Saturday, November 8, 2008

Who’s Gonna Be ‘Corrupt’?

A couple of nights ago, I was reading Amitabha Ghosh’s Countdown. A delightful read, I must say. One of those socio-eco-political accounts that will glue an intellectual’s eyes to the text. I read about how George Fernandes vehemently and violently protested against Indira Gandhi’s policies as a college-student in 1974, when India had its first nuclear test at Pokhran. Years down the line, when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) & it’s allies came to power, with George Fernandes as the Defense Minister, they had five consecutive nuclear tests at Pokhran; and Fernandes himself signed the documents permitting them. What changed him? Or did he change at all? What makes a politician do things that are, seemingly anti-humanity? Do we really understand them beyond what the media shows us? Do we ever get to know what are the various (and, often conflicting) pressures that they carry on them, beyond what they themselves decide to reveal to the media? I think, NO.

I sent a message to all the people on my phonebook (oblivious of the expenditure, as usual!), which goes as follows:

“Suppose, you are the Prime Minister of India. The United Nations hands you a cheque worth Rs.20 lakhs INR for building 100 primary schools in the country. Your childhood friend is diagnosed with lung cancer; the best surgeons for treatment are in France; the expenditure is something like 20 lakhs. What do you choose to do with the money you have? Do you choose your childhood friend or your country?”

What I forgot to mention is that 20 lakhs is a hypothetical value, I understand that it’s certainly not enough to build a 100 primary schools. At the same time, what I meant to highlight is that the UNESCO and UNDP funds are never actually large enough to serve the purpose they’re meant for. The other thing is an assumption that you aren’t corrupt, yet. If you’re already corrupt you aren’t even remotely expected to spend the money for its intended purpose. Furthermore, if you’re corrupt, you already have enough money at your disposal to bother about a mere 20 lakhs or a mere lung cancer!


Save a few, most bothered to reply! Here are the various replies: (for a brief, tabular representation of the results, please scroll downwards):


(I hope none of my friends will take offence at my public publishing of their SMSes)


Agnimita: My country. If I’m the PM, then I can finance my friend’s operation myself. I wouldn’t need the money allotted for my country’s development.

Avik-Da: I will save my friend if he’s worth it.

Arijit Kundu: I would go for my country first, then any friend, then myself.

Amrita: I will choose my country. Because, for my friend, I’ll have black money.

Nikita: Good that you have provided me food for thought. I will ponder upon it and reply later on.

Kundan: I’d use the grant to build schools! And if I’m the PM, I’d have my own money enough to afford my friend’s treatment at France! So, both would be done!

Puspen: Friend.

Mrityunjoy-Da: Country…

Sagnik: Ask the Prime Minister himself, LOL

Neema: Dunno if it’s right or wrong, but I would save my friend. The schools can wait.

Gaurav Pande: I would return the money. If the choices would have been such that I would have to sacrifice something of my own for any of those causes, I’d readily done so. I can’t choose anyone of these options because choosing one of them may cause harm or difficulties to others. I don’t want to take decisions which bring joy to many and death to one. So better avoid. That’s the best way out.

Deshraj: That’s a tough decision. But I think I’ll choose my childhood friend…

Arpita Bayen: I’ll build primary schools with these rupees. And I’ll try to get 20 lakhs with all my money and property…if I can’t, I’ll get a loan for it. Because, I can’t use country’s money for my personal problem, and I can’t leave my friend either. (Arpita’s is the best reply according to me)

Sudeepa: Look, it’s easy to say that everyone has to die someday, so, it’s India’s future which should be considered here. Anyway, There isn’t any PM whose private possessions are less than 20 lakhs. So, both will be served.

Sudipto: Childhood friend.

Sujoy: As a Prime Minister, I must go for building the primary schools, as the amount donated is not for my personal use. And I hope my pals will also understand why I have done so. (the second best reply)

Souvik: As I’m a PM so I’d think for everybody! The schools can wait for sometime, but if I help my friend, I can save 1 life. So, I’ll help my friend first!

Saheli: I’ll chose my childhood friend.

Raka: When such a situation happens in reality, then, I’ll weigh the other factors and effects and decide. Till then, racking your brain over this is futile.

