Recently a cop caught me parking at a NO PARKING Zone and demanded that I deposit my license with him. This is usually a ploy used by the police in Mumbai to make you pay him a bribe. So I refused and insisted he should collect fine against receipt there and then and settle the matter. (Once you deposit the license, you will spend a whole day in the court waiting for your turn before finally paying up).
As I resisted depositing the license, he promptly demanded a bribe of Rs200/. He explained to me that the usual bribe for this offense is Rs 400, but he was charging me less because I looked like a senior citizen. Little did I realize that even corrupt cops give some consideration to senior citizens! Do I rejoice at having saved 200 bucks or feel cheated at the daylight robbery committed. I certainly deserved to be penalized for the offense committed(though unwittingly). But the guy who is representing the state is committing a bigger crime and going virtually scotfree in broad daylight.
Why can’t we have a simple system of issuing a parking ticket which can be paid up later by the individual, as is done in the USA? The only plausible answer is that our systems are deliberately designed to promote corruption!
In another similar case of corruption involving traffic violation by a friend of mine, a cop demanded a certain amount of money as bribe. When my friend said he didn’t have change, the cop apparently said: “I don’t have change either sir, since this is the first case of the day. Give me whatever change you have and allow me to make an auspicious beginning.Sahib, eh mera BOHNI hai”. (BOHNI refers to a custom in India where the first business transaction of the day has to based on ‘Cash-only’ basis and done without any hitch).
So, where is our country headed? Even HAZAAR Hazares cannot make any impact on our corrupt way of life. Can they?