“It is common for police to show up at small businesses to collect bribes”
Di Bundi (not her real name) is a writer from New Zealand. She lives in Pushkar, in Rajasthan. When she arrived in India two years ago, she went to the local police station to register as a foreign resident.
On my first visit, a policeman took down all my information and told me to come back in a week. After I had left, he called my lawyer and told him I was to pay baksheesh of 1500 rupees (about 23 euros) when I returned to collect my papers. On my second visit, the policeman told me his boss wanted to see me. His boss asked me point blank if anyone in his office had asked for money. I said no – I didn’t want to risk getting the policeman into trouble. I worried he could then make trouble for me. Later, an Indian friend explained that the boss probably just wanted his share of the bribe.
It is common for police in India to show up at small businesses and guest houses, such as the one I was running at the time, to collect bribes, or baksheesh, during festivals. So there is the Diwali Baksheesh, the Holi Baksheesh, etcetera, etcetera. If you’re a foreigner, they can ask you for up to 25,000 rupees (about 380 euros) per year – and that’s on top of the festival bribes.”