9) Some believe that the high level of corruption levels in the country can be traced back to certain elements in Indian Culture. Critically analyse.

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Topic: Human Values-Lessons from the lives of great leaders, reformers & Administrators

9) Some believe that the high level of corruption levels in the country can be traced back to certain elements in Indian Culture. Critically analyse. (150 Words)


  • Mithrandir

    Answer: Corruption, Prostitution and Theft are as old as Human civilisation. These malices of society are well represented in various mythologies, upanishads, samhita and vedas which forms documentation of Indian Culture of olden times.

    Corruption was present and prevalent during old times are evident from one instance in Mahabharata: In Mahabharata it is mentioned that, when Sudama started his journey to meet Shri Krishna. He had a bag full of rice, but as he crossed each provinces, guards at nagar dwara asked for share of rice as bribe. Hence, when Sudama reached Dwaraka, he was left only with handful of rice. It shows that bribing existed in those time also and were part of Indian culture.Corruption exists where ever there is manual intervention in public authority and personal greed dominating over public duty. In India, because of vast poverty and gap between public authority and public created reason for corruption more.

  • ARJUN Sharma

    Rationalization of self interest is very basic to any human or group behavior irrespective of the caste, creed, place of birth, society etc. Indian society also had such tendency of self maximization which makes corruption as part of Indian culture alike any other culture . Several texts like Huien Tsang’s account of India has occasional mention of some malpractices like bribes, theft etc. Thus we can say, it was a part of Indian culture.

    However, solely blaming it on Indian culture is not wise. Further,Indian culture itself is composed of more than 4600 societies whose integration process is yet not complete. Hence, CORRUPTION today is more of an outcome of political indifference, poor enforcement of laws pertaining to it, colonial impact of subjugation and economic inequality.

  • Rosemund godfather

    Corruption an parasite to indian nation is said to have many roots but many a times indian culture is mired with promoting corruption.

    historically corruption was witnessed in the time of kings, presently in modern day 21st century and is likely to be carried into future. Certain aspects of indian culture has been held responsible for corruption in country.

    uncontenting desire, never ending greed, ideology to accumulate wealth, prevailing poverty, day by day wedging of societies on economic grounds have been held responsible corruption in the country.

    corruption is said to be an multifaceted problem, and culture is just one cause responsible for it. the need of the hour is to identify all the reasons for corruption and try to nip them so that they are not carried along in the future. this approach would not eradicate corruption but would also provide indian people with a honest and effective government.

  • Radhika

    Kautilya in his economic treatise Arthshashtra has enumerated around 40 types of embezzlement of funds. During Mughal system ‘bakshish’ ( a form of bribery) was prevalent and during British time “fee” or “commission” was given to employees.

    In present day, greese money at lower level and percentage of profit at higher level of administration are quite common. Everyone who goes to govt office has made up his mind to empty his pockets whenver the need be. Paying for smallest of work for a legitimate government service has become a norm. This has become and unspoken knowledge and everyone adhers to it. Thus it has become Indian culture.

    However, recent anti-corruption movement has uprooted governments and people are becoming more aware and are reluctant to give bribes. The younger generation is more responsive and the new generation of officers seems commited to uproot this culture.

    • Gajendra Thakur

      more facts on culture can be added in opinion…1st para good one…overall nice answer!!Kindly review mine!!!

    • kid monkey

      i donno how u take it….

      1. As islamic historian’s opined – hindus who constitute majority in india do worship money in the form of goddes -Lakshmi. This approach led to the practice of giving too much importance to earning money.
      2. even the king of gods, the Indra used “corruptive practices like sending dancers to spoil the meditation of a few Rishis like vishwamitra.
      3. much regarded arthashastra also mentioned that corruption is a common phenomenon. It even advised the king to choose it to topple the enemy kings.
      4. the incidents from our epics also glorified corruption and deception for the cause of achieving larger good.- “Lord vishnu deceived as mohini to not to let Rakshasas to get Amrita”
      5. the practice of accepting corruption as a common phenomenon is another cultural problem that we face.

