Corruption In India Is A Legacy Of Colonialism Compounded By Globalization


By Dr. Sawraj Singh

At this time there is a big movement led by anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare against corruption in India. This movement is gaining more support after Anna started the fast. Can this movement end corruption in India? This movement can raise the awareness of the people against the problem, but cannot end the corruption.

The main cause of the problem is that the colonial bureaucratic structure was never changed and has been kept intact. Therefore, the independence from the colonial power is incomplete because we have faithfully preserved the bureaucratic structure. This bureaucratic structure deprives the people of the power which is needed to bring a real change in the power structure and sets up the stage for corruption.

Unfortunately, globalization has compounded the problem. The gap between the haves and the have-nots has widened further. To maintain this gap, a strong bureaucracy is needed. Therefore, the bureaucratic structure has to be strengthened further. The gap between the ordinary people and the people with power—economic, political, or bureaucratic—has increased.

The society is being polarized. There is an elite India which has economic, political, and bureaucratic power. Then, there is the ordinary India which is constantly losing whichever meager power it had. This polarization of the society is the main cause of corruption and unless we do something to reduce the gap, the problem is unlikely to be solved.

The movement against corruption can help to raise the peoples’ awareness about the problem and that certainly can help because some people will be motivated to understand the real underlying cause of the problem. The media is playing some positive role in raising the awareness of the people. With the exponential growth of the media, particularly the TV channels, it has become virtually impossible to completely control the media.

The present globalization is the continuation of the old colonialism to a new colonialism in which the gap between the rich and the poor countries and the gap between the rich and the poor in a country have increased. Unless the present imperialist globalization is replaced with a new world order based upon equality and justice, the legacy of colonialism will continue. We need a true independence which is complete and all the institutions based upon inequality are replaced by the institutions based upon equality, justice, and respect for the people. The time has come to say goodbye to the bureaucratic structure of the colonial era.

Dr. Sawraj Singh, MD F.I.C.S. is the Chairman of the Washington State Network for Human Rights and Chairman of the Central Washington Coalition for Social Justice. He can be reached at [email protected] or 509-962-3652.