Sunday, April 15, 2007

Weekend reading

I'm recovering from food poisoning (damn you, resto-bars of Gurgaon!), so chew on this: A nice story from the south about a group that's trying to stamp out bribery.

A snippet of the longer story:

In the secret language of corruption in India, an official expecting a bribe will ask for Mahatma Gandhi to “smile” at him. The revered leader of the independence movement is on all denominations of rupee notes.

With rampant dishonesty ingrained in the bureaucratic culture, an anticorruption group has decided to interpret the euphemism literally by issuing a zero-rupee note.

A direct copy of the 50-rupee note, including Gandhi’s portrait, it is designed to be handed out to officials who demand backhanders.

In the place of the usual promise of redemption by the central bank governor, the new pledge is: “I promise to neither accept nor give bribe.”

(The group behind the drive is 5th Pillar, an NGO dedicated to fighting corruption.)

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