downloading updates for my research.

    Meanwhile, I was searching last night for one clip that could say exactly everything that AB’s persona reflected in it’s influence and character. I found one in two parts. Here they are:

    Part I

    Part II

  23. Anand Khare Says:


    Rekha is the only co-star who gave Amitabh Bachchan a challenge when he was at the helm. She was the only co-star who had her own fan following when no other actor was noticed in movies Amitabh was protagonist.

    Check this,


  24. Anand,

    Agree. Bhanurekha Ganeshan aka Rekha was senior to AB on the silver screen. From Tamil to Hindi, from a child artist to lead, she had done it all long before the Big Bang.

    Here is a song of the pair. Compare AB’s similar songs with other female leads like Zeenat, Parveen etc. The comfort level is obvious…

  25. Anand Khare Says:


  26. Anand,

    Satyam eva jayate…

  27. Anand Khare Says:

    Both are lovable and destined.It is a pity that you cant live with everyone you loved in one life.Or may be it is good that it is not that way and love and good memories remain somewhere and never stales.;).


  28. Anand,

    Perhaps that… or perhaps there is no space in AB’s world… Rekha may live with her memories for as long as she wants… but she can never find a spot in AB’s montage or decoupage…

  29. Anand,

    Just making the point again: Even his unauthorized biographer’s give Rekha a miss.

  30. Anand Khare Says:

    May be…and I understand he doesn’t drink.Otherwise he could have experimented with this exploding cocktail.

    why I am not able to embed videos,Sharmilaji?


  31. Anand Khare Says:

    I would rather wait for his auto/official biography to come. His father has very candidly admitted in his autobiography some of the slippages in his life. He also mentioned about some girls in AB’s pre-marital life.

    AB is more diplomatic according to his stature.Let us see how he fares up.I am sure he has many stories to tell much more than what he writes in his official blog.Is there any book on Rekha’s life?But why I am so much interested.I should let them live partner.


  32. Anand – Not sure why you cannot embed? I have not tampered with the settings..

  33. Sharmila, Anand,

    I can tell – for a small fee. Please call Nira Radia for further details… 🙂

    Okay, kidding… here is the game:

    The embedd button below the display is not working for some reason.

    So, select the link in the address bar which is http: // www. youtube. com / watch?v=etcetcetcetc

    Simply paste the link in this text box, the clip displays if it is not disabled by the owner.

    You can check if it is disabled or not by clicking on the embedd button. If it is disabled, the embed code does not appear.

  34. Central Bureau of Investigation, New Delhi, India

    Performance from January 2010 to October 2010

    Number of cases registered: 862

    Investigatiosn completed: 884

    Cases Charge sheeted: 651

    Investigation in progress: 949

    Cases pending trial in courts: 9900

  35. Reality Bytes;

    On an application form for admission to a famous Open University:

    Proof of Age:

    1. Horoscope and affidavit are not accepted as proof of age.

  36. Anand Khare Says:

    Thanx Reader,

    I will try the trick tomorrow.

    Nira Radio is an old style now.The latest is some IAS who nicknamed comission as prasad,ladoo etc.



  37. Good Morning,

    Woke up a little later than usual. Restive and sleepless all night.

    I see that the Sun has already gone past my window, the time has ticked away.

    Have I missed anything good, necessary, important or nice to know? Have I ever?

    Feels like I am still on a vacation. Guess I’ll start working for anything worth something in the next world, next life, if at all! This one is wasted anyway.

  38. I can express everything in music and song… when the moment is right… waiting for the moment is boring part…

  39. Only, don’t ask me “Quo Vadis, Reader?”… Frankly, I don’t know…

  40. Hum yahan pe ek chota sa break lete hain… bas yun gaye aur yun aaye… tab tak… aap jahan bhi hai… laut aayi ye…

  41. The tea gardens of Ooty are the best place to sing sweet nothings…

  42. Living-on-the-edge is the fun…

  43. Life or death, how does is it matter? A journey is only a journey…

  44. There should be a limit for how many doors and windows are allowed on a house!

  45. ??? What is UMG?

  46. Testing this UMG thingy…

    • Okay got it. Clips are rated. One of the rating is UMG.. Does not play on a site unless it is reported “Mature”… cool.. thats good…

  47. I need to buy a jeep and the rest of jigs and fixtures like those in this song… the roads and sceario is still exactly the same as it was 50 years ago!!!

  48. Two songs of different times… same theme… same subject… different treatments…

    I. The ’60s

  49. 2. The ’90s

  50. Another pair. Two songs… same theme.. same subject… different treatment..

    I. From the ’60s

  51. 2. From the ’80s

  52. And all this jhamela for what? This is what happens when one gets too distracted. The same words get addressed to the wrong ID…

  53. Anand Khare Says:

    Good Morning.

