A Brief History of Corruption in India

Dr William Gould

By Dr William Gould

‘Merely shouting from the house tops that everybody is corrupt creates an atmosphere of corruption. People feel they are in a climate of corruption and they get corrupted themselves.’ The words of Jawaharlal Nehru, spoken shortly after India’s independence from British rule, seem particularly apt given the overtly Gandhian style of today’s anti-corruption crusader, Anna Hazare. But for most Indians, Hazare’s movement has produced few surprises: there is a long-standing popular critique of the country’s apparently growing crisis of corruption that cuts across nearly every strata of society.

Popular resignation about the permanence of corruption is partly explained by the political purchase of ‘corruption’ as an idea and a term. Accusations of corruption have historically been wielded as a political weapon – a means of tarnishing rivals in the right circumstances. During India’s very first General Election in 1951-2, newspapers and party offices, particularly those of the Congress party, were bombarded with allegations about corrupt electoral candidates. The system of food and civil supply was subject to commodity controls and rationing – a legacy of the war years which had generated complex systems of patronage. These involved deeply entrenched black markets in lucrative industrial and agricultural concerns. This was the background to what was later known as ‘Permit-Licence-Quota Raj’ – the linking of business interests with political brokers. It is partly this nexus that underpins the protests in post-liberalization India.

But it wasn’t just the circumstances of war that generated concerns about graft in the 1940s and fifties. More broadly, the problem of corruption seemed to correspond to phases of rapid political transformation. The first, officially coordinated ‘anti-corruption’ drives, described as such, took place under the auspices of provincial Congress governments in the late 1930s, while the British still ruled at India’s centre. The Congress juxtaposed its democratic principles against ‘corrupted’ systems of colonial despotism.

Photo source: PBS, The Story of India

The Congress governments of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in those years also aimed to project themselves as realistic alternatives to the Raj – regimes which took the notion of ‘public service’ seriously. The Special Police Establishment, which undertook to prosecute (albeit quite ineffectively) instances of government servant corruption, followed from 1941. And in March 1947, on the eve of independence, the Government of India passed the Prevention of Corruption Act. In the wake of Partition’s mass migrations, seizure of evacuee property and mob violence, state governments across India sought to ‘clean up’ their administrations. In Uttar Pradesh, this operation was described by the early 1950s state government as an ‘efficiency drive’ to ‘root out useless officers’. Conveniently, many of them were actual or intending evacuees to Pakistan.

It took a massive (pending) regime transition to initiate official drives for anti-corruption at that time. On the streets too, independence helped to generate citizens’ movements in the late 1940s to protest against corrupt local rationing or police officers. The vernacular and English newspapers, previously muzzled by the British, were replete with corruption scandals, especially those linked to black marketeers. But there was something more profound happening in early postcolonial India, just as there is today. The larger discussions of ‘corruption’ reached to the roots of what Indians thought about the state, and their own sense of national belonging or alienation. The recent criticisms of Anna Hazare bear this out. The writer Arundhati Roy points out the danger of creating another unaccountable anti-corruption ‘oligarchy’. Others argue that Hazare’s proposed Lokpal Bill could jeopardise constitutional protections for disadvantaged communities. Some Dalit organizations fear that Hazare’s Lokpal Bill, the drafting of which has not hitherto involved minority representation, may undermine some structures of reservations. Still others suggest that Anna Hazare’s style, and that of his supporters, smacks of demagoguery and ‘aggressive nationalism’. In some ways, this is business as usual: India has a complex and highly developed system of fundamental rights provisions within its Constitution, and the country is certainly no stranger to vibrant public debate.

Anna Hazare

Ever since the 2010 protests by the ‘India Against Corruption’ activists, and more forcefully since Hazare’s recent fast, the issue of corruption has led Indians to re-evaluate what the state really means to them. What is its role? How far are its agents accountable, and to what extent does it protect civic and democratic rights? Such questions reflect back on the colonial past. Most stark in both the anti-corruption protests, and the recent critiques of Anna Hazare is something which both sides share – a profound distrust of the state itself. Hazare’s Gandhian style is not only significant in its evocation of the ‘father of the nation’, but also in its reflection of older critiques of the colonial system as being ‘corrupt’, and as a regime which encouraged and nurtured societal corruption.

