One of my friends…he was very old, but we had a certain deep affinity. A case was started against him in 1915, because he had written a book of history which was different from the books which the British government had approved. Although he was right, the government did not want those facts to be taught to the people because they were against the British government.
So the case was against him, the publisher, the printer, the owner of the press against four parties. And the case was so complicated, because what he had written was absolutely factual, right; you could not just deny it. It was self-evident. So it went on from one court to another court, to the high court, to the supreme court. Out of four, three of the parties died; only the writer remained.
His name was Pandit Sunderlal. He was really a very authentic, sincere man. All the judges who tried his case died. All the advocates, for or against, were gone. Because the case went on and on, even the government which had started it was finished, in 1947. But the case continued.
I inquired of him in 1975 he had become very old “When is your case going to end?” He said, “It cannot end unless I die. Then they will close it, but otherwise it will continue because they cannot accept defeat and they cannot allow me to be victorious. All the facts are in my favor, and the strangest thing is that the government that started the case those facts were against that government that government is gone, the country is independent. But bureaucracy works in a strange way. Those files have to be completed, so they are not doing anything. They simply go on postponing, and they are simply waiting for me to die.”
He died and the case was closed. But for sixty years…a case that can be decided in six hours, not more than that! But in this country…
I came to know, in a family I was staying with, that they received a letter written to their grandfather who has been dead for almost fifty years. And the letter was sent not from a very faraway planet, but just from a village eighty miles away. It traveled so slowly…even I wondered how it managed to travel so slowly. Eighty miles in fifty years?
But it happens in many places. Every year some case happens: some letter has traveled for thirty-six years; a few letters never reach they start the journey, but…Perhaps some time they will reach, but you will not be here and neither will the person to whom you have addressed the letter.
Files don’t move. Just go into any office and you will see on every table, file upon file. It seems nobody is doing anything but just every day protecting the files. And people go on bribing them: “My file pull it out and put it first.” But they don’t know: somebody else comes and he bribes; his file comes on top of yours. So there is nothing that you can do, and those people go on collecting bribes.
In this country, bribery is not a crime, it is simply friendliness. For centuries, India has been bribing even God. People go to the temple and say, “If a child is born to my wife and if he is a boy, remember I will bring one coconut and sweets as a present to you.” If this is not bribery, then what is?