other paper reported that the Mayor told the accompanying
reporters (another reason why it became news - the mayor was
traveling with a group of reporters and their video cameras
to inspect the works for the approaching Bonalu festival)
that the police official apologized because the officer did
not know that the Mayor was in the car.
raises two questions - why did the Mayor have to call up the
Commissioner? Did he feel that he is no ordinary citizen and
hence above the law?
second question is why did the police official have to seek
forgiveness or apologize on behalf of the officer who merely
did his job? Why did he have to add that his officer didn't
know that the Mayor was in the van? Was he implying that had
he known, his officer should have behaved differently? Does
this mean that the law is applicable only for us ordinary
mortals and those in government can brazenly disregard it?
attitude of contempt for rule of law had resulted in politicians,
bureaucrats and the well-connected behaving with shocking
vulgarity, pomp and brazenness, leading them to believe that
they can get away with murder. This is amply illustrated in
the notorious Nanda case in Delhi and many other such instances
of our public servants behaving like medieval monarchs. Contrast
it with Tony Blair's son and George Bush's daughter who were
both promptly booked for minor infractions of law. Rule of
law has become so scarce in our country, that when an officer
does his job it is regarded as a heroic act requiring wide
representatives shouldn't think that having to conform to
law is humiliating. It just would add to the dignity of the
person. Recently someone was telling me a story of Ajim Premji
of Wipro. He was meeting Mr Lalla of the Dhorabji Tata Trust.
Aware of Premji's unassuming behaviour, Mr Lalla sent down
his secretary to make sure he was not delayed at the reception.
Unfortunately the secretary herself missed the man already
standing in line waiting to be told where to go - because
she was looking for a man in a suit and missed the casually
dressed grey haired gentleman. After waiting and looking around
for a few minutes, she went back to report his absence to
her boss. Imagine her consternation when she discovered later
that Premji had taken the regular visitor's path - standing
in line and filling a slip and stating the purpose of his
visit. When big people do what the common man does, their
image is only enhanced but never diminished.
mayor would have won the support of the people if only he
gracefully accepted the mistake on behalf of his driver and
paid the challan. There was no reason for him to call up the
senior officials and inform him of the incident. Neither was
it necessary for the official to offer to make the payment
on behalf of the mayor. It is time we demanded of our officials,
elected or appointed, humility and respect for law. And it
is time we respected ourselves enough to stand up to those
in authority. A democracy is safe only when we treat those
in power as our equals, not as our masters, and recognize
them as public servants, not monarchs.