Friday, March 30, 2012

The legacy of corruption

My maternal grandfather was a freedom fighter who fought in his home town of Karur. He was called as Gandhi in his home town. My paternal grandfather was selected for National Defense Academy but he couldn’t join it due to some family constraint. So it is no surprise on why I love my country so much but pained by its present situation. Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister wanted India to be a socialist republic where state had control over the industries. The constitution also describes India as a Socialist country.  He instituted some of the biggest projects of his time for which we are reaping benefits even now. He believed in Science and was a visionary in his days. Unlike other Prime Ministers, he enjoyed people’s support right until his death. He continued the legacy of Congress after the death of Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel and other great leaders.  His vision for the country was authentic and growth oriented but what he could not able to foresee was the issue of corruption. He followed the British system of civil servants who were supposed to serve the ordinary citizens of this country. But they turned out to be the masters of the people and corruption seeped in to his cabinet as well.  His finance minister was forced to resign on the Mundhra Scandal. There were also reports of extreme corruption in procuring Army jeeps. Following the death of Nehru, Lal Bahdur Shastri was sworn in as the next prime minister.  His term did not last long enough as he died in a mystical circumstance at Tashkent in the then USSR. Later Nehru’s daughter Indra Gandhi sworn in as the Prime Minister of India. Corruption was a major issue during her tenure because of which she was disqualified by the Allahabad High Court on accounts of election malpractice. Citing law and order issue, she declared a state of emergency across India in 1975. Once the emergency was lifted after 2 years, she was defeated by the Janata Dal under the leadership of Morarji Desai. But the government did not last long and Indra Gandhi came in to power for the 4th time. During her tenure there were large scale corruption and undue favours were given to her son Sanjay Gandhi in setting up the Maruti Manufacturing plant. In 1984, she was killed by her own sikh body guards in retaliation to operation blue star. Following the trend set by Indra Gandhi, her son Rajiv was sworn in as Prime Minister of India. He too was seen as the visionary and clean and initiated several projects in Telecom and IT sector. But corruption got in to his government too in procuring the Bofors Gun from Sweden.  When the finance minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh exposed the large scale corruption involved, he was expelled from the government.

After Rajiv’s death, congress once again came to power and P.V.Narasimha Rao was chosen to become the Prime Minister of India. He is the first congress PM from non-Nehru family. This term changed the face of India among the world after the historic budget speech by Manmohan Singh. India is now a free economy and lots of investments poured in. With the investments, the magnitude of corruption also increased when the prime minister was charge sheeted. The next government under A.B.Vajpayee didn’t last long for unable to prove majority. This was a turbulent period for India as elections happened almost every 15 months. H.D.Deve Gowda became the prime minister under the United Front government. Born in to a small farming family, he is now a millionaire. It is still a mystery for me on how he earned so much being in political life. Inder Kumar Gujral was made the next prime minister of India following some issue with the current PM Deve Gowda. This government too did not last long and then came the BJP government. The government lasted for only 13 months and elections were conducted again. This time the NDA under the able leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee formed the government for the 3rd time. Similar to other Prime Ministers there were some developments and so as corruption. Bangaru Lakshmanan, BJP’s president was caught on camera by Tehelka accepting bribes for a defence deal. Few would know that what is going to follow is the mother of all corruption. In 2004, after the UPA government formed the government Manmohan Singh was made the Prime Minister for the first time. This government was credited to bring in lots of welfare schemes which helped poor. This government is also credit for some of the biggest scandals ever to happen in India. Dayanidhi Maran forced Aircel to sell it to Astro Network of Malaysia in return for investment in Sun Network owned by his brother Kalanidhi. T.R.Baalu was credited with some big corruption in some of the shipping and highway projects. Madhu Khoda, Jahrkand’s chief minister was arrested for high level corruption. Due to some family feud, Dayanidhi Maran was replaced by Andimuthu Raja as telecom and IT minister. He went on to become the big daddy of corrupt ministers when he sold 2G spectrum to ineligible players in 2008 at 2001 price. This happened even after there was an agreement in auctioning the spectrum. CAG report calculated the loss to government to tune of 1.7 lakh crore rupees. Suresh Kalmadi was involved in large scale corruption during the 2010 commonwealth games, which tarnished the image of India across the globe. Coal blocks were given to private players at below market price, Rs 14 crore as bribe for the Army chief for the purchase of Tetra-Vectra trucks for the Army, illegal mining scam in Karnataka the list continues.

Had the legacy of creating world class institutions of Nehruvian era continued, India too would have had its own Harvard and Stanford, had the legacy of creating a second green revolution of Shastri era continued we would not have had a single person without food. Had the legacy of creating world class IT and telecom infrastructure of Rajiv era continued we would have had our own Microsoft and Google, but what we followed is the legacy of Mundhra, Bofors, Hawala and Tehelka  which is ruining this great country.

The country which gave this world its first university, the country which showed this world to move beyond 9, the country which showed this world to perform surgery is currently in shambles. Unfortunately, the country which showed the world the likes of Rama, Yudishtra, Harischandra is battling with the likes of Rajas and Kalmadis.

The legacy follows but it pains me to know that it is following a wrong legacy. 

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