Despite running a byzantine structure of administrative rules and procedures, the British in India rarely referred to the problem of ‘corruption’ as such. ‘Integrity’ among government servants was expected, but it was poorly policed and based on the assumption that the (largely white British) superior administrator was ultimately the principal figure who could be ‘corrupted’ in a serious way. He, unlike his Indian subordinate, had much to lose and more to maintain as far as the regime was concerned.

When faced with elected Congress regimes’ attempted exposure of administrative and police corruption in the late 1930s, colonial officials fell back on arguments that what Congressmen described as ‘corruption’, might often be better defined as ‘custom’. The British Raj was run on a financial shoe-string, with officers thinly stretched over vast areas and populations. It was heavily dependent on armies of Indian subordinates, and could ill afford to consistently root out the ‘customary’ arrangements which secured its authority in the locality. Powerful landowners might control the local police constable, or compel free labour among the landless poor. The Raj needed him to help maintain law and order, and pay revenue. A local revenue official might take a commission (or ‘dasturi’ – customary payment) to allow cultivators access to land records, or a railway official might accept a ‘gift’ (or ‘daalii’) to arrange faster carriage for consignments of goods.

But for most colonial officials, such arrangements were seen as an intrinsic dynamic of Indian society: classically, British utilitarian thought, represented by the likes of James Mill in the early 19th Century, presupposed the wastefulness, indolence and corruption of ‘Oriental’, ‘Asiatic’ and ‘despotic’ forms of governance, as found in India.

John Stuart Mill

Britain’s supposedly ‘rational’ system of revenue might thereby discipline the essentially corrupt societal interactions of India. The son of James – the philosopher John Stuart Mill – was influential on British administrative thinking about corruption as ‘custom’: the younger Mill in his later political theory, privileged the idea of ‘sentiment’ as much as ‘reason’ in human affairs. Studies of national habits, imagination and traditions were a means of comparing different social institutions across the world, and particularly the difference between Occident and Orient. In studying the permanence of such ‘native institutions’, many advised against their reform, as natural facets of the social environment.

In 1952, following its first General Election, India became the world’s largest democracy. But its political system still rested (as it does today) on a structure of power inherited from the Raj, principally in its administrative and police cadres. The 1950 Constitution was based to a great extent on the colonial constitution passed in 1935. When Indira Gandhi, following allegations of electoral irregularities, declared a State of Emergency in 1975, she was exercising a state power that had underpinned the colonial system. Yet since 1947, and largely because of past struggles against imperialism, citizens have asserted the right to contest these vestiges of authoritarian power. Elements of this right to protest are writ large today – and whatever the outcome of Hazare’s campaign, and whether or not a tough Lokpal Bill finally finds its way into the statute book, it is clear the turbulent relationship between Indian citizens and the state will continue to flourish.

William Gould, Senior Lecturer in Indian History, University of Leeds, is the author of Bureaucracy, Community and Influence: Society and the State in India, 1930-1960s (London: Routledge, 2011)

36 Responses to A Brief History of Corruption in India

  1. krishna tomer says:

    If any minister says that he will wipe off corruption from the country, then people laugh at him silently. Because we have corruption in three systems. They are bureaucracy, political system and judicial system. Every system has got corrupt officials, who preach a lot of moral values. If common man accuses specific official doing favors for money without dealing with merits, then official reprimands that individual as insulting the whole system. We recruit corrupt people in judicial system and praise them inevitably. Some judges give indirect reference about their colleagues(without naming) as corrupt in speeches. But Some lawyers disclose those judges names and their rates in private talk. Side tracking is carried as follows – One judge gives ‘STAY’ orders without dealing & refraining with merits in the case. Other judge gives ‘Old Status’ based on previous HC orders by former one. So corrupt individual gets back his status as usual and nothing as happened at all. Years get passed. This is happened in a fake SC papers case.Refer AP High Court WP 34222/2011. smt Biruda Raja Ratnam, who got fake SC certificate. She works as a lecturer in Andhra Saraswatha Parishad, Ram Kothi, Hyderabad since 2002. AP High court CC201/2012 and WP 3754/2012 followed by CC1023/2013 orders. There was just one sided manipulation by the lawyer by keeping other silent in his own style. All details can be had from the accused family members, how lawyer manages the corrupt in judicial system. More over he says that there is no one to monitor lawyers.
    Unless we do not get scientific& socialistic approach judges, corruption will be present.
    Unless our officials are not honest- let India buy any sophisticated technology to control crimes, that technology will be helping those criminals who need that technology. CCTV cameras, uniform, cars, technology are reactive technologies. we need proactive technologies to control the bad lawyers first, who jump to take up criminal cases for hefty remuneration. some officials get appointment from back doors which is known to family members, relatives. They analyse lawyer’s tricks also, who take up the case in favor of the fake SC. In between lawyer discloses corrupt judge’s names to astonishment. Those judges preach their philosophy on moral values, criticize Govt’s liquor policy, ban on Pornographic sites, corruption..etc. It’s true

