The end does not justify the means

Most if not all of us, want a corruption free society. One where we can take the daily encounters of our life to be smooth, hassle free and represented by an equal opportunity for everyone. The movement led by Anna Hazare has the right intentions but not the right means. Anna’s call for civil disobedience is unwise at this juncture, when the global economy is delicate and the lifeline of many are critically poised. Gandhiji’s call for civil obedience was meant to cripple the British economy, as a means and tactic to oust a foreign power. Why do we have to do this to our own economy? Thousands of young people are contributing to the already poor productivity and the increasing inflation that the country is facing, as a consequence of the agitation and Jail Bharo call.

Inflation is caused by poor productivity and not government policy. One needs legislation not to arrest inflation but to fight the malaise of poor productivity.

It is quite naïve to believe that introduction of Lokpal legislation will eradicate corruption in the country. Corruption has various forms at different levels of the society. At the lowest level, corruption happens because of poor remuneration, poor skills and capabilities and bad service. At the middle level, it happens because of expediency. At the highest level of the society, it happens in the process of aggrandizing greed and power. At any of these levels, legislation cannot prevent the ingenuity of the human mind to work around. It must and should be supported by processes and systems that are aimed at prevention more than cure. No legislation has ever succeeded that has been built on the premise of punishment; rather it is only possible to bring about change though a process of reform. Corruption is a call of conscience of an individual more than anything else; which in turn is a response to the external stimuli.

If Anna Hazare and his team have a political agenda to settle scores with the government they are welcome to do so at their personal expense and time. They do not have a right to subvert and mislead the country. It would have been much wiser for Anna to fight for the education and emancipation of the villagers whom he is familiar with; for them to get a better remuneration for the efforts they put  in their respective areas of work. Or for Ms. Kiran Bedi to publish a system that rewards and celebrates a better law enforcement force. Or Prashant Bhushan to develop a system that prevents arduous legal processes and enables justice to be delivered swiftly for every Indian. This would prevent corruption. Not a piece of legislation.

As Narayanmurthy has eloquontly articulated in his “Walk the Talk” interview with Shekar Gupta, let the government and Anna’s team bring together a 9 or 11 member committee that will create a framework consisting of legislation, process and systems that integrates a program for an active and effective way of bringing probity in every walk of life, across our society. The problem is more startling at the bottom-most part of the society and that is where the effort to strengthen the fabric of our society should begin.

We cannot be carried away by our notions of idealistic self-righteousness. We now live in a global society where our actions are watched and impact us for the perceptions they create. This world is  not an ideal place. Even in the United States where there is a great adherence to law at the level of common people in society, a Dominique Strauss-Kahn walks away scott free after “probably” committing a sexual offence because of corruption.

Rather than deliver a solution, let us not create a more debilitating problem for ourselves. Let us act responsibly and responsively. The path to hell is  paved with good intentions!

About Subbu Iyer

Subbu Iyer is an Innovation & Transformation Leader as with 28 years of serving customers globally. He is currently the Chief Designer & Transformer at Energizing Innovation, an enterprise that is being founded to facilitate continuous growth in enterprises and as a consequence create societal wealth. The Radical Shift that this enterprise intends to employ is focusing on the Potential rather than the Performance of a business. He has been a serial entrepreneur and an intrapreneur in his past life, having founded Nihilent Technologies and Nandaki Systems besides being associated in senior leadership roles with firms such as Coopers & Lybrand, Cambridge Technology Partners, Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro Technologies and Steria.
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2 Responses to The end does not justify the means

  1. r shankar says:

    Subbu – Ur post is so full of contradictions and worse it offers no solutions.

    Inflation is caused by poor productivity and not government policy. One needs legislation not to arrest inflation but to fight the malaise of poor productivity.
    – BTW- All that the govt is doin is causing more inflation and its entire policy is dole or entitlement based … and such a policy only murders productivity because it diverts investment of sparse resources from productive work to unproductive dole.

    on Narayanmurthy … he is a fallen hero
    let him start bothering about the betterment of shareholders of infosys who have suffered thanks to the crash in share price due to bad management and management squables…

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn walks away scott free after “probably” committing a sexual offence because of corruption.

    So much bullshit ry .. DSK had probably had consensual sex , and it is not corruption but a great .. very expensive legal team funded by his wife that fought for him.

  2. Subbu Iyer says:

    Shankar…I’ll leave the judgement about contradictions to your best self. Because, that is your prerogative and unlike the Anna team, I do believe in dialog, and mine and your right to agree to disagree.

    However, you seem to do agree with me about money being put in the wrong pots of expenditure…isn’t that the moot point which Anna and his team can take care of. I am not holding a brief for this government or any other political outfit. My angst is issue based. I am saying that the means adopted by Anna Hazare to agitate and campaign against corruption is flawed. This is causing a productivity loss for the nation at several levels. You realize that the expenditure spent on maintaining law and order for the so called fasting at Ramlila grounds in Delhi comes out of the tax money that honest tax payers like you and me end up paying, don’t u?

    If we can achieve and contribute even 10% of what Narayanmurthy has achieved and contributed to society, we have a right to pass the kind of statements that you have…else, getting personal does not erode a great leader such as NRN’s credibility!

    I am sure you have better inside information on Stauss-Kahn…you seem to belong to his inner circle!

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