Reduction in corruption! Babus are very worried!

There is a very interesting news item today in the Business Standard, with the heading – “Decline in corruption complaints, worries Vigilance Commission”

Briefly stated, the problem would appear to be that people are not complaining about corruption to the Vigilance Commission in Gujarath. The commission may be worried that perhaps this trend if, allowed to continue, will result in the commission being wound up!

There can be no other reason for it to get worried and asking the home department of Gujarat government and the Anti Corruption Bureau to take serious note of the fall in the number of complaints against corruption. It has further asked the government to take such steps as necessary to encourage people to report about corruption in public departments. What should the general public do? Go around pleading with local babus to become corrupt?

One would have thought, that this is good news about good governance! That corruption is showing a downward trend should be a matter for celebration.

It is typical of our babus that it has become a cause for worry! There could be two reasons for this worry. One, the fear of loss of, shall we say, business or occupation or two, more likely, politics!

For those non-Indian readers of my posts, a babu is euphemism for a bureaucrat. In colonial days, this used to refer to someone who was educated, but now it is used more to express disgust with our small minds in big jobs.

Bihar, My Bihar!

I am a Bihari by qualification. By that, what I mean as an unusual definition is that my educational qualification at graduate level is from Bihar. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts from the Bhagalpur University, Bihar, which then was one of the better universities offering distance education. Another one was the Utkal University in Orissa.

I chose Bhagalpur as for me it was more convenient to visit and write, selection and final examinations there. I passed out with a higher second division. A respectable if not very good passing grade. For all my American readers, Class and division are the equivalents of your grading system. First being equivalent to the As in your system and Fail being the equivalent of your D.

Be that as it may, the education and the degree were good enough to get me admission into India’s premier school of management and the rest, as they say is history.

I was proud to be an honorary Bihari and till to date, have very fond memories of my association with Bihar. I have traveled extensively in that state and have some wonderful friends there. Most of them however have immigrated to other states for a livelihood and that is another story altogether.

Bihar today, is a joke. Two jokes that are very popular are as follows:

1. To settle the dispute between Pakistan and India, we should tell Pakistan that they can have Kashmir if they will agree to take Bihar also.
2. A visiting Japanese mission exploring investment possibilities in Bihar, offered to help the then Chief Minister of Bihar that, if they were allowed to run Bihar’s affairs for three years, they would make Bihar into another Japan. The CM promptly retorted that if he were given three days to run Japan, he would make Japan into another Bihar.

Bihar today is a pathetic state though the present Chief Minister is trying just about everything to get it back to its original state of glory and prosperity. I doubt that the other politicians will let him do it. Today, thanks to mismanagement, the worst flooding in the history of India has taken place in Bihar and hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and are home and food less. The Indian Army is the only organized body capable of providing help there and thankfully the local administration has agreed to it.

What prompts this rant is the story that appeared in the BBC today. It is about a speeding bus running over people on the roadside watching a film and killing 18 and injuring many others. The local police have seized the bus, but the driver is absconding. Please read this

Firstly, only in Bihar will it be possible to conduct a film show without any safety precautions on the road side, as part of a religious festival and secondly, only in Bihar will it be possible for a bus to go at a speed at which, it is unable to stop such an accident from taking place. It is also only in Bihar that the driver of the bus can be “absconding”, well after the accident took place.

What a sorry state of affairs. I as a taxpayer, object to our tax money going from the federal pool to subsidize this horrendous state of affairs in Bihar. This will be the only way that we can force them into some prudent governance. I hope that other Indians reading this will do something about it. I intend writing to my MP.