Bishwadeb-Da: Firstly, if I’m the PM, then I’ll have enough sources and power to sponsor and not require UN funds (assuming my friend is poor, and not one who can afford the surgery). Secondly, I am sure India has world-renowned doctors, so I will not need France for a surgery. (this response was good enough!)

Rumeli: I would choose my childhood friend. And do hell with my country. I will resign. And will see what happens later…because I love my friend a lot.

Sohini: My country.

Madhumanti: I will choose my country.

Moumita: Of course my country…since I’m answerable to my country & the UN…a responsibility as a Prime Minister. Maybe I could spare that amount from my pocket for a friend.

Sourav Roy: Childhood friend.

Sangharsan: If I were the Prime Minister, I’d never want or ask for money…I would work hard to keep my country in the best way possible. I will sell myself, and all my happiness to save my friend, but never my country. My friend would also never want me to do that.

Arijit Majhi: It’s simply impossible to set up 100 primary schools with 20 lakhs…it’s better to save my friend’s life.

Trishita: My childhood friend, of course!

Payal: I’ll think and reply after a few days.

Tiyash: I guess friend…or 50:50…

Manavi: Obviously, I’ll choose my friend. Why open schools and torture tiny-tots…right?

Elisha: Confused…but I’d do both…build 100 schools to maintain my image before the UN & curb illiteracy. Also try to fund my friend’s treatment with my own bank balance as much as I can do for my friend…

Torsha: Give me some time to think…will reply later

Rajarshi-da: Country….because it’s meant for the country.

Dipayan: I’ll start a 100 primary schools; that way, my country will be rendered necessary service…& my childhood friend will be proud of me. But out of black money (this is India), I’m sure those 100 schools will be made. It won’t hurt to become a bit immoral for my friend and my country! That’s the way…that’s why, be within the system…and only when needed, take the wrong path. We always have a choice; it’s upto us to use our choice and put it to good use, however bad it might look to the public eye or our own morals, if it finally helps the person or the system….that’s important to you. A problem is not going to exist without a solution! And to put it to a conclusion, what I don’t understand is, why do you have to choose between your childhood friend and country?

Suchandrima: He’s the PM, that too India’s, and he himself doesn’t have Rs.20 lakhs! And…100 schools with just 20 lakhs? No schools, only slums will be made! I’ll choose friend with my money, and country with UN money.

Aryan: I will choose my country.

Sonnet: Me, being a philanthropist, so NOTWITHSTANDING the matter of being my Prime Minister, I would always prefer my country when the fund is coming for a specified reason. As for my friend…I think I can live with one kidney. (the most ‘practical’ reply)

Sohom-da: I should divide these 20 lakhs between the two. Reasons: 1. The treatment can be started, paying the 10 lakh in advance and the 10 lakh out of instalments, in future (out of my drafts, bonds & estates). 2. The building project can be started using 10 lakh and the rest 10 lakh can be paid of any of the PM...funds. Time is what a PM needs.

Vaibhav-da: Well, for the time being, I’ll allocate 10 lakhs between the two causes. And invest the remaining 10…so that it will multiply itself in some time. Hence, both the causes will be served.

Avishek Das: Obviously, my friend.

Abhishek Banerjee: 20 lakhs are insufficient for building a 100 primary schools! So instead of taking on the project, I’ll use the money to treat my friend while in the meantime I’ll ask for extra funds. While the extra funds arrive the stock markets might show an up-trend and the extra funds will multiply and become enough for the project!

I was really kidding…I myself don’t know what comes first- duty or love. So naturally, I don’t know the answer to your question!

Koyel: Country at first. If abandoned educated fellows turn doctors, then many people’s childhood friends can be saved from lung cancer. (the third best reply)

Aishik: people of India.

Mum:  Tough decision to take. Leaving it for you.

Baba: Country. Because it’s wiser to invest in education than a disease such as lung cancer.

Bro: 10 lakhs to schools, 5 lakhs to friends, 5 lakhs for myself.

You know what I’d thought? If someone spends it on any other purpose than the intended one, he/she’ll be the one whom the common man calls ‘corrupt’. So, I’ve got a number of completely corrupt friends, and partially corrupt friends as well!