  • please somebody review it

    Corruption existed at the high levelnot only in present times but also in the indias history and culture. There are even examples of corruption that had led to fall of various top authorities in indian history. One of the example is of mirjafar whose greed to become nawab lead him to conspire with british which resulted in battle of plassey and defeat of sirajuddaullah.
    Corruption is also one of the reasons that resulted in soany battles across induan subcontinent from time immemorial. It is very difucult to remove such a deep rooted evil that is also accompanied by greed and jealousy.
    But the various measures taken by the govt in recent times like setting up of lokayuktas and lokpals , passing of laws etc have resulted in creating awareness among people about how bad it is tp give bribe and also to take a bribe.
    Need is to create awareness among people spanning subregions and remote areas and the implementation of the rules in letter and spirit.

    • Radhika

      good.. but u have nto able to connect issues with culture… what is culture.. its a way of life… culture is not history… Nevertheless great work …


  • Born for ias

    It is said that society inherits its values from cultral patterns and our country, that though proclaims of high sounding principles had primitive affiliation to corruption.

    Instances in Mahabharata reveal of wicked tactics used by characters like Shakuni and Duryodhana to dispose Pandavas of their legitimate kingdom. prevalence of ‘Bakshish’ during Mughals, misapprpriation of wealth by landlords and other officials during british times all depict our ‘Chalta hai’ attitude of tolerance against corrution in society.

    However, it shall be wrong to put alegations of inherited opaqueness and disonesty to culture.It also shows that how wicked kaurvas had to lose their liffe and property. Our values of welfarism, socialist norms, gandhian tools of truth ,honesty and selfless service are the fruits of same tree of culture. These virtues of probity and responsiveness are sufficient to guide our path against corruption.


    • Gajendra Thakur

      nice answer!! could have added other facets of culture too !!
      Plz review mine!

    • ThirdEye

      Interesting answer..

  • Gajendra Thakur

    High level of corruption in India can be attributed to cultural factors.In ancient india,kautiliya prescribed different methods to curb corruption in the classic ‘Arthshahstra’.During mughal times,Karori position was auctioned who inturn use every method to earn maximum tax from citizens.During british time,commission was euphemistic term used for bribe.Governor used to visit whole province to collect gift after retirement.Moreover,British system of power and money adulation has long lasting impact on indian pysche.There is social sanction and lack of social boycotting to those who has money and power irrespective of the way it is earned.

    Cultural practices are also inducing people to become corrupt.Lower position of woman in indian society and therefore the practice of Dowry is one of such practice.Lately Consumerism is also becoming prominent culture in Indian urban society.The culture to imitate the lifestyle of better off people force people to bribe and earn illegal money.Slowly but steadily,spiritualism is vanishing and materialism is becoming prominent feature on indian culture.

    On conclusion,Cultural factor is becoming dominant in promoting the climate of corruption and it is high time that powerful class like politicians should set and ideal example without emphasizing too much on deterrent law and regulation to make India corrupt free country.

    • Gajendra Thakur

      Kindly review friends!!

      • Peeyush

        Critical part missing!

        • Gajendra Thakur

          point noted!!!!!!

    • Born for ias

      i too beleve that critical analysis is missing , otherwise good—

  • maniac

    Corruption is worse than prostitution. The latter only endangers the morals of an individual while the former invariably endangers the morals of the entire country.

    Socially, Indian society is lenient and forgiving in nature. The mere act of asking for forgiveness leads to exoneration regardless of whether or not the culprit has repented for his actions. This encourages or at least does not sufficiently discourage unethical conduct.It is also due to this forgiving nature and tolerance, corruption has found a safe haven in the Indian society.

    Despite the fact that corruption is universally accepted as detrimental, societal resistance and urgency from the state seems to be minimal. As a result, citizens and institutions alike forgive and forget event the most latest abuse of power and office. Further, corruption flourishes because one does not see adequately successful examples of prosecuted cases of corruption.

    Thus, there arises a need to adopt zero tolerance attitude towards such acts and discourage corrupt actions by attaching severe stigmas to it.

