Let us bribe Newton and Einstein

A string of corruption issues has our newspapers and TV channels all untied-up. Reliable sources admit that sales of 'sting' gadgetry are rocketing. Equipment capable of high-speed multiple copying of VCDs and audio cassettes are likely to be dearer. First, the country's environment secretary wanted to re-make the Taj Mahal, an obvious effort to go one-up on Shahjahan. Then an erstwhile minister of state for environment and forests appeared on a VCD screen, receiving cash from one 'Rahul' who represented 'an Australian mining company'. Don't go away. The ex-CM of Chhattisgarh, the person 'behind the camera' in the aforesaid VCD, then got 'audio-trapped' along with his beloved son, trying to bribe opponent party members. In all this, we are not to worry. The ever-alert CBI, and law, will take their own courses. Is anyone thinking of cleaning up society?

 
Last Updated: Sunday 07 June 2015

-- A STRING of corruption issues has our newspapers and TV channels all untied-up. Reliable sources admit that sales of 'sting' gadgetry are rocketing. Equipment capable of high-speed multiple copying of VCDs and audio cassettes are likely to be dearer. First, the country's environment secretary wanted to re-make the Taj Mahal, an obvious effort to go one-up on Shahjahan. Then an erstwhile minister of state for environment and forests appeared on a VCD screen, receiving cash from one 'Rahul' who represented 'an Australian mining company'. Don't go away. The ex-CM of Chhattisgarh, the person 'behind the camera' in the aforesaid VCD, then got 'audio-trapped' along with his beloved son, trying to bribe opponent party members. In all this, we are not to worry. The ever-alert CBI, and law, will take their own courses.

Is anyone thinking of cleaning up society? It might be work worthy of Sisyphus. As a shortcut, Newton could be bribed to tinker with his metaphysics, so that every action (= corruption) generates at least double the reaction (= clean-up). Otherwise, we shall never catch up. What are we to do when a city police commissioner gets arrested in a multi-crore scam involving a host of politicians and bureaucrats? While armchair vigilantes blame changes in the value-system, it is clear that bad governance is the real villain. Corruption can occur only in the absence of rational decision-making. How can a politician or official make extra-legal arrangements for a briber? By ensuring that policies possess no scientific understanding.

When this happens, violence can rush in. Those who conspired to kill a young road engineer were least bothered about the downward energy released by vehicles plying the Prime Minister's dream highway. But their faith on the dynamics of automatic weaponry was truly religious. It is another matter that bridges and buildings will collapse, roads resemble the moonface, valves explode, trains derail, villagers be exposed to radiation, citizens gassed at midnight. One is tempted to turn Heideggerian: one abyss invokes another.

A recently concluded United Nations convention has pointed out the loss of scarce resources due to corruption. In other words, it brings misery to poor people. An unjust consideration can bring doom in a small village in Bihar, or anywhere between Afghanistan to Palestine. The convention has, as is usual, called on civil society to arise and awake. But this sector feels voluntarily tired. It needs more energy. So could we please bribe Einstein to adjust his idea a little? Could E now equal MC7?

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