You might be a third world country if …

To me, one of the hazards of delayed flights is that I tend to read whatever I find lying around. A few days ago I found myself reading a discarded newspaper at an airport. I should not have but morbid curiosity won. A news item proudly reported that the president of India, Mr APJ Abdul Kalam, recommended that children take an oath and forswear corruption.

There you have it. As you are well aware, children indulge in corruption like nobody’s business in India. Scams perpetrated by the scores hit the newspapers with sickening regularity. One day you hear that a bunch of children have accepted kickbacks to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars in military equipment purchase. Next day you read about a couple of children who were involved in siphoning a few hundred million dollars’ worth of public monies meant for ‘fodder’. Then you read that some children were caught running a fake stamp-paper racket and the loss to the public purse was of the order of a few billion dollars.

I tell you, the corruption that children are responsible for is a crying shame. It is a matter of great urgency that they stop it immediately and the best way to do so is to force them to take an oath that they will cease and desist from ever indulging in corruption. I am very relieved that this terrible problem has been addressed at last.

Which brings me to conclude that if you figure lecturing innocent children solves the problem of institutionalized corruption by the bureaucracy and practically every politician of every party, then you might be a third world country.