भ्रष्टाचार को पकड़ना मुश्किल ही नहीं नामुमकिन है: The unending search for catching corruption

“There is one thing tougher than catching ‘Don’. Call it Mission Impossible if you will, though it is tougher than that. Can you tell me what it is?” asked my South Indian friend Swami as we sipped an evening coffee.

I gave it some thought for a while and ventured a guess. “Beating Australia in Australia.”

“No, we have done it a few years back”, Swami said, rejecting my answer. “Any other guesses?”

Then it was my broker friend Jigneshbhai’s turn. “Beating the market index?”

“Naah, sometimes some people do end up beating the index. It is मुश्किल, but not नामुमकिन,” said Swami, like a quiz master, surprisingly using Hindi, possibly giving us clues.

When there were no more guesses, he finally announced in chaste Hindi, “Well, you may achieve Mission Impossible and catch Don, but भ्रष्टाचार को पकड़ना मुश्किल ही नहीं नामुमकिन है!”

He continued telling us that he had just finished watching three thrilling, adventure movies in the course of the week. He started with watching Tom Cruise jumping off buildings in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, and was impressed with the thrills. On the next day, on the insistence of his wife, despite the Ra.One experience, he went and watched Don 2: The Chase Continues. He said he was impressed with the thrills, pace and slickness of the movie.

But the most thrilling of all was the movie he watched on TV spread from Tuesday through Thursday, in which he followed a bunch of talented artistes chase and nail down a known evil named ‘भ्रष्टाचार’. “It seemed a thrilling, almost non-scripted ride. It was never clear what will happen next”, remarked Swami.

“In fact, there was amazing suspense on who the heroes were, who the villains were, and viewers were left wondering whether they kept changing roles”, remarked my broker friend, Jigneshbhai who had partly watched some of the proceedings.

“Yeah – new characters kept coming in from time to time. The stage kept moving, new rules and equations between various characters kept on emerging. In fact, at one point, they even left the viewer guessing on whether the story was actually about nailing down this भ्रष्टाचार guy, or if the plot had changed to something else”, Swami remarked, confused as always.

“Hey, you must be joking about the Lokpal Bill”, I said.

“Yes, of course. But were the thrills in it anything less than MI-4 or Don-2?”, mocked Jigneshbhai. On second thoughts, he continued “Well – those movies at least have a happy ending. This one does not seem like it is going to end soon.”

“But they were going to pass the bill soon, I had thought. Perhaps this session or the next”, I said, trying to be a bit logical and patient. One better be rational and take a well-considered view, specially when it comes to issues of national importance.

But then Swami said, “Well, it is a thriller – so you never know what will happen. They may pass it, but most likely not. In any case, passing the bill is one thing. But catching भ्रष्टाचार is another. That guy will still get away. Don does not catch himself, right?”

He continued, “That’s why I said, Tom Cruise may achieve Mission Impossible. Don may get caught eventually. India may beat Australia in Australia. Someone might even beat the market index consistently. Those things are easy. But it has been 40 plus years now – in our unending search for catching corruption. So भ्रष्टाचार को पकड़ना मुश्किल ही नहीं नामुमकिन है.”

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