May 24, 2008

Shame on our police, shame on us

Shame on us. Shame on the bureaucracy that has its roots so deep in our society that a policeman doesn’t even hesitate in asking for bribe or under-the-table commission and we don’t even mind sparing that 500 rupee note!

Philosophy set apart, now let me come to the point. I had applied for passport a couple of months ago. To get the approval for passport a police officer visits the residence of the applicant to verify the details. This past Sunday I too had this gentleman, or so I thought, from the police department to complete the formalities. While pitashri was making photocopies of high school marksheet, I along with my friend was discussing corruption and despising the under-the-table income practice of policemen. We gave him an example of how when we went to our local police station to file an FRI for lost SIM card, he wasn’t doing our work but was constantly asking us to "repair his fan". To this, the ‘gentleman’ said what we were saying was right but the practice was so prevalent that no one cared if it existed. It’s simple, he said, if you don’t please the policeman, the policeman won’t please you. Even though it’s wrong, that’s how it’s been going on in our society and no one’s cross with it. Five per cent people object, but who cares for them when 95% are cool with losing some big bucks when it means getting their work done promptly. We chatted a while about all this stuff and he didn’t seem to defend this habit of under-the-table income but just held it as something bad that happens.

Ok, now everyone knows for such things as passport, