WhatÂ are Indian policemen doing when they are not busyÂ encountering (i.e engaging in cold-blooded murder of people)?
Easy answer – When Indian policemen are not encountering, they are very busyÂ extorting bribes.
A new report by Trace International based on a 16-month study of collecting and analyzing reports of bribery demands in India has found that policemen are among the top bribe demanders in the country.
Of course, we desis always knew that our cops were swines. Didn’t we.
Who among us has not encountered a demand for a bribe from a traffic cop or at the Pondicherry-Tamil Nadu border or for passport address verification or for a countless other routine things. As they say in India, the difference between cops and thieves – policemen are uniformed thieves.
According to the Trace International survey, majority of bribe demands in India (91%) came from government officials. And policemen accounted for 30% of the bribe demands (second only to national-level government oficials at 33%).
The Trace study mentions that 77% of the bribe reports made to its BRIBEline tool described extortionist demands – i.e. payment for avoiding harm or disadvantage rather than for gaining an advantage.Â
Apparently, only 12% of the reported bribes were for gaining an advantage, including exercising influence with or over another government official, receiving inappropriate favorable treatment, or winning new business.Â
Says Trace President Alexandra Wrage:
The vast majority of the reports in India are of extortionate demands for the purpose of avoiding some harm or disadvantage. It is interesting to note that 30% of these reports describe bribes demanded by the police. BRIBEline can uncover key trends for international companies to consider when crafting their risk mitigation tools so companies can address the real issues that their employees face on the ground in India.
Other highlights of the Trace International study on demand-side bribery in India:Â
* Nearly half of the individuals who reported a demand for a bribe said they had been asked for bribes more than once
* Of the individuals reporting a bribe demand, 9% reported that they had been solicited over 100 times
* 92% of all reported bribe demands were for cash or a cash equivalent. The next most common demand reported (at 5%) was a “gift,” including requests for company products, jewelry and similar items.
* Values of the reported bribe demands ranged from less than $20 (29%) to over $500,000 (about 1%). Most of the reported bribe demands were for relatively small amounts of money.
According to Wrage:
Although most reports of bribe demands in India are for low dollar amounts, a significant number of individuals reported being asked for a bribe more than 100 times. Those repeated demands for relatively small amounts of cash can be difficult for companies to track and they can add up over time to significant totals. Our findings in the India BRIBEline Report reinforce the importance of having strong internal controls to encourage commercial transparency at all levels.
We must add here that the Trace International report makes no mention of encounters in India, presumably because they are not as familiar with how the Indian police functions (ha ha as if they those uniformed thugs even function…took the buffoons over 60 hours to get things under control inÂ Mumbai during the recent terrorist attack).
Check this out:http://indiatoday.digitaltoday.in/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=24793&issueid=88§ionid=30&itemid=1
Although it mainly talks about equipments and training, it also mentions the salary of constabulary as being equal to that of a “semi-skilled worker”. The things mentioned in the article give the causes to all our grievances with the police but is still no justification for many of their actions. I personally believe moral equivalence is not just cause for doing anything.
How about you SI?
1. Much as the acid attack on Kousetti Swapnika was heinous and barbarous, encountering the four youths allegedly responsible (and who were already in police custody) is not moral equivalence. That is cold-blooded murder by the police.
When teachers in their ivory towers ponder/debate about Moral Equivalence in abstract or even with reference to real world illustrations, it’s not unhealthy. But when politicians, policemen or military forces or the citizenry start drinking the kool-aid of moral equivalence, it’s dangerous to applaud because the bells may toll for thee soon.
That said we also believe man is a base violent animal at all times and the existence and enforcement of laws the only alternative to violent anarchy in society. So we also believe Samuel Huntington’s strong arguments on the importance of order above all.
Some may hold our views as contradictory. So be it.
2. You write: I personally believe moral equivalence is not just cause for doing anything.
We believe this notion of moral equivalence is a mere justification for retaliatory violence, an attempt to occupy the moral high ground in a violent battle of ideas or people.
It is a dangerous tool that can be used to justify anything – dropping nukes on the Japs, justifying attack on Iraq (even after it was found that Saddam had no WMDs or program), unleashing a pogrom against Muslims in Gujarat….
3. Our favorite sentence from your above link (below sentence is on constables):
No application of mind: All investigative powers are with the SHO, leaving the constable as an automaton carrying out orders with no personal initiative.
Based on our few encounters with constables in India in the distant past, we’ve often wondered whether they are human or merely human-like.
Being an avid movie watcher (which is what first drew me to your blog) I have come to realise a few things:
1. Most movies are a reflection of the times they are made in. Some are ahead of their times.
2. Movies hide in them the dreams and aspirations of their intended audience. Through the protagonist the audience realise them.
Rather than listening to a good story most of us wish to be a part of it, atleast in our fantasies and the big screen provides us with the sights and sounds necessary for pulling it off.
Kinda like how the slaves of ancient Egypt fantasised about heaven.
Only some of us are fortunate enough to live a full life while “the mass of men lead lives of quite desperation”.
Coming to the point, tamil films are what they are because that is what tamilians want. Rural tamil nadu is stridden with poverty and oppression. They like rajni and vijay cos they want to be them. Kamal caters to the comparatively educated lot.
Anniyan was a cult-hit cos they’ve had it with crappy train food, gutter roads, drunken linemen and the rest of it. If some crazy guy was to find out and murder all those responsible, forget the rule of law and hail moral equivalence. For someone who gave Anniyan rave reviews, you were quite quick to trash the protaganist ‘anniyan’.
