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5 May 2007

Co-incidences and the country

What really amuses me about the Gujarat MP Katara story that occupied media space all of April is that it was a small simple incident of another lady passenger who lost or misplaced her passport due to which authorities started a check of other passengers.

When they reached the lady and asked her name, she said "Paramjeet" which was obviouly at variance with her passport that was Katara's wife's. And so began the story of the uncovering of the lid on one of the biggest expose this year.

Is the issue only about MP's taking money to smuggle people out of the country ? Or is it also about, airport authorities and an overall governance. About the state of the common man. For every bribe taker, there is a bribe giver. But while the the bribe giver profile may well be of a lazy person who prefers it for the sake of expediency, it may also be a desperate man whose child (or business)may be dying, while the bribe taker is one with assets and networth that is in multiples of his income.

Why do people have to in the first place take recourse to any means available to get what they need. In this case, a passport for a woman and her son. It reminds me of how some years ago when I was enquiring into why India has such a high rate of road accidents I found out that many truck and tempo drivers don't really worry about being caught in highway accidents and driving violations as they hand over their driving license to the officer and continue with their journey since they have multiple driving licences in a plastic pouch in their dashboard! It is a long time in the past now, but I remember I had to visit the RTO three times and even then I was advised not to be "foolish" to apply directly and go through a local driving school who "arrange" for no "inconveniences". The story is similar with other routine stuff like getting a mark sheet, the phone authorties and such before in some areas at least,competition made some providers pull their act together.

A normal, educated, professional tax- paying citizen is troubled, denied, questioned even harrassed by authortities under the guise of Policies and Rules ( In various areas such as parking, Passport/visa, Credit card/bank/insurance formalities, Loans, Educational admissions, Renting or buying a house, Court and judicial system, the Tax system, the Corporate ladder.... the list could go on) while crooks, criminals, goons,people in power enjoy privileges.

In the recent BEST strike while autos were rampantly over charging, one TV channel was flashing a number people could call to report this. I did a dipstick survey and found either most commuters never saw that ticker, while others laughed it off. The faith in any systems is lacking and will continue unless it delivers.

How fortunate that we are a country of people who still believe in Religion, God, Karma and Fate. For truly the common citizen has only these "Fortunate twists of fate" or co-incidences or call what you may to save him from the rampant corruption and greed of the people in power.

For the sake of a horseshoe.... a kingdom was lost.

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