The country is up for sale, grab a piece now!

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We can no longer kid ourselves about just how deep the rot runs in our system. It’s one thing to always slam politicians and government officials. But obviously, we’re all as bad as them — business, the media, middlemen and women, opinion makers, journalists and perhaps anyone, who manages to get his or her fingers into the pie. So here are our choices: watch ‘Rakhi ka Insaaf’ and worry about how low our moral standards are. Or watch what’s happening in the country and really know just how low our moral standards are. There doesn’t seem to be another option right now.

By Ranjona Banerjee

Is this the end of innocence? Of course, one could argue that anyone would be very foolish to be innocent at all. But the revelations of the past few months have taxed our credibility quotient to the max — the only possible response seems to be cynicism now. We can no longer kid ourselves about just how deep the rot runs in our system. It’s one thing to always slam politicians and government officials. But obviously, we’re all as bad as them — business, the media, middlemen and women, opinion makers, journalists and perhaps anyone, who manages to get his or her fingers into the pie.

And what a pie it is, ladies and gentlemen. The 2G spectrum scam alone accounts for Rs.1.76 lakh crore. Add to that the Commonwealth Games — how innocent were those times when we thought that Rs.70,000 crore was a lot of money; now you have to add a lakh crore to that — the possible mining scams and all the other loot industries flourishing all over the country and, hell, we sure do deserve that permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. Maybe we have more money than any other country on earth?

Of course, it is dangerous to fall into naïve territory here. There’s no point calculating all that money and trying to figure out whether it would end our budget deficit or feed all the below-the-poverty line people. Instead, now you understand why the poor will always remain poor and why the food grains will always rot in government storage. It is just not worth anyone’s while to do anything about it. If a government scheme is not big enough with sufficient loot potential, no industrialist will want to get involved, so no PR lobbyist will get into action and no journalists will use their “contacts” in a purely “journalistic” exercise to help the starving.

Look how quickly microfinance schemes turned into rackets. Industrialists and wannabe ministers, of course, do need help from lobbyists, journalists and such — the corridors of power are littered with landmines and only a careful guide (and presumably mattresses full of money) can see you through safely.

But ultimately, the bigger picture rests around the politicians and their chief helpers, the bureaucrats. We just have to accept that there are no holy cows — with due apologies to Sonia Gandhi, Shashi Tharoor and cows. The big business names who everyone assumed had to be super clean are looking a bit tarnished, but that’s our fault for making those assumptions in the first place.

Nowhere in the world can you be a saint and get filthy rich. What, for instance, is one to make of this government? Does it think that by removing Ashok Chavan and Suresh Kalmadi, its cleanup job is over? Ashok Chavan must be wondering what he did that was so wrong – a little flat here and there when thousands of crores were being looted elsewhere. Chavan lost his job pronto and A. Raja had to be literally dragged out (the way B.S. Yeddyurappa is behaving in Karnataka).

This much seems clear — if we lift our focus from these scams for a moment; the clean-up will become hogwash. All the operators will now sit quiet for a while, biding their time like toads. They’ll cover their warts with make-up, ready to pounce when we get distracted.

So here are our choices: watch Rakhi ka Insaaf and worry about how low our moral standards are. Or watch what’s happening in the country and really know just how low our moral standards are. There doesn’t seem to be another option right now.

Courtesy: DNA India

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