His biggest fear was that his party will squander the "historic opportunity. If we made some mistakes, then I think we will not be able to forgive ourselves, and history will not be able to forgive us. And that thought is constantly chasing me."Said Arvind Kejriwal of the new political party, Aam Aadmi (Common Man) in this profile of him in the New Yorker in the September 2nd issue (sub. reqd.).
Kejriwal can rest easy, it appears:
[The] Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) stole the show in its debut by scooping up 28 seats. ... AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal proved to be a giant killer by defeating three-time Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in the New Delhi constituency by a margin of more than 25,000 votes.As the New Yorker noted:
Since 2010, Kejriwal's essential message has not faltered; to overcome endemic political corruption, momentous change is required. ... [Few] officials are ever indicted of corruption. As Kejriwal put it, "You can just get away with murder in this country.Of course, this is merely one small change. How much of a consequence it will have is, well, the cliched "remains to be seen." It is one thing to campaign against corruption and corrupt politicians, but another to get to some of the systemic problems that then create opportunities for rent-seeking, as economists refer to it.
Pratap Bhanu Mehta, of the Center for Policy Research, said that he gets "no readings, from Kejriwal, on his thoughts on markets and economics, which are central to corruption." ... Kejriwal insists that he is attacking a problem that transcends macroeconomic policy. ... "Liberalization, globalization--these things will never work until you improve the governance of the country."India's corruption and bureaucracy are notorious. Of course, here in the US, too, we have corrupt officials. But, at least our every day existence is free of hassles. Renewing a driver license or registering the purchase of a used car does not require bribing the DMV clerk. In India, even such mundane transactions almost always require bribes. Recently, when my sister chose not to offer bribes in order to get the official papers related to the death of her husband, they made sure to string her along for a few days and for quite a few meetings!
Let us see if the election results will have any impact on the corruption index, which refuses to budge:
Despite a vocal anti-corruption movement and even a new party aimed at fighting graft, the level of corruption in India has not fallen in the last year, according to the latest survey by corruption watchdog Transparency International.Maybe India should try bribing the researchers at Transparency International in order to get a favorable ranking? ;)
The Berlin-based organization released its latest Corruption Perception Index report Tuesday. The index grades countries on how corrupt their political parties, police, justice systems and other organizations are perceived to be.
Transparency International’s rankings start with the countries that are least corrupt. India’s ranking of 94 out of 177 was unchanged from a year ago.
Interestingly, that cartoon is not about India!
Corruption is perhaps even a part of the culture? I was reminded of a story that I read as a kid. It was one of those witty stories involving Birbal. I tracked down a version of it on the web, should you--the curious reader--feel intrigued. It is a wonderful bottom-line: "A corrupt man will find ways to take bribe whatever the job he is in."
Try corrupting me with an offer of a few million dollars, will you please?