TODAY -

Time to curb bully-ism on the roads

Samarjit Kambam *

INSTRUMENT OF ACCESSION' executed on 11-8-47 between Governor-General of India and His Highness the Maharajah of Manipur
Security vehicles drive past the Uttra Shanglen inside Kangla :: Pix - TSE



Please, please, Mr Beaconhead

Don't give me that look

Its filled with contempt and mockery

And I really really hate it

When you try to snatch other's time and space

Don't you power junkie know?

Every beginning has an end

Just like every sunrise has a sunset

And you can't be a beaconhead forever

For when that time comes to you

It may be too late

To make amends for what you've done.


Hearing the sound of the siren wailing and seeing the flashing red light of commotion and anarchy from his rear view mirror, he started to swerve his car towards the left to give more way. Suddenly, a stout stick landed with a big bang on the front windshield towards his side making him jumpy and seating on the edge of his seat. That burst of sudden impact was the main cause for headlong collision of his vehicle with an electric pole near the roadside.

The aftermath - his right leg experienced multiple fractures with two of his companions injured, one seriously by splintered glass at the neck and face. The beaconheads zoomed by shouting and spewing expletives of the highest degree without even bothering to give a glance let alone lend a helping hand. Later on at the hospital he told me that It was a matter of just a few seconds. Just two seconds.

If only those roadway bullies had the patience to cool their heels for two seconds he would neither be going through that traumatic experience nor would he be carrying a limping limb as he is today. He is an innocent civilian, by pure co-incidence turned out to be my brother-in-law, a prey of VIPism, a victim of VIP culture. Likewise many in our state and country are facing kinda ordeals who can be considered as victims of VIP culture.

Well, everybody knows the inconvenience faced by the public whenever a VIP forcefully whizzes by in a crowded road with flashing red beacon, wailing siren and a murder of stick yielding gun totting force-full personnel in uniform. The public conveying on the roads are treated like filth, herded like farm animals and smacked like flies.

VIP culture has become so deed-rooted to the core of the system, ironising as nuts and bolts of the government machinery that this very culture has metamorphosed into a putative mother of a shotgun progeny which is a new 'ism' called 'VIPism'.

The VIP culture, a third rated culture, a 'no culture', a spawn of a culture has progressed exponentially and VIPism rampantly practiced like a birthright by the politicians, high profile bureaucrats and other big shot honcos in our state of Manipur. The VIPs or should I say beaconheads have concocted roadmares in the lives of innocent roadsters. The ongoers and commuters on the roadways have been bent to kowtow to the whims and caprice of them road anarchies. A very symbol of corruption of the mind gaining the upperhand amongst the various categories of beaconheads.

Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal was right when he announced that he would do away with VIPism, VIP culture and make himself a perfect example. The issue played a unique role in the state of Delhi in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and helped in paving way to a distinct political shift depicting an entirely different political scenario compared to other states of India with the Aam Aadmi Party ruling the political turf of Delhi.

Since the time of the Grand Old Party, Delhi has attained an abominable status for possessing the highest number of VIPs & VVIPs in the garb of politicians, bureaucrats and other big shot honchos. With built-up rancor, Delhites since a long time have been existing enveloped by this unpleasant entity called 'VIPism' and are really getting pissed off with the sights of VIPs creating havoc in their daily lives on the roads every now and then.

There were tell-tale woes of many expectant mothers on their way to the hospital who had to wait for several minutes on the road for VIPs to pass by giving them a hellish experience, with some of them giving birth on the roadside. There were cases where students on their way to the exam hall were halted and made to wait for an immeasurably long span of time as the VIP and VVIP troupes traversed by.

Every 'ism' viz groupism, bullyism, fundamentalism, fanaticism etc are detrimental to the health of a democratic foundation. VIPism is no less exception. In fact it breeds mockery and contempt. It acts as a gestating belly for prejudice. It is also a source of wastefulness. A huge chunk of taxpayers' money is being recklessly dissipated by the VIPs and even more disproportionately by the VVIPs with Z-security coverage – a colossal loss of resources, a collateral loss to the economy, an inefficacious 'ism' which has gradually gained monumental heights in the face value of governance….

VIPism has really struck a discordant chord with the public's sentiments. I may not be wrong to enunciate that the VIPs are using the extra power heaped upon them for their personal ends. There were instances where some VIPs used their government deployed bodyguards as a tool for pursuing their quest for personal vendetta, hurting and injuring others or even killing someone and coming out with full impunity from the arms of the law. The people are provoked and tormented with the unabased use of power tonnage by the very people in the name of serving and protecting them – a sign of power mongering and non-governance attaining firm stronghold.

It is said, "With great power comes great responsibility". But these power honchos instead of raising safety concern for the public as one of its responsibility are turning a topsy-turvy attitude towards the public. Now the VIP culture has become a sensitive and controversial issue and there is growing concern among the public of the culture's notoriety.

A collective movement with growing momentum is the need of the hour for pruning and curbing the menace of VIP culture and VIPism. Beacons, sirens and cavalcade of heavily armed bodyguards may be limited to the head of the state, head of the country, the President and Governors and only those mired in extremely high risk. It must be put in mind that the all-time real VIPs are Ambulance and Fire Brigade only not some beaconheads with sirens going for a mundane meeting or a high tea.

We want freedom from VIPs… at least on the roads. Are you listening?


* Samarjit Kambam wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on June 01, 2015.


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