1976: How US mocked large-scale corruption in India

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New Delhi, April 12: At a time when the entire country is tired of large-scale corruption in every sphere of life, the US embassy way back in 1976 had mocked presence of corruption in India in all walks of life.

"Corruption in India is a cultural/political/economic fact of life and that it was not a Western import but historically a local phenomenon," said the US embassy in July 1976.

It also called ruling Congress party at the Centre as India's "united givers fund".

"It is impossible in any single message to give a description of the extent and modalities of corruption in India. Entire books have been written on this subject and there is little doubt but that these only dealt with the tip of the iceberg. It should be added that corruption is not a phenomenon which was brought to India by the West. Kautilya, the ancient philosopher, in his treatise Arthasastra refers to various kinds of corruption and prescribes corresponding punishments."

The US cable explained in detail how corruption was not confined to the business or political world.

"Hindu and other religious shrines in India have long been known for their corrupt practices," the cable said.

"In fact, the opposite is true. Corruption in India affects virtually every transaction of any size, domestic and external. Moreover, while there has been a reduction in smuggling and illegal remittances and some cuts in tax evasion, there is no indication that other forms of corruption are decreasing since the imposition of the emergency. One could easily come to the cynical conclusion that there is a direct and positive relationship between laws against corruption and the extent of corruption itself, i.e., each such law only means that there are more people to bribe," the cable said.

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