I get it. Social networking is an amazing thing. It really gives you this feeling of being all plugged into the world and other people, and you find all sorts of interesting things to read about, talk about, think about.

It also brings home the utter imbecility of people sometimes. Tell me, how many lives have you changed or dollars have you raised for a cause by posting a random word that talks about the colour of your bra or your relationship status? Putting a badge on your profile picture might show support for the Indian cricket team (yay we won!) but it won’t matter a whit to corrupt politicians. Go ahead and use facebook to sign petitions supporting Anna Hazare’s fast unto death.* Let’s just see how much difference it actually makes.

This is what drives me nuts. I will guarantee that fifty percent of the people who are signing petitions on facebook and making their status messages reflect this thing aren’t even registered to vote, regularly pay off cops for traffic fines, rarely every stand in line and deal with the government to get stuff done, or even know the laws of the country enough to know when they should or should not stand up to a shady customs officer.

Bottom line: It is against the law to bribe a cop instead of pay your fine. So if you can break the law, why cant A S Raja?

Seriously people, sitting around and complaining will do nothing. We can’t just expect someone to wave a magic wand and change everything from the top. We are all people who say we know other things and better systems. But we are unwilling to take the responsibility to do anything about it. No, we want to get the jobs and make the money and then bitch at the government. If all of you care so much about corruption, go to law school, join the IAS, do something for the reform of the judiciary and the administration.

I am not saying that it is a good thing. I am not saying it is ok that the system is so fucked up. But we cannot lie here under the blankie and say that it’s not our problem to fix it. Not while we’re whining about how it is a problem in the first place! How is it going to work for someone to fast to have a law passed that cannot be enforced?

Sit down and do the math. (I know I should, but I’m too lazy. Volunteers?) We are talking about 1.2 billion people. Divide that by resources and amenities, and see what people get. Find out how many people pay  and how much it comes out to. See how much money there eventually is per capita. I will bet you it’s less than any of those wonderful place where all these ‘work.’

If you really want to fight corruption in India, take some simple steps. Find out what the law is. Find out what the fines are. Ask for receipts, copies, acknowledgments, names. Make a noise. You’ll be surprised what a difference it makes.

Edit: lovely article by Nitin Pai.
Edit: And another one by someone else.

*Another post, another post…