  2. Rakshitha says:

    Oh my god!!!!! corruption reallyy horibble its is nly solved when we join our hands

  3. saziya says:

    Respected Sir/Madam
    hamare Area me log Curruption karte hai magar me kuch nai kar pati log apne aap ki pehchan dikha kar dhamka te hai me nita hu ye sab bta kar to muje kya karna chaiye kal hum sab classmed mil kar ek documentry bna rae the to hamare samne vale uncle ne hum se jhagad kar documentry band kavadi or bohot late night kat abus word use kiye unho ne muj par to muje kya karna chaiye
    or me apne area se gunda gardi khatam karna chahtu

  4. Dinesh Kumar says:

    it’s very danger for grow our country. Please control it and start in this from our-self.

  5. Jimmy Mody says:

    > My area of concern is the psychological, mental, & spiritual growth of people.
    i.e. …. Making life meaningful.

    > In order to make life meaningful it must be made both safe and fulfilling.

    > No sooner did prehistoric and primitive man find a need to live and work in groups of people than a need was experienced to develop rules and norms that everyone in the group should follow. Raping your neighbor’s daughter was no longer acceptable.

    > Prehistoric man realized that his strength lay in numbers. The larger the group, the more secure they would be from attacks from wild animals or from other groups. He also realized that the larger the group became, the greater was the need for rules and laws.

    > Today in our country, RAPE is once again becoming an issue. People have come out in large numbers; there has been almost a revolt against the lack of respect and protection to women.
    > Before this, it was CORRUPTION, and a revolt against corruption led initially by Anna Hazare.

    Could there be something in common between the two revolts?
    Something that our government and our legal community are missing? Something so subtle and insidious, yet so critical?
    Something that urgently needs to be explored and discussed.

  6. Amit Beniwal says:

    We are not stop to currpation but self is not begain to currpation.
    That is the most wounderful idea to stop currpation.
    Please never invite to it.

  7. abhi tiwari says:

    yes w r sufirng from a contagious disease which is already spread as lyk fire of foRest…nd th only remedy is ourselves,the coruptn dosnt strt frm the higher public servnts..we provid them envrment becus of ovr nneeds

  8. Jyothsna Rose V says:

    Discussions are good for nothing… Action is needed. Where there is no way to get things done, people tend to go illegally. Everyone are corrupted. It is not the act of a single public servant, it is deep rooted in our society. It starts from every single illegal donation that we people give illegally. I am not blaming the common man. But, tries to make you aware of the real red tape that we are tied up with. When the basic needs are not being fulfilled, they naturally follow the system in which the things get done, which is..’CORRUPTION’!!! Then who is responsible?????, I am corrupted, you are corrupted and everybody are corrupted. So, we are also responsible for this evil act. Think….!!!

  9. bipdipper says:

    http://snitchingindians.blogspot.in/

    tells all you need to know about India

  10. Saurabh says:

    Corruption is not the evil but a service and a boom for the easiness of the Indian Society :) Thinnk about it

  11. shefali says:

    corruption…….!!!!!!!!

    my god… its horrible…….!!!!

  12. LARA JOSEPH says:

    YES IN BELGAUM, KARNATAKA ALSO V CHILDREN OF COLLAGE R FACING CAST SYSTEN PROBLEMS…. V R HIT BY SOME HINDU ‘RAM SENA’ PROTESTERS IF V SPEAK WIT A HINDU GIRL AND AT TIMES V R HIT TO DEATH ALSO…. WAT S OUR FAULT…..?

  13. Raman Sandhu says:

    Is problem ko solve karne ke liye hume phele apne app ko badlna hoga kyoki duniya ko badlne se phele apne app ko badlna parta ha

  14. XXX says:

    IN INDIA MOST CORRUPT IS INDIAN CITIZENS

    BECAUSE EVEY CASE OF CORRUPT ORIGINATES FROM A COMMON CITIZEN

    CITIZENS ARE ALWAYS READY TO PAY FOR UNDUE BENEFIT, THEN WHY
    THE SYSTEM OF CORRUPTION EVOLVED.

