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The ease at which petty Indian employees of government can extract bribes from those who seek such small favors as lay in their power to grant is explained by the fact that the generality of those who approach them are illiterate and are, at the same time, aware how difficult it is to prove that they have been paid bribes under compulsion. It is generally held that no highly placed officials likes to think that his subordinates have been throwing dust systematically into his eyes without his being able to detect it. This is also further fact that he is ordinarily not accessible to poor and ignorant people who, if they dare approach him at all, must do so through his Indian subordinates who generally have his ears. Such facility as they seek are a matter of life and death with them and they think, and almost in every case think rightly, that it is wisdom’s part to submit to exactions rather than add to existing troubles by accusing their oppressors of corrupt practices and them finding themselves unable to prove the charges brought against them. Indians have invariably felt that much of petty exactions of the subordinate Indians staff can be eliminated if only their superiors take a little extra trouble….Mr. Ramsay Macdonald who paid a visit to Indian before be became premier, said:

“When our officials spend public money extravagantly on matters which affect themselves - for instance, when a certain official of ours spends thousands of rupees from the public purse in moving a tree from one corner of his house to another- the Indian sees in that precisely the same thing which, when practiced by himself, we call appropriation of public revenue for personal use. But his is most frequently quoted parallel is our system of traveling allowance. Everyone knows that officials, from school inspectors to chaplains, put a large sum of money in their pocket by charging traveling allowance which they never spend...The West must ask no excuses for its own bad habits which it is not prepared to give to the East for its bad habits"

….The existence of corruption is admitted and the problem is to ascertain the best method for fighting it. The first step is the giving of living wages and the second the drastic punishment to offenders. This can be looked for only when searching investigation into every case is possible and when the people at large, and especially the poor, feel confident that there is a fair chance of their getting a hearing and not being victimized. This presupposes a sympathetic and easily accessible bureaucracy.


Modern Review. 1945

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Corruption 1940s

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