    Trying to paste a video link as taught by Reader.

    This song is very appropriate for today’s biggest challenge corruption. Perhaps it was written in days of partition.



  54. Anand Khare Says:

    It didn’t work….

  55. Anand,

    It works from my pc… simply copy paste the address link in the address bar! Same as you have done in the first entry.. wonder why it didn’t work…

  56. Hi Sharmila,

    How are you? Saw ‘Naan Mahaan Alla’ recently and loved it… Karthik seems to have carved a niche for himself in the industry like his bro, Surya…

    Awaiting a new post…something light and sweet…candyfloss…:)



  57. Sharmila, Anand,


    I feel, we are such a diverse and divided nation that if one can find a person from each era and period of human history in some part somewhere.

    There are people, as in the Satyuga, who’ll die for their dharma if offered any other option. They cannot imagine anything else.

    There are people who’ll manipulate dharma, karma, artha and moksha like Krishna in the Mahabharata.

    There are people who’ll trash everything in the nature of values till nothing is left except their own whims and fancies.

    There are people who survive on other peoples sacrifices and broad mindedness.

    There are people who are cold, mean and calculative.

    There are people who merely live by reacting to impulses and situations.

    There are competitive people who live in anticipation, trying to outdo their own expectations and those of others.

    There are creative people who live out of the box.

    A corrupt person may not show any symptoms in the beginning. But give a situation and record his/her responses, one can easily make out an honest one from a corrupt one.

    Speaking for myself, I consider collectivism, both the political and the cuckoo types, to be singularly corrupt in intent, objectives and actions.

  58. Anand Khare Says:

    ‘Cheeni’ kum Indian jyada-good for me ( Above 40).

  59. Oops..

  60. My new post will be out shortly…

  61. Anand Khare Says:

    Aayegi zaroor chitthi tere naam kee.

  62. Sharmila,

    Waiting for your new post… jiffy?

  63. The following song has a little story behind it. One of my batch mates tried to sing this onsg on the stage during our annual gathering. During the rehearsals she was singing it so fast that the guys on the percussion instruments were finding it difficult to keep up. So I suggested she should count 1 and 2 between each line. She did well during the practice sessions.

    On the stage, however, something went wrong. She started nicely with Ja-a re, ja-a re ud ja re panchi-i, and then counted loudly “1 and 2”, and went on hawaon ke desh ja-a re…

  64. Great video – introduced by the maestro Madan Mohan himself (captured from a radio program)…

  65. Watch Ratan Tata speak on the 2G scam, tomorrow at 0930 pm Indian Time on NDTV.

    Very sensible statements.

    Government should stop acting like a banana republic.

    The media should stop castigation and character assassinations

    The current dust being raised about the 2G scam is a smoke screen to cover the real issues – such as hoarding of the spectrum (It’s outdated now as I had said in my spoof)

    11 days of a suspended parliament, 75% of the MPs are asking for a JPC but Madam Sonio wouldn’t budge. So much for the anti-corruption drive!

  66. Hmmm.. what is Sharmila writing about?

  67. Received on chain mail:

    Five pearls of wisdom to remember –

    1. Money cannot buy happiness, but somehow it is more comfortable to cry in a BMW than on a cycle!

    2. Forgive your enemy, but remember the B***h’s face!

    3. Help a man when he is in trouble and he will remember you when he is trouble again!

    4. Many people are alive only because it is illegal to shoot them!

    5. Alcohol doesn’t solve any problems, but then neither does milk!

    Have a great weekend…

  68. Good Morning,

    Rush…rush… rush… gotta reach office early… first day of the week…

    But there is always time for a song… catch you all later…

  69. Anand Khare Says:


    Funny anecdote. I imagined the situation and enjoyed it more.

    I also remember something connected with the song ‘ sawan ko aane do’ that you shared above. One of my hostelmates was a wonderful parody maker.He reinvented this one as ‘main tumko nahalaunga sabun ko aane do’.

    HMS was one of our favourite movie in childhood. Watched several times. Now I wonder who was the saathi, Ramu or Tanuja.


  70. Anand,

    On hind-sight, it was fun. One of our lead guitarists was a specialist at the “Loco Motion” instrumentals (without the lyrics), and immediately after her song, he switched to the fast track, asking the drummers to go as hard and fast as they could. The crowd went berserk.

    Stage fright and butterflies. Poor girl went berserk after she counted loudly on the mike “1-2” and then there were tears and shaking and wide-eyed stares. She finished the song well, about as good as anyone can do with a Lata original.

    The love of music can do wonders… In fact, Love does wonders. Period.

