Recognizing Structures of Corruption: Indian context BY ::--
Vivek Kumar, Associate Professor, CSSS/JNU, New Delhi.
Defining Corruption: Broader definition in Indian Context
Corruption can be defined as a mechanism by which, a numerically smallsection of society denies majority of its people a plethora of rights
and privileges whether it is ‘Human Rights for dignified existence’,
‘equality: economic, political and social’, ‘liberty of occupation ,
residence and religious practices, fraternity etc. By doing this
numerically smaller group monopolizes religious, political, economic,
educational and judicial institutions etc. Historically this mechanism
is created, at the inception of the society, through religious texts
and sanctions. Later they are legitimatized socially by theories of
Dharma and Karma. The traditional structures created, in this fashion,
do not die in modern times. But they remain alive changing their form
and style of functioning and influence keeping the monopoly of the
numerically small section of the society intact. The existing
dominance in and composition of modern institutions of governance,
production, and education in India amply prove the point.
Corruption: The Narrow Definition
However in contemporary times in India the so-called leaders against
corruption have promulgated a very–very narrow definition of
‘Corruption.’ According to this definition ‘corruption can be defined
as misuse of a government or public office for personal gains’. How a
government servant or a politically elected member, or a judge misuse
their office. This is very reductionist and sweeping definition
because it does not take into account corruption existing in and
because of private sector. It does not take corruption induced by
social sector. For instance in India every one lakh women are burnt
alive because of dowry. Is this not a corruption? One can call it a
crime. But I will call it social corruption because here because of
greed certain people commit this act. Similarly, when people make huge
offerings of gold and silver to a temple that also amounts to
corruption because there is no account and receipt of who has made how
huge an offering? Nobody knows that a person has paid income tax on
that money and neither temple income is taxed even though temples have
gold worth trillions of rupees. Further, the corporate sector and big
land lords do not pay their labourers their minimum wages? Is this not
corruption? But this narrow definition of Corruption does not take all
this into account. However the narrow definition of corruption it
reveals certain important facts. Most importantly this definition
reveals that corruption is caste phenomenon.
Is Corruption a Caste Phenomenon?
Accepting both the broader and narrow definition of the corruption we
can argue that corruption has a caste. Who are the people who have
made such structures in ancient period which denied majority of people
from plethora of rights for thousands of years? Who were the people
who monopolized the institutions of governance, education, and
production? Of course the so-called upper-castes! And hence they were
responsible for a corrupt social order from its inception which was
in-equal and devoid of equality, liberty and fraternity (Dr. Babasaheb
Amedkar Writings And Speeches Vol. 3 Pages 96-115). If that was the
case in ancient period what is the condition in the present
Who are these people who dominate and monopolize the modern and
secular institutions viz. Polity, Judiciary, Bureaucracy, Industry,
University and Media? Again the answer is the so-called Upper-castes!
Now if we take narrow definition of corruption; according to it
Bureaucracy, Judiciary, and Polity are main centres of corruption and
hence have to be brought under Lok Pal. But here also when we analyse
the composition of these three institutions on the basis of available
data because of reservation then we find that these institutions are
totally monopolised by the so called upper-castes as well (for
Judiciary and bureaucracy see 4th National Commission for Scheduled
Caste and Scheduled Tribe report 1996-97 & 1998-99, ( Pages 20-22 ).
According to this report there are only 3% of SC and ST in High Courts
as judges and Additional Judges. Now there is no SC and ST Judge in
Supreme Court of India. Further this report says that Brahmins,
Rajpits, Kayasthas, and Banyas constitute approximately 83% of Class
–I government and Non-government servicers. SCs, STs, OBCs and
Minorities roughly constituted only 13% and rest were other castes.
That means in these institutions again so-called upper-castes are
directly responsible for corruption.
What are the Conclusions?
So what are the conclusions we can draw from the above analysis of
structures and mechanisms of corruption?
1. The on-going movement against corruption has very narrow definition
of corruption which only takes note of corruption in government
2. Why this movement has left corruption in private, religious and
social sectors untouched is best known to the leaders of the movement.
Or is it a political ploy to target only government where now we have
stated witnessing arrival of erstwhile excluded communities like SCs,
STs and OBCs?
3. The present movement does not highlight the fact that corruption is
an upper caste phenomenon.
4. So when the corruption is high caste phenomenon then this on-going
movement against corruption is for correcting the wrongs of the
so-called upper-castes only. Where does the nation and other
5. Hence to argue that they have organized this movement for and on
behalf of the nation is a big farce.
6. Hence this movement does not represent the majority of the
population belonging to SCs, STs, OBCs and Religious Minorities.
7. This movement does not represent all also because we did not elect
the leaders and the issue of this movement.
8. Hence the leaders of the on-going movement are self –styled and
9. What an irony undemocratically elected leaders are talking about