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The "Swindler's List"...

Surprise! Surprise! India is number 72 out of 91 most corrupt countries in the world. Finland is the least corrupt and Bangladesh, the most corrupt. Not bad, at least we have an immediate neighbour holding hands with us. It's taken years of sweat and toil, total commitment and dedication, lots of sacrifices to achieve this status.

It's difficult to fathom this in the land of Mahatma Gandhi but actually its quite simple. History has already recorded the events and happenings that led to our independence, so let's not get into that now. Suffice to say that hundreds and thousands made genuine sacrifices so that future generations would live better.

Alas! That wasn't to be. Somewhere down the road, we took a wrong turn. Till date, we continue down this one-way street coming in from the wrong side. Sadly, even though many recognize that what we are doing is wrong, we still continue our journey. They say there's a pot of gold somewhere out there, so why work hard when there are easy pickings to be made.

Three key words explain our present status. Hard work is for morons. Cutting corners, shortcuts are easier done than said. Why waste energy? That's why we have cheaper, better quality Chinese products sold on footpaths and roadsides than those "made in India" stuff in neon-lit showrooms. I remember watching a TV programme some years ago on a scooter factory that had shut down operation because of worker unrest. The usual demands of better pay, bonus, etc being the cause for the unrest. The factory had a few thousand workers and in that one-year they had produced less than 2000 scooters as against tens of thousands they should have manufactured. These guys were demanding better pay for a job not done. It wouldn't come as a surprise if they had got what they wanted. The scooter factory had the 'Government of India Undertaking' tag and subsidizing sick units has always been our forte.

Our politicians and bureaucrats are Godsend. What would we do without them? After all, they do show us the way, don't they? They are very religious people. They pray so hard for peace, prosperity and perks. Not yours or mine, but their own. Somehow, they have this uncanny knack of striking gold each time they are into deep-rooted worship. Who said God isn't Great? Depends on who you are to begin with. Have you the credentials to be able to influence the Almighty? First, one must be 'devouted'. Only then should one devote them for the all-important vote.

The 'Easy-pickings' concept has been fine-tuned by our bureaucrats and the civil servants. Since nothing ever moves fast (except transfer of money and you know where) the ground rules are clear. Pay up and get things done. Now, this is no specialty out here. It happens all over the world. But we take to these kinds of things rather easily, like fish take to water. Remember, I mentioned this earlier that hard work is for morons? Take any government department anywhere in this country. Chances are that at each and every stage of the process (whatever it may be) there is a price to pay. Don't cough up and everything will freeze as it is. Don't we warm up frozen food? Get the point? We've stopped using the word "greasing palms". Sounds like a mechanic repairing a car. We've refined the word to something on the lines of "I wanna hold your hand". Give a touch of human feeling to the whole process. No, it's nothing to do with 'global warming'. Our bureaucrats and civil servants are a patriotic lot confining themselves within our territorial waters. Except of course, in extreme circumstances they may extend their reach. The country's best interests are always in mind. Always!

We have great potential to do better than the rating of 72.

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