  71. The following year she came back for the selections. There was a rather polite silence when she walked in. She was one of our professor’s daughter and she had this unfortunate belief that her voice resembled Lata.

    She offered to sing this song. There was an almost instant objection from all the musicians… it’s easy to guess why…

  72. After a lot of cajoling and convincing she agreed to do a duet with one of the better singers, a peppy RD number from a movie called “Caravan”… here it is… It got several whistles, roars and rapturous encores… she came back all smiles.. (and, I believe, completely mislead her into believing that she was a star in the making!)

  73. She was the female Amitabh Bachchan in the music group. A sort-of ferocious cat off-stage, till the moment of reckoning on the stage when she took the count 1-2-3-4…

    Like a coconut.. all hard outside and all soft inside… fighting with everyone and everything… the following scene of AB always reminds me of that girl… expression, tone et al… (except the voice pfcourse… she thought she was Lata…)

  74. I must apologize for not putting up my post as yet. The day has been a bit crazy but in a jiffy is all I can say again 🙂

  75. Anand Khare Says:


    I thought you posted the post in a postbox by mistake.:).

    Waiting to know what is on your mind.I hope u’ve sold out all LIC housing finance stocks.I did within half an hour of breaking of news.


  76. Anand Khare Says:


    Interesting.PROF’S daighter.I can understand the pain.

    One of my boss’s wife had the similar confusion.That was more terrible than ur situation.One cant even a smile. And u need to request for one more song as courtsey.If she is in mood she might go for a semi classical.


  77. Anand,

    Those were fine days. I was a brat myself. Something that I carried forward from my school days. 🙂

  78. Scenes like the following were very common at home, with me, my dad and mom:

  79. Ofcourse those days are gone now. All of them have left one at a time… I have not grown out of it or grown up in the real sense… only grown older…

  80. Sharmila,

    Don’t post anything interesting today.

    I have promised myself that I’ll clear the 6214 mails in the inbox that have accumulated over the last 2 weeks.

    People have started calling me up and asking. I just told one of them I am ‘doing better things’.

    Sometimes I have this strange suspicion that my office manager (old mallu friend) is snooping on my PC with the help of the IT Admin.

    I have out-marshalled him this time. I logged in with his username and password!

  81. Received on chain mail just now:

    In an unprecedent turn-around Arundhati Roy has withdrawn the women’s rights petition filed by her.

    Earlier Ms Arundhati had sued the Bihar government for discrimination against women.

    However, she withdrew her charges today after the government issued a correction to it’s advertisement, which reads as follows:

    Errata: The second line in the conditions for recruitment shall read:

    Candidates without proper testimonials need not apply.

  82. Stop me if If I have said this before.

    I hate to work and earn money. What a colossal waste of precious time! Imagine working for money! How mean and selfish!

    I wish I could find some starry-eyed, altruistic, beautiful girl who would declare me an endangered species and take care of all my needs! I’d feel like a Tiger!

    Hmmm.. may be I should stop waiting on the promises and do something about it myself…

    I’ll open an NGO – Save the Reader – and while the donations keep pouring in, I’ll grow a six-pack and that long pending beard…

    Ma, I don’t wanna work for money!!!! 😦 😦 Waaaaaaa……

    PS: This entry is written from the office… 😛 … just getting even with my employers…

  83. Life is here and now… Just one moment at a time… What is tomorrow?

    Who knows…

    Kal aur aayenge, nagmon ki
    Khilti kaliyan chunane waale

    … … … Others will be here tomorrow, who will
    … … … Collect the flowering buds of new songs

    Mujhase behetar kehne waale,
    Tumase behetar sunne waale,

    … … … Those who say it better than me
    … … … Those who hear better than you

    Kal koi mujhako yaad karen
    Kyo koi mujhako yaad karen

    … … … Tomorrow someone remember me,
    … … … Why should anyone remember me?

    Masroof zamaana mere liye
    Kyo waqt apna barbaad karen

    … … … Why should this busy era
    … … … Waste its time on me?

    Mayn pal do pal ka shayar hun…

    … … … I am just a moment’s poet


  84. In the pinewood trees..

  85. When I visited Hosur this time, there was a cow grazing behind the plot in the coconut plantations. Close to her, in a small shed made out of dried coconut leaves there were two calves ruminating peacefully.

    The placid cow looked up at me calmly in between her busy-ness of mowing the lawn. I smiled. After all, she was on home ground.

    For some strange reason, this song came to my mind… (Ofcourse she would never know!)

  86. Aishwarya,

    Why din-ba-din door and window?

    Every day can been brighter than the last… like this one..

  87. Yes… 🙂

    …with the right person…

  88. Hota hai… hota hai… aisi bhi baaten hoti hai…

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