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A question of commitment/ strategy

Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!
[For some on IPI who might be interested, I am sending in an extract of
correspondence (slightly modified) with one of our members who does not
want his identity to be disclosed.]

Dear ....,

Thanks for your mail. I am now doing the job search and the difficult task
of settling down as a new migrant in a very expensive country. The IAS was
a dead-end in my life and had to go. Now, at 41, either I return to India
as an active and significant politician who can help make India achieve its
potential (probability = 0.01), or I spend the rest of my life as a queit
recluse abroad (probability = 0.99). 

India has become so rotten that I too gave up in the end. I have never
consented to bribe anyone before in my life, even in India, yet, given the
constraints of time, I  allowed my shipper and the property agent to bribe
the Customs in Calcutta and and Haryana Urban Dev Authority (HUDA), Gurgaon
respectively in the guise of 'commission', for merely doing their duty. And
it was not as if I was taking any undue advantage from any public
organization. Merely getting my books cleared for export and my land sale
registered. Even for that the common man has to  bribe officials today. And
it is too embarrassing to tell you some other aspects of the land
transaction that can put any person in a civilized nation to shame. But in
our country all shame has been lost. I am informed by very reliable sources
that now-a-days Customs officers in the Calcutta cargo section sit with
wads of currency on their tables and practise corruption blatantly in the

Under the circumstances, with 100% of Ministers in India  being corrupt or
conniving at corruption, and close to a majority of the civil servants
miusing their powers for personal gain, I prefer to work in a burger or
pizza shop abroad and earn an honest living under honest bosses, as a 2nd
rate citizen, than participate in the destruction of India as one of its
elite under a corrupt and rotten system. I would prefer catalyzing and
initiating  major reform in India and will not try to waste further
precious time in working 'within the system' any longer. If this effort
fails to take off in the next 2-3 years, I will have to say goodbye to all
this permanently and become a writer and painter, or whatever.

On the other hand, you are most welcome to reform the system by returning
to India at this stage. You have my best wishes.

Thanks very much,


At 08:17 PM 12/11/00 EST, ... wrote:
>Dear Sanjeev
>I have read with interest your work on the IPI over the last year or two and 
>share your yearning to see progress made in India. While it may not be any
>my business, I can't help being curious as to what you are doing in 
>Australia. It seems that you have left the IAS and I can see why you would 
>want to do that. But have you left India for greener pastures like the rest 
>of us. Do you really think that anyone can serve India and bring change
>while living abroad. 
>I have spent the last .... years in Europe and America. As a professional I 
>have a good salary, benefits and retirement etc, though I do not consider 
>myself very well off even by Indian standards. However I am on the verge of 
>leaving for India with my family (who are all foreign nationals of Indian 
>origin) in the hope that while still young .... and in good health I 
>may be able to do something more constructive than working like a robot for 
>things for which I only have momentary fascination. Sometimes I feel this is 
>a crazy idea, but I do not see how you can either understand your country or 
>do anything for it if you turn your back to its problems and just run
away. I 
>will appreciate your thoughts. I will appreciate if ..., not to be shared on 
> the IPI list .... in its presesnt 
>form with my identity. I am sure a lot of other people will have the same 
>questions as me.

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