We, The Corrupt

We're repulsed by the numbers from the 2G scam, from CWG, by what Bangaru Laxman did, and whats been happening with mining, land allocation, tribal "resettlement" etc across states.


Should we be? 


Some of the HR teams at some MNCs and other large organizations have a pretty sullied image amongst techies. There's nepotism, and money changes hands on a regular basis for recruitment services. 


Land deals for big corporates are opportunities to make money directly and indirectly - just like it happens at the level of the government of the state when deciding on infrastructure projects. Many an employee in admin has been known to build a huge house soon after a big deal.


Doctors approving/recommending clinical trials at the behest of drug companies was big news in today's papers. And Aamir Khan revived the discussion around their culpability in sex determination and illegal foetus termination on the TV recently.


These are folks amongst and around us. Rich, well off folks. 


Someone in the extended family has been facing tons of issues at work because they refuse to "fit in" at an quasi-government hospital - every little opportunity to make money is exploited. Someone else I know was brought in to fix large-scale corruption issues at one of the companies of a very well respected (for its ethics!) business house we all know of.


And we take umbrage at the bus conductor - a comparitively very poor bloke - making 2/- off a ticket. 


A couple of generations ago - it did exist then too (though perhaps on a much smaller scale) - it was not acceptable socially to be known to have such sources of income. Folks would resign, and retire from society, perhaps in shame. Today, thats almost turned into pride, if not something to gloat about.


Has is just become part of our ecnomically-motivated-all-else-be-damned fabric? Is is just about opportunity and the risk of getting caught? Are we all funadamentally too weak when face to face with the little packet of cash that'll get us our iPad or new phone or this or that?


I fear the answer is not nice one. I fear what we see in the politician and big deals he does is a mere reflection of who we've become fundamentally. Grab-when-possible is our mantra. Damn what its doing to us, and damn the long run. 


If we really ever want to fix this, we have to change. We have to stop respecting money irrespective of its hue and colour. We have to also respect efforts that do not yield hard cash. We have to make things other than a big bank balance cool, acceptable and a desirable goal again. We have to make get-rich-soon socially undesirble - as long as thats ok morality will be bent. We have to make morality itself cool again - its an often-mocked notion right now.


Stricter rules won't cut it unless we fundamentally find it reprehensible, and are unable to look at ourselves in the mirror if we sway. Today, we almost admire it and the outcry is almost merely - well - envy.


A pal of mine in a very senior position recently decided that work was sucking too much out of him, and decided to (at least) take a sabbatical and spent time with the family. He put in his papers last week.


Guess what the reaction of his boss - the guy who heads the company was?


  1. Instill fear - "How will you manage your cashflows after a couple of months?"
  2. I don't know how to put this - "You can at most spend 5-10 minutes with the family. What'll you do for the rest of the day?"


Questions about one's own health, interests, growth as a human being etc never entered the conversation.


My friend works at a staffing/outsourced HR outfit. And his boss used to head HR at an MNC earlier!!


There is a lot of sickness in what we call our "workplace". Its certainly not a healthy place anymore. There's too much money, too much greed, and too much emphasis on grabbing more and fear of not being able to.


Thankfully, the conversation hammered home this truth in my friend's head. "The whole 'quality time' crap is a corporate invention, Sameer", he says. "Bulls**t, you just need to spend time - yes - quantity - with your family, near and dear ones, friends."


True. Which do we do for which?