{Of all lies, art is the least untrue - Flaubert}

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Back from Home

I went to my hometown and for the first time in 3 years I celebrated diwaali at home. I donot like meeting too many persons when I go home but if you go home during festivals the number of persons you can meet increases. Obviously, it has advantages and disadvantages both. But this time I met more ppl whom I liked interacting with. Most of them were my parents’ friends and there were others too - like the persons I met in the train and at friends’ house. For some time I will be blogging my experiences on my home visit and its very many interpretations.

As I told you, I met lots of papa's friends and mostly being from the business community give lot of respect to the educated sons and daughters of their peers and I too get share of it (deservingly or otherwise) and very often they discuss about their children and the life in general. Two of the papa's friends whom I met and they shared their view with me were Mr. Magendra Singh (Darogaa [Police] Uncle) and Mr Mithan Lal (Mithan Uncle).

Darooga Uncle was our neighbor when I was in class 5 or 6. We lost touch when he got transferred to Aligarh. He is again back to Muzaffarnagar but with lots of pressure to get transferred again to some non preferred location. When I met Uncleji that day he has just out of bed and was smoking ‘Wills’ instead of his old favorite ‘Capstan’. There were other things also that have changed about him. He was not the same tough guy and sounded very bitter at times. His promotion to Inspector is pending for about 3-4 years and according to him frequent change in governments and their policies are the culprits. He is also of the opinion that Thakurs are being neglected in the promotions. He then came to the transfer issue and rationalized taking bribes. He told about the rates of getting/stopping transfers to preferred/not-preferred locations. It depends on areas/Zila/tahseel/thaanaa etc.., more specific location, more price, it varied from 1 to 10 lac per transfer. He argued that we demand bribes to get the money to give for transfers. So all bad is done in name of police but the money goes to politicians. He also gave me advice to start taking bribes from the day one of the job (I joked that I'm not a Government servant, he joked back saying " Tum to hum se bhi gaaye gujare ho, tumhaare to haath hi kate hain”). Apart from it he also told about the advent of thakur clan and that he belongs to the most pure one and strongly advocated on the need to marry within your community and its social and other benefits.

All these talks over tea brought lot of things to think. First thing is about the the real root of corruption and the age old theory of blame. It also bring forth the frustration (whether right or wrong), when you donot get long due things like promotions. Thirdly, there is a strong points on the politics of transfers ( In UP, its considered next worse thing to Kidnaps). Also, his strong stand on the casteism showed how deep root it is, how much modern we try to pose. When I meekly opposed to it than he cunningly laughed saying " Saale, kabhi na kabhi to Muzaffarnagar to aayege hi". Also dishing out advice to be corrupt as soon as possible also needs to be pondered. This advice reminds me of my University days when I met one of UOR Alumni & he told me "Honest are those who doesn't get the opportunity to be corrupt".


Shailendra said...

The statements of 'Darooga Uncle' does not indicate anything about the real root of corruption. It only suggest that eventually black money of corruption does not convert in better life style.

anurag said...

Sometimes it looks that money (earned by any means) can buy better lifestyles (see some politicians ..?? ), But then the question that need to be asked is what do we mean by a better lifestyle, sitting on a expensive sofa and having Chivas Regal in a fine goblet or sitting on a 'khaat' and sipping a simple tea... The term in here question is the 'lifestyle we want to achieve'. So the claim that money from corruption doesn't bring in good is a very subjective one.
The bigger question here is the natural urge to do corruption to get what ever we want and try to justify it with reasons like 'I am doing what everybody do' or by putting bigger blame on anybody else. This urge need to be checked not because of the fear that it is not going to bring in a better life style but because it is a wrong thing to do.

Shailendra said...

In the case when money does not affect life style corruption is obviously of no use. But in the case when expensive stuff creates life style ,corruption is not helping . The reason for corruption is , in my view, unability to thing the whole social system as a whole and have a bigger picture that how it works.
I think your column has soft corner for Darooga Uncle as you ended your column with a statement which suggest omnipresence of corruption and suggest a tone down for the issue.

anurag said...

You may be right on the reason for corruption but I think that bigger-pictures usually give good theories but not quite workable ones. I think it requires more serious thinking to find out real cause and real remedy for it.
Also, what I have written does show some sympathy for Darooga Uncle but I donot have any particularly, the little I have is because of his age and some childhood memories.