The lal batti ban in India might have comforted people in a similar manner as demonetisation did when it hit the currency of the wealthy. The only difference is that this time around, there are no long queues for people to stand in. However, how does the question of red beacons on cars matter to a class which does not even own cars?
PM Modi had said that demonetisation would ensure that eventually, people won’t have to stand in queues, but when will we see that day?
Similarly, the banning of red beacons has left several unanswered questions in its wake.
What Happens to the Extensive Convoy?
The simple act of banning red beacons would end the dictatorship and bureaucracy of this country is not an easily digestible fact. Additionally, the issue is not simply confined to beacons, but also includes the massive convoys that accompany VVIPs, and inadvertently puts everyone else under suspicion with regard to the question of safety.
The police claims to forever be with the people (‘Sadaiv Aapke Saath’). However, in truth, several police and security personnel are, instead, occupied in serving the VVIPs and eventually X, Y, Z and Z+ categories of security, which becomes a manner in which they assert their power over the ordinary.
The outcome is a scattered force with few left to work for the people. Isn’t employing some of this security for the use of the ordinary and cutting down on that for the VVIPs a better prospect?
Perhaps a VIP is On Their Way...
Here’s a quick look at the situation on the roads – someone is getting late to work, someone is getting delayed in admitting their loved ones in the emergency ward of a hospital. The security is tight and traffic has been stopped on both sides of the road. Nobody knows anything for sure, and yet, everybody is certain that a VIP is on its way.
Even after someone manages to reach their destination, they now have to wait for the ordinary elevators as the exclusive elevators are off limit. The two cannot mingle, reminding one of the hit Adnan Sami song Mujko Bhi toh Lift Karade.
Need a Ticket? Say Hello to the VIP Quota
It’s probably not possible to increase the number of trains in the same proportion as the increase in the number of the people taking them. The outcome is for everyone to see – with rising temperatures, there is also a rise in the struggle to secure tickets and reservations. The same problems arise around the time of small or big holidays.
A big proportion of tickets are reserved for the VIPs. Even travel agents offer to secure tickets, at double or treble the price, using the VIP quota.
This House, This Wealth Doesn’t Charm Me...
In some cities, the average people are deprived of even a decent rented room, while there are entire bungalows available for the VIPs. Some of these bungalows extend for several acres in the heart of metros, big enough to accommodate a slum. Even without a shiny plate, it is not hard to identify a VIP’s lodging.
In some cities, these bungalows are located in the square next to the clock tower, while the ordinary are simply left to with the hope to change the time and the fate of their country.
Additionally, there are many things which not only create disparity between the ordinary and the VVIP, but also cause problems in the former’s day to day life.
So, government, what are your thoughts on truly ending the VVIP culture? The first step is indeed commendable. If you continue to proceed speedily on the same path, the country will see better times and so will your glory.
(This piece was originally published on QuintHindi and has been translated to English by Rosheena Zehra.)