  15. shubham meena says:

    mat karo mann mani ,
    Desh ki ho rahe hai hani ,
    Bhrasttachar se ,
    Ho rahe hai desh ki nilami
    Yaad karo desh bhakto ki kahan ,
    Jin hona de thi desh ka liye kurbani
    Bharat ka ban raha hai ,
    Ban raha hai har gali mein kabristan
    Ladrahe hai sabhi kab tak ji payenga,
    Kabhi nakabhi mout kio goud mein soo jayenga
    Garibe na aisa moud laya hai
    Insaan se insaan ka khoon karvaya hai
    Matkaro mann mani
    Desh ki ho rahe hai hani …………………

  16. Indu sharma says:

    We,the common people pay our hard earned money every year as tax which is misused by the govt.and it is a pity that we cannot get any official work done without paying bribe.
    Everyone in the govt,right from the top is totally under the disease of corruption and we the people face the consequences.May God save us.

  17. Raman Sandhu says:

    Corruption is the biggest problem in India which can be solve if our generation think about it becoz nothing is impossible in this world.

  18. Raman Sandhu says:

    corruption is the biggest problem iIndia which can be solve if our generation think about it because nothing is impossible in this world.

  19. Nadiya shaik says:

    Taking bribe is illegal.In India corruption is rooted like a disease.we can cure the normal disease, but we cannot cure the corruption disease.For example for taking birth certificate & death certificate we had to give bribe,otherwise we cannot get that certificates.Now everything is depending on corruption.So change must be started from everyone to eradicate corruption.so hope for the best.

  20. Deepanshu Sagar says:

    IT
    IS
    INTERESTING
    !!!

  21. Saroj Saini says:

    I m telling my experience about the green line bus service which I ( and all lady guyes) face almost daily. i am a regular passenger in DTC Green line buses from gurgaon to Utam nagar route via dwarka..
    This is to bring to your notice that while going from Gurgaon to Utam nagar, its not only for one day , this is case on regular bases we are facing.
    1 . When we request to take tickets the conductor he refused to give ticket and misbehaved despite making full payment and being asked several times.
    2. Even they didn’t cut the tickets across the whole bus, they just sit on the seat from starter the bus stop, in spite of heavy rush in bus we all ladies and girls collect the money according to tickets expense we pass it through some one others, but he always make a hasty to give the tickets and use the language show me the face whose taking this one tickets and this one tickets. Sometime times he just refuse with words, take itself nobody will pass on, how tedious they are is it their duty like this.
    3. Ticket was given only after threatened to complaint against him. Then the bus conductor misbehaved with ladies. And asked the driver not to open the door of the at the bus-stop. Even he asked to stop the bus at anywhere he wants whether stop is there or not. This is what about the conductor misbehave, bloody frustrated conductor .
    4 Now a days the conductors of the buses on Delhi roads be it DTC or new private ones, they will never have change available with them, As soon as you give them any amount they will ask for change, if you do not have it, they will ask you to wait. If they feel like the conductors would mention at the back of ticket as due or else just tell verbally that would give change back, whenever they have it. If you ask him for change he would answer rudely that what are you crying over for some change . If it was so important you should have carried it . And then even if you keep standing he may take out change back from somewhere and hand it over to some passenger of his choice.
    Now, about driver perform
    4. Whenever I( someone) intimated the bus driver to stop the bus in next stop , they just start putting redundant inquiry , like where you are going , where is your office, whats profile, whats cast of your, Oh my god how somebody can confer detail to them( bloody driver) , is it the job doing they are.
    5. A big episode is happen with one of my two friends when they are standing and waiting for bus on dwarka sec-2 , the coming bus driver recognize them early and he makes a shameless activity just to bother them . He change info line of bus route even bus is going to badarpur and he just flash it Gurgaon via Dwarka, my friend get on the bus, after some time he change the rout when she notice this thing she speaks to driver, what is this ( bhiya ) bus was going to gurgaon now why u change this board, and driver used abuse language on her and said its your mistake this already set. They get ride off from the bus in midway, just because of there is not much passenger and time was exact noon time .
    Really I got surprised to hear this story, and think how you react if its happen with your own sisters, wife and mother.
    6. When people said about speed ,,he ( driver ) said “kuch hua to nai na”–
    matlab kuch ho tabhi jago varna sote raho tum log,,…!!!

