Atanu Dey On India's Development

Nehru’s Position on Corruption in High Places

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Ever wonder why India is so corrupt? Because like three-day old fish, the rot starts at the top. Now you know what the top was at the time of India’s independence and therefore you must have had your conjectures. Now wonder no more.

An innocuous looking little item in the Hindu of Jan 9, 2010 says:

Prime Minister Nehru categorically ruled out any proposal for appointing a high power tribunal to enquire into and investigate charges of corruption against Ministers or persons in high authority, for the main reason that, in India, or for that matter any other country where there was a democratic set-up, he could not see how such a tribunal could function. The appointment of such a tribunal, Mr. Nehru felt, would “produce an atmosphere of mutual recrimination, suspicion, condemnation, charges and counter-charges and pulling each other down, in a way that it would become impossible for normal administration to function.” More than half the time of the Press conference was devoted by Mr. Nehru to deal with this question of appointing a tribunal to enquire into cases of corruption as recently urged by India’s former Finance Minister, Mr. C.D. Deshmukh.

The original item was published exactly 50 years earlier in the Hindu: January 9, 1960: Enquiry into charges

Remember that Nehru’s Congress party and his progeny have been at the helm of affairs which has led to India to become one stinking filthy heap of corruption. Corruption cannot be eradicated from Indian politics as long as that fact does not change. (Hat tip: Sri.)

  • dana

    I recently came across the almost heretical notion that perhaps transparency is more important than outright democracy (don’t have the link on hand but can dig it out if interested).

    Argentina (democratic, but corrupt) was compared against Singapore (hardly a liberal democracy, but transparent) and came out the sore loser.

    I wonder if that can also be applied to the case of India? Although I hardly think democracy and transparency are mutually exclusive.

  • AG

    Dana: Transparency is critical. Democracy is strictly optional.

    The former is a value, the latter is just a set of rules.

  • dana

    That is really interesting, is this view representative of general views in India?