Babus And Netas.

“The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.”

~ John Steinbeck
babusThe contents of that head lines from one of our papers is unimportant for the purpose of this post, but the two words Netas and Babus is very important.

Steinbeck should be here to assess what is going on in India.  We have not given up on the first but the reaction of ordinary men and women in India to the latter is not love but total abhorrence.  The men who practice sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest certainly love those traits and the two most visible lot are our Netas and Babus.  One lot I am saving for another day is our businessman who is part of the establishment in what has come to be known as our crony capitalism.

Neta in Hindi means leader.  In common usage it is used to denote our politician. And this cartoon tells you how the common people of India view that specimen.

netaMLA stands for Member of Legislative Assembly.  This is the law making body of the state.  MP stands for Member of Parliament.  This is the legislative body of the Center.

Babu in Hindi means Bureaucrat.  And these two cartoons illustrate what we think of them.

bureaucratTainted-Babu-GraphicThese two words today describe the disgust we feel about our leaders and bureaucrats. And that is what the newspaper headlines caught so endearingly.

13 thoughts on “Babus And Netas.”

  1. I remember when many moons ago I mentioned ‘Baksheesh’ and Ashok was impressed that I knew the concept. A concept my father explained and warned me of before I’d so much set a foot into the world.

    The concept – regardless of what you call it (corruption?) – is only too common. At the lower end of the scale you tip your five star hotel’s concierge generously and you will get the best restaurant reservation in town, and his undivided attention for the rest of your stay. At the higher end? Let’s use our imagination. Fact is, money does make the world go round. No matter how much people protest that money can’t buy you happiness. Let’s just say: Money most certainly is no contributing factor to making you ‘unhappy’. Fine difference.

    Bureaucracy? As you know I called it Bureau Crazy. Not least since I fell victim to it about five years ago to the tune of what may as well have been woven in one of Kafka’s novels. Or Orwell’s. It was surreal. Yes, how Bureau Crazy will mess with people’s lives (without the grace to admit they were at fault, never mind an apology). And you know what: If only I could have bought my way out of it I would have done. As it were there was (unfortunately) no hand to take mine or a bribe.

    So, my dear Ramana, what’s your backhander?

    Ursula recently posted..Amuse bouche

    1. Ursula, my back hander is this. Indians from childhood are taught that is absolutely ethical to bribe. They are taught to bribe Gods with promises of all sorts of things including tonsure if their wishes are granted. Then when they grow up, they are taught that they are Gods themselves with statements like Tat Tvam Asi, and decide to become Gods and accept offerings from the hoi poloi.

  2. Looks like a bit of heaven there. Given that Unfettered Capitalism has been discredited and shown to be utterly immoral and rapacious, and Communism is clearly out, Crony Capitalism is clearly the only viable path forward. I am wondering when we will get out own vocabulary for Neta and Babu.
    Looney recently posted..Signs of Spring

  3. I disagree with Looney – unfettered capitalism is amoral. It cares not what happens in the pursuit of profit and in that it is completely without morality. Things appear not so different here actually.

      1. The downside to this is that we must rely on the morality of the capitalists themselves. 2 out of the 3 options are bad – immoral and amoral.

  4. somehow it’s oddly comforting to know that yours is no better than ours.
    that’s a horrible statement to have to make when you think about it.
    but sadly. true.
    tammyj recently posted..clearness of knowing

  5. I know people who just wish they could pay to cut through red tape. It’s not just about money, it can also be about people with good intentions making laws without realizing the consequences.
    Cheerful Monk recently posted..Shared Responsibility

    1. I disagree CM. Our babus who really draft the rules etc do so fully knowing that they should create obstacles so that the under the table income flow increases.

  6. Fortunately bribery at the individual level is still virtually non-existent in the UK, but bribery at the political level is blatant, with large organisations making huge donations to political parties with the obvious expectation of beneficial policies in return.
    nick recently posted..Muck averse

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