    Is it again the way ????? to play with people and specially girls & ladies are facing this crime. in such a way , this is totally disgusting .
    Why this bloody driver and conductor treating like this, is they are not getting salary.
    Therefore, I kindly request your goodness to look into the matter and take immediate necessary action against him.
    Please -it is time to wake up for us not when casualty get happen!!!!!

    Regards,
    A user of Delhi public transport.

    • Debabrat Sukla says:

      Why don’t you register a complaint against the license plate of the said bus? There are existing mechanisms through which you can file your complaints. I agree that sometimes the conditions aren’t of global standards, but they have improved over the blueline services that used to vie on the roads at breakneck speeds. Although your intent here was to draw attention to social issue, standing idly by is even a bigger issue. Rally up support, you can do it. :)

  22. touaib rehman says:

    say more about corruption

    • John Gray says:

      If you need more stories related to corruption in India you can view this website http://www.cheatingindia.com

  23. ADARSH AVINAV says:

    Respected Sir/Madam
    Curruption is the major problem in india. if there were no Curruption in india, than india would be called as developed country. india is now calling as a developing country due to Curruption . india is suffering from Curruption right now.

    if anyone takes undue advantage of his seat, and if anyone is taking bribe to others, it shows the Curruption . it is from my point of view. we all know about anna hazare, he raise the voice against the curruption political leaders.. we should also be like anna hazare and we should raise the voice against Curruption than only our country will be developed.

    we are only the future of our country, so we should think about curruption.. we should route out this curruption from our country….

  24. Dipak Kumar Adhikari says:

    Respected Sir/Madam,
    Any body fight against corruption they/he can not win, I am 100% sure, because I have lots of evidence that I have evidence (OC, SP, addl. SP, Police Department. And political leaders, some government employee) are take bribe/they are corrupted.
    I screw up my courage to place my grievances to every body in order to get redress. So I wrote my matter to our local P.S., S.P. and Dy.S.P.(N.) 24 Parganas, DGP Bhupindar Singh, All the I.P.S. AND I.A.S. OFFICERS, All DGPs/IGPs. Kolkata Police, and all police officers in W.B. informed Kolkata Commissioner of Police. CBI Department, CID Department, (CID DIG). Local Councilor, all M.P., M.L.A., Minister in W.B. and Other States, Former C.M. in W.B. Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, Mamata Banerjee, (DIDI). Election Commission of India. All Indian Union Minister, UPA Chairperson- Sonia Gandhi, Governor in W.B, and President in India 49TH times. P.M. in India, National/International Human rights department (Justice Shymal Kumar Sen, Chairperson W.B.), Department of Women and Child Rights Development, NCW (National Women Commission), All District Magistrate, Ld. Calcutta High Court, and others state high Court, Ld. Supreme court of India, all the Ld. CJM in our country India. Law Minister, Public Grievances Commission, Central Information Commission, Women Commission Govt. Of W.B. File no.: KGM/11(40), RTI , AAP KI KACHEHRI – KIRAN KE SAATH, Manager S.B.I.-Branch: 24B, Nimtala Ghat Street, Jorabagan, Kolkata- 700006, West Bengal, India‎, Bank Ph. No. 033 25308337. My nation, all of the news channels, and all press, The Central Vigilance Commission, President of the United States, Association For Press and print media, Protection of Democratic Right (APDR), Talking with some NGO’s: But still now not fight for truth /don’t take investigation/do not take any action/don’t take any type of query/ Still Now, many department told does not comes under the purview of our department. Then my question is where I go now? I see they all are in sound asleep. The reason is best known to them.
    With kindest regards,
    Dipak Kumar Adhikari
    Tegharia(Dhali Para),NandanKanan. P.S.: Baguiati. P.O.: Hatiara. Dist.: North24Parganas.
    Kolkata-700059 Email: dipakadhikari59@gmail.com
    W.B. India. PH. 9874389190

  25. d r singh says:

    who is the judge of SC whose grand father was convicted under the corruption….????

  26. manoj sanyal says:

    An excellent analytical history of corruption in India. May I know author´s email address. I would like to invite a contribution to a collection on simmilar theme from him.