Number Of People Questioned


Number Of People Replied


Number Of People Choosing Country


Number Of People Choosing Friend (Corrupt)


Number Of People Choosing 50:50 (Partially Corrupt)


Number Of People Undecided


 Anyway, here's the same question for anyone who reads this:

“Suppose, you are the Prime Minister of India. The United Nations hands you a cheque worth Rs.20 lakhs INR for building 100 primary schools in the country. Your childhood friend is diagnosed with lung cancer; the best surgeons for treatment are in France; the expenditure is something like 20 lakhs. What do you choose to do with the money you have? Do you choose your childhood friend or your country?”

P.S: Please remember the assumptions...



acidVox said...

most probably this answer is an influenced one becoz u hv already posted so many replies ....

still , i think i will go for my country ... and since i am the pm , its reasonabl 2 blv dat my personal posessions will > 20 lakhs... so ... if the friend is really dear to me ... ill take the step f selling evrything i hav ...

practically speaking .. i still dont hav friends for whom i would do that .... so its useless to brag ... probably i wud ignore the " friend" 's ailment ... nod my head , show up at his funeral ...

sounds harsh ... but i think i need to speak truthfully if not idealistically ....

part21 said...

well first of all this question ignited a lott of things in me
so lets start on ...most of all i'm commenting on this post without reading it whole..
i just came to comment coz i thought that da replies of others can kinda play mindgames with maah solution

which i've in maah mind..morever i believe that if i would be there on ur phonebook list i would have also

got da sms...last of all it doesn't bothers either wayss..and i'm kewl even if i wouldn't have got dfa sms

either wayss

now lets concentrate on da point..i guess i would have choosen country coz choosin one frend over many of da

peoples else who could have been maah frend if i knew its kinda a bad analytics to choose da

frend..morever i belive i have many reasosns for this..lemme list them....
1.first of all i came to side of country not coz i'm a patrioitic and all./..i just did it coz of maah

belief that the other peoples whom iu dont know could be maah frends..
2.i belive using da mmoney for maah frend is kida usin it for maahselfand most of all dat money is comin to

me through politics and all and i hate politics so i wont be using it for me in any of da lets BUIL

3.and i also belive that i can arrange da money for maah frend da oder way too..coz nottin is impossible for

me......and most of all i have experience in this thing..maah family has been through it and it was kinda

easy for us tyo arrange da money so guess again it will be a easy play..
4.most of all i belive if i replied this question some other time mah ans would be different coz i'm


talking abd all dis it made me remember maah best frend and i'm kinda angry on u to make me think like dat

abt maah frend..he/she just mean a lott to me.,...nottin will eva happen to dem thatts all i know
all hail to everyone...

part21 said...

heyy i has said naah after reading it all maah views can be i feel like more to go on da side of maah frend.....

i guess i would do a head tail toss thing or something spontaneous as such which would involve da list of thinking nd all...coz thinking hurts da most..huh

Rene Lacoste said...

Didn't these people beat you up for putting their replies on a public domain? :P

More seriously though, the point about George Fernandes. Your portrayal of that particular "flip-flop" implies that no one can change her/his stand on anything once it has been taken. You might oppose abortion today because you saw an abandoned foetus. So will you oppose it all along? Say, for a moment, that a friend of yours has an unborn child who has already been diagnosed as majorly handicapped and has very limited life expectancy?

Twisha Mukherjee said...

>>acidVox: It's not reasonable to believe that you already possess 20+lakhs, since I've asked you to assume that you don't. Number two: friend is just a metaphor for 'family and other close relations'. What I want to say id=s that a politician has a personal life as well, towards which he has his obligations. If your wife at home asks you to buy her something that you 'personally' can't afford, do you take the government's money? If no, what do you tell your wife? that you don't love her enough? This is the tough decision that they need to make, what they decide has pretty little to do with whether they want to be corrupt or not.
>>part21: I'm sorry that I brought sad thoughts to you. I apologise. I appreciate your second point in the first reply the most In your second reply, you sound like me. Don't toss, take a survey instead.
>>Rene Lacoste: No, they didn't beat me up for up putting up private smses on a public domain. But those who chose 'friend' were annoyed that I should label them 'corrupt'. Thanks for the point you gave to ponder upon. Everything's relative. What's right, & what's wrong, depends on the perspective you decide to look at from.

tiyash said...

jotogulo posts ache tar modhhe 2nd most boring!!!

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