Next time you do the post and I’ll do the comments. 🙂
(Your comment is in the wrong place…meaning you’ve responded to the wrong post.)
Interesting comment (proves the brain is still a working organ for at least some of our readers).
1. Your comment is more a reflection of India, where much of the citizenry live in abject poverty.
And the irony is the Akshays/SRKs/Aamirs make tens of crores on the backs of the immiserized strata that longs for an escapist fantasy from the dreary drudgery of their miserable lives.
Poverty is a good business opportunity.
Not sure if your logic will hold up in the west (countries where food, clothing & shelter are not issues).
2. Some movies transcend time and have a timeless appeal. Take for instance Casablanca: it was released in 1942, yet the Black & White movie resonates well with audiences even today for the extraordinary story of Rick & Ilsa.
3. Just as India has been too sloooow to change, Indian cinema will be sloooow to change.
For decades, Bollywood & Kollywood have produced crap and will continue to produce crap or steal in the foreseeable future as well.
4. Would we hail Anniyan with the same enthusiasm now? Probably not. We watched Anniyan a few years back after a significant hiatus from Indian movies. It seemed like Vikram did a decent job. Plus, we most likely watched it after seeing a bunch of pathetic movies.
5. By extending your logic, Tamil/Hindi audiences don’t care about theft of movies because there’s so much anomie in India.
Coolfrog_20 wrote: “…tamil films are what they are because that is what tamilians want. Rural tamil nadu is stridden with poverty and oppression. They like rajni and vijay cos they want to be them…….”
I would like to debate more on that point but unfortunately I don’t have time. But the diagnosis of the escapist mindset and the deep-rooted apathy of the indian audience wouldn’t be as simple as that, I guess, simply because abject poverty, like you say, still doesn’t explain why our well-heeled NRIs or bulk of the rich resident indians for that matter, who are hardly immiserized, manage to get a kick out of the abomination/affront called indian cinema.
I feel our sense of being oppressed goes much deeper than mere physical poverty. It is as if the collective soul of our race is so terminally infected by a sense of intellectual mediocrity that we, somehow, subconsciously abhor anything intelligent, complex and empirical. Our escapism does not simply denote a ‘desire to escape from misery’, rather, it betrays our desperate and fanatical adherence to spurious moral ‘simplification’ of Life, which, perhaps, is a mutated offspring of the majestic ‘spiritual idealism’ we’d inherited long back(is it what f****d us, actually???). At times, i feel, we, the Indians, are bastard sons of God and Satan, acquiring the best of Satan and the worst of God…..
1. You write: abject poverty, like you say, still doesn’t explain why our well-heeled NRIs or bulk of the rich resident indians for that matter, who are hardly immiserized, manage to get a kick out of the abomination/affront called indian cinema
As we sometimes say (more in seriousness than in jest), you can take the Indians out of India but not the India out of Indians.
2. You write: At times, i feel, we, the Indians, are bastard sons of God and Satan, acquiring the best of Satan and the worst of God…..
Say that again. And again. And again. Say that a million times.
And it still wouldn’t be enough.
3. We are not that familiar with desis in other countries but in the U.S., our desis are obsessed with Indian cinema (as seen in increasing number of theatres showing Bollywood films, pirated Hindi videos coming out within one or two days of release, star-shows et al).
Just look at this video of Akshay Kumar at the New York City premiere of Chandni Chowk to China. Gosh, wonder how many of our Indian guys at the Chandi Chowk premiere achieved orgasm at the sight of Akki.
Sholay was supposedly ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/6981053.stm ) inspired by “The Magnificent Seven”.. Have you “anal”yzed the similarities yet?
Haven’t seen Magnificent Seven but have seen Sholay more than once (long back in Tamil Nadu & recently on DVD).
Will try to watch Magnificent Seven shortly too see if there are similarities.
The Magnificent Seven movie was adapted from a Japanese Movie “Seven Samurai” by Akira Kurosawa.
Wikipedia has the whole story. Check the movie out if you get it.
Will do. Kurosawa is considered a legend.
Excerpt from “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Seven_Samurai”
…Its influence can be most strongly felt in the western The Magnificent Seven (1960), a film specifically adapted from Seven Samurai. Director John Sturges took Seven Samurai and adapted it to the Old West, with the Samurai replaced by gunslingers. Many of The Magnificent Seven’s scenes mirror those of Seven Samurai and the final line of dialogue is nearly identical: “The old man was right. Only the farmers won. We lost. We always lose.” The film spawned several sequels and there was also a short-lived 1998 television series.
The Indian film Sholay (1975) borrowed its basic premise from Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven. The film was declared BBC India’s “Film of the Millennium” and is the highest-grossing Indian film of all time.
(ha ha as if they those uniformed thugs even functionâ€¦took the buffoons over 60 hours to get things under control in Mumbai during the recent terrorist attack).
they did thier best in the given circumstances with resource constraints and help from the NSG …considering the fact that there were hostages inside and its not a straight case to deal with …
Have you seen this piece in India Today?
Excerpt from India Today story on NSG:
Wonder if it’s true and if true who the VVIPs were?
I have not heard about this Trace International …so will not go with their figures ….nevertheless Police reforms are needed ….these problems are common knowledge and need urgent attention …
Govt came up with the Tatkal scheme at the passport office …and this went a long way in reducing corruption ….However there is no substitute for police verification ….so that part continued as it is ..