  27. Prof Prabir Kumar Pattnaik,Utkal University says:

    Dear Prof Gould
    Interesting piece of writing. India is a funny country and so it’s intellectuals. If any thing goes wrong in India we blame three factors 1. Past Colonial regime 2. political people and 3. Bureaucrats. For corruption, most Indian intellectuals blame Colonial regime as if crown had introduced education and training programme to corrupt both political people and Bureaucrats.
    Indian intellectuals are very good at finding the causative factors of corruption but surprisingly, very few of them have attempted to floor the solution technology to minimize the menace of corruption. Similarly,both political people and Bureaucrats howl at each other yet none of them advance any thing to reduce corruption.
    If we look at the pages of Indian History corruption was there at every level and at all ages and it will continue to stay in future.Because, Human indispensable traits like kama,(sex) krodha, (anger) lobha (greed) etc (Six Evils) do control our corrupt attitude and conduct.
    Many attempt to minimize corruption through Transparency and good governance.
    This is nothing but good political eye wash and a means to transfer the state responsibility to the private individuals. At one point of time as individual could not fight with with the powerful deviants, the State undertook that responsibility. But now the state is again unwilling to combat the powerful deviants. This implies that now state is being managed controlled by the powerful deviants.
    As I understand, when morality and ethics fails- punishment works.
    Let me clear one thing that ‘Punishment’ it self an arbitrary measure legitimized by law. Therefore, how arbitrary the punishment may be, but if you wish minimize deviation like corruption the state must device stringent means.
    May I suggest few things?
    1. Any immovable property which has not been enlisted with Taxation Authority and for which tax has not been paid to the state, such property can not be transferred under law and such transfer shall be declared void.
    2. Any unaccounted movable or immovable property recovered from any public servant shall be deemed to the property of the state.
    3. Any public servant/ Public or Elective representative holding any unaccounted property shall presumed to be relieved from the designated post from the moment of his arrest and the state shall not pay any salary or allowances between the time of arrest and until the disposal of the case.
    4. Any public servant/ Public or Elective representative holding any unaccounted property shall not be entitled to hold any official or designation.

    Many things can be suggested but the primary question remains “are we willing to implement it?”.
    Take care
    P.K.Pattnaik

  28. Atul says:

    While moral pressure is exerted on the government servant to be honest, nobody talks about the limits on the profits that a businessman can earn. Therefore, those who do not possess the capacity to buy and are too risk-averse to steal and kill, resort to making illegal money by using their office.

  29. Rakesh says:

    William,

    In India govt wants to run business and businessmen wants to run govt. So we have GOI running airlines , banks , steel mills , powerplants , coal mines ….. To run these cos we have ministries and to run ministry we have babus. Such Cos procure billions of USD worth of rawmaterials using old system of procurement ie without use of technology and transparency. Tender docs are deliberatly left vague. Quality standards are compromised and money changes hands at each level right fm drafting specs to payment of monies. The only way this corruption can be reduced is by privatising all such govt cos. Focus should be on Maximum Governance and Minimum Government which is practised in Gujarat. another reason for corruption is taxation which needs to rationalised and procedure simplified. each tax laws are dubious and interpreted the way babus want which means if you pay tax law works in ur favor and if you don’t u r penalized. Govt should bnring down taxes and simplify the laws.1 more source of corruption is election funding. bizmen paying fund expect 10-25X returns on political donations. somehow govt should reform election funding practices.another reason corruption is prevailing is deterrent and thats where lokpal can play a role. tough laws, diligent implementation and faster prosecution will be deterrent for corrupt. Knowing India well I am sure creative Indians will still find ways to make their money and share loot with Babus/Politicians.

  30. rd says:

    All this talk about Corruption, presupposes that West is corruption free.
    Which is patently false.
    Corruption is the use of money as a weapon.
    Rich people will always use that to get there way.
    So all India has to do is pass laws where Corporations can
    bribe politicians via the Media where politicians will kabuki
    themselves into social issues for the people and pass all the
    laws for corporations. Sweet smell of success.

    • William Gould says:

      The piece does not at all assume that the West is ‘corruption-free’. The UK, for example, has had more than its fair share of corruption scandals in the media (NOTW), in the MP’s expenses scandal, and in its financial sector. In fact, what this piece tries to argue is that the conditions of colonial rule by a western power in India largely exacerbated certain forms of corruption, by basing power on particular kinds of authoritarian administrative structures. These structures allowed a whole range of public servants to effectively allow corrupt transactions to continue, since government was not accountable. Hence, the sudden and powerful appearance of ‘anti-corruption’ in the late colonial and early independent period… which, as you rightly state, are used by the powerful for political purposes.

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