    • Anudeep

      An advice buddy..ur intro is aggressive..never prioritize or compare any two social evils..examiner might be having a different view..if u r forced to compare, take both on equal footing saying that “corruption is as worse as prostitution”..individuals constitute the society..so their morals r equally imp..keep writing:)

    • kid monkey

      abrasive statements are double edged swords..i.e.”Corruption is worse than prostitution. “

      • maniac

        Bro thnx for the suggestion…even i was hesitant writing this…but this is a quote by Karl Kraus(Austrian writer)

        • kid monkey

          they are just double edged swords; million people quotes more than million quotes. yet it is we to decide the weapons of our war. i never mean that they are to be obsolated. some times they may be likes by few others. i just cautioned dear.

  • Aditya_Hulk

    Plzzzz reviwe guys… i am new on this site…

    Corruption is a socio-economic problem. When we look at the social point of view, there are certain elements in Indian culture which shows that corruption exixted in indian society in earlier times too.

    Looking at the Indian Mythologies auch as mahabharta or ramayan there are stories which showed that corruption existed.

    Spies were appointed during the the times of Guptas, Mauryas, Marathas, Mughals to keep a check on corrupt and illegal activities within the administration.

    During the British era, the Indian kings and public gave gifts to the british officials to keep them happy. It was not considered unethical or illegal but a gesture towards the british officials. Even the British officials used the facilities provided by the British govt for personal use. They favoured there own people and those who gave them favours, gifts or bribe which led to nepotism and favourtism. Gap existed between officials and people and acts like official secrets act which led to even more corruption. This continued after independence. Indian people feel corruption is a part of the system.

    Looking from the economic point of view there is a lot of poverty in India therefore certain low level officials who get less salary feel without corruption they wont be able to take care of there families.

    But due to increasing awareness among the public due to political mobilisation, spread of education, effective role played by the media, civil society & NGOs and recent anti-corruption movement Lokpal got established. And other initiatives like e-gov, citizen charter, RTI, CVC, CBI, jud activism, social audit etc the corruption levels are expected to decrease and to get eradicated completly.

    • saini

      you need to give your views also, not simply examples, last para is not required. views expressed are personal.

      • Aditya_Hulk

        thanks.. 🙂

  • kamal

    Indian texts talk about
    corruption during different rules at every level. british merchants exploit
    this weakness of indian with great accuracy and became rulers. Contrary to
    bookish incidences, culture passed generation to generation in practical ways. Consider
    a case of student who recently passed out from school and wanted driving
    licence. Opposite to moral values which were taught to him/her in school days
    he/she will face new culture of working which doesn’t work without corruption
    and people seem comfortable with it.

    It is wrong to maintain
    status-quo by linking corruption to culture or genes.

  • Amruth Kumar

    It’s a very controversial statement; I would like to disagree
    with the statement but like to say that few cultural elements have impact on
    corruption. Basis of the corruption can be traced backed to integrity of an
    individual and survival condition. Indians followed Live and let live policy
    till recently and it can be observed even today in rural parts of India. But
    now due to changing socio-economic scenario competitive, consumption driven way
    of living enforce by both state and economy. Indians with lack of education and
    basic needs find it difficult to live in this environment, and in such situation
    people resort to corruption and slowly it has become an acceptable social norm
    and became widespread. Lack of integrity and fall of high morals which Indians
    were known for is fueling the situation. Because of illiteracy it’s easy to
    manipulate and police people, so corruption is flourishing. Corruption can’t be
    attributed to elements in Indian Culture alone, it’s due to combine effect of
    culture, changing socio-economic scenario, falling moral standards, lack of
    education and poverty. To tackle it government should employ a multi-pronged
    approach encompassing all these issues.

    • gk


  • Sanket Sudke

    Due to colonial mindset some people consider Indian culture as having a weak ethical base giving rise to unethical behavior like corruption while causes less corruption in Western countries is explained on account of ethics in Western culture. Such people consider Indian culture and Western culture are distinct disregarding that both cultures have influenced each other and have a lot in common. On the contrary the most profound debates on ethics can be seen in the Gita of Hinduism, Jataka of Buddhism etc. Thus Indian culture encourages honesty, duty and also helps in dealing with ethical dilemmas.

    Corruption in India is an institutional problem. The Indian institutions are neither transparent nor accountable. Such unresponsive environment breeds corruption. Indian culture on the other hand has served as an inspiration for many honest officers who had to face many difficulties.

    Thus Indian culture should be considered an asset in the fight against corruption.

    (151 words)

  • Sagar Krishna

    Answer: Corruption, a widespread phenomenon in the Indian society, has been precisely defined as a deviant human behavior, associated with the motivation or private gain at public expense. As it destroys the moral fabric of a society, so can its genesis be traced back to that very society itself.

    In the case of India, the roots of corruption could be found in its cultural foundation itself. The four-fold division of the Hindu society, a conspicuous phenomenon and a major pivot of the entire Indian socio-cultural edifice, has been a spawning ground for corruption since ages. People belonging to lower stratum of this division were obliged to carry themselves with gifts, in cash or kind, while visiting the superior ones, who also had to please the kings and the local Satrapas in same manner.To gain wider legitimacy to their rule, the kings were dependent on the rituals performed by the Brahmins. In return, they had to grant aids to the Brahmins in the form of villages, cattle etc..

    With the passage of time, this practice, along with similar many others, became an accepted norm of the Indian society and had been practiced even during the British colonial period. But with the commencement of the Constitution, such practices was termed as corruption and came into conflict with the values enshrined in the Constitution. To uproot corruption from the Indian society, it was imperative to weaken the foundation of the archaic four-fold division of society, which has been done to a certain extent. It gives a glimmer of hope that corruption can also be rooted out .

  • The defining nature of culture is accepted values and norms by the society in general. Willingly or unwillingly, the dominant factors whether it is ancient kings, purohit etc in ancient India or rule makers of medieval and modern India accepted some forms of corruption in their system. The dominant groups imply here minority who participated in decision making processes and imposed their decisions on majority or powerless to follow and to show faith in that system.

    There are numerous examples which have enriched the corruption became as a way of life in our cultural practices. It is widely noticed that the sons are treated with special care and affection while girls are abandoned to their own fate. Here, the family temptation is expectation from own sons only. This is reality which is inevitable part of culture which is widely present in Indian society. In today’s world, the progenies are often rewarded for achieving higher status and place in society by their parents. This example shows that the culture of corruption begins from individuals’ house which further pervades in society.

    Obviously, the corruption can be traced in our cultural practices and the society accepted those form of corruptions which is particular individual centric and targeted corruption of public nature only. For example Dowry can be quoted here.

  • kid monkey

    indian culture is rich and diverse. we can trove a few examples for corruption out of it.This indeed is said to be the reason why a few among us argue that corruption is neither a new phenomenon nor a bad one. A few examples are mentioned below. some among them are monitory and the others are not.

    1. Indra, the lord of gods sends his court dancers to spoil the deep meditation of rishis
    2. lord Vishnu deceived rakshasa’s as Mohini to not to let them to posses immortality.
    3. the mahabharata contains tens of such examples where corrupt practices were mentioned.
    4. arthashashtra mentioned that corruption is a common phenomenon. and even king can resort that option in getting secrets of enemy king.
    5. a persian historian mentions that” Indians worship money as goddess Lakshmi. A few among them are ready to do whatever to get the mercy of her.

    but all such arguments are true only when we ignore the context of such acts. most of them are done to guard dharma itself. When we understand the comprehensive meaning of our epics we can conclude that corruption is no where permitted in our life.out of all four purusharthas it is the Dharma that is given first preference. Even Yudhister’s role is punished at the end of Mahaprasthana for his only Lie that ultimately led to the killing of his guru Dronacharya. Thus, we can not justify an act of corruption to cover up one’s mistakes by citing context omitted examples from our culture.

  • mustanglee

    Yaar Question asks about Certain elements of Indian culture . All mythology related stuff is just an e.g .More over Hindu Mythology and Indian culture are 2 distinct things. Similarly , mughals , British etc only serve as an e.g .In my view we have to talk about how the indian society is organized the values norms and customs which could breed corruption. We could do better by talking about Hierarchial structure of society -the class stratification which leads to power distancing, access to resource to few . Deference to Authority (Family to Administrative level) , Patriarchy , Tolerance ,Jugaad (make shift arrangement rather than tackling problems) orthodox society in which majority believes in higher being(god) more than rationality or merit .Too much rendering of history to explain culture element is not so persuasive to me .