About Me

My photo
jaipur, rajasthan, India
retired Army Colonel

Friday, August 5, 2011

Indian Common Man...

I was sort of a Security Liaison Officer with South African Cricket Team and touring along with them during the ICC Championship in Nov’2006. We came to my home town Jaipur also, to play some matches. Every one known to me was expecting a VIP pass to see the match. There were people who could easily afford the ticket but getting a free pass is matter of status or clout you enjoy in who’s who of the city? Similar expectations arose for a free pass of VIP car park in a shopping Mall that I was Estate Manager of. It is not Rs 20.00 of parking but that extra attention and elevated social strata has been the root of the matter. I used to think that if anything is to be made free then it should be for the poorer lot who cannot afford to pay. In a cricket match, a VIP pavilion is flooded with city’s influential crème la society along with their in-laws, cousins and friends having five star F&B on the house. Next day they will express surprise to lesser humans" I didn't see you in the cricket match??" Every Indian tries to earn some influence to make his life proportionately important, comfortable and enviable. Some will jump the public queue; some will get away riding without helmet, driving without seat belt tied, use beacon red light and a siren in staff cars and likewise. These so called privileges are actually like a virus in a society. The feudals, and parochial royals in an unequal society like ours enjoyed being above law. Now every Indian relates to being “Not-a-Common Man” and tries to break rules, laws and regulations. It was not so in USA. There you take pride in being a law abider and body language of the Common Man is clear and shows a no non sense approach towards anyone who tries to be extra privileged.
Why such a psych in India?
Probably, a common man has no standing in our country. He runs from pillar to post. Even if you are critically ill, to get a timely medical attention some good contact in public hospital is imperative. A popular TV serial “Office-Office” is a good satire and Pankaj Kapoor has brilliantly essayed the role of Mussaddi Lal, a common man. I keep thinking why a voice of common man is not heard? Should we blame Manu for his creation of classes? or 1000 years of slavery? or shortage of resources vis-à-vis population? or a virus like corruption? May be all? But mind you the cumulative effect is back-breaking for that common man. What surprises the most is accepting the humiliation and not standing up against it. At best the common man gets into debts and pay bribes to get attention. I, feel anguished to see the mass mobilisation on issues of Religion, Moral Policing, Electioneering, Politicking, Godman’s Sermons, cow slaughter etc. but never a leader has mobilized people for the dignity of common man who is not a second grade citizen.
Empowering the common man is need of the hour but who will and how can ???


  1. "CULTURE", the key word. Our culture has been contaminated with the long rule of moguls and Britishers. Gora Sahibs were living in India with special areas exclusive to them where Indians were not allowed.....and sign boards boldly displayed "Indians and Dogs not allowed in this area".
    JRD tata got the idea to built the Taj Mumbai because he was refused entry in a hotel while his white companion was permitted (in Bombay!).
    Decades of these surroundings have contaminated almost every system in our society and now we are surrounded by so called Brown Sahebs.
    As you said, empowering the common man is the key to eradication of this and will only go with time. Till then, the "real educated people" have to bear with this and face the embarrassment.

  2. Rajesh, thanx for such meaningful comment...suggest you also start blogging..we will exchange lot of ideas...

  3. Thanks Raj. I surely will...but a bit later once I get free from the other duties I am occupied with. It will take me few years to catch up and come to the comfortable stage and then I hope I can be in relaxed situation as you are in now.

  4. Great post! Just the other day I was talking to my parents about how it's ridiculous that the company I work at expects everyone who drives to work to pay monthly charges for parking in our office building. The only exceptions to this rule are the top 6 in the higher management tier. these "top 6" are the ones who won't even realise the dent in their monthly salary if they have to pay for parking.

    I do believe that a lot of this also has to do with the rapid growth in economy. There's so much new money in India now. The majority of the noveau riche in India seem to think that getting VIP treatment is the only way "society" will pay any attention to them and notice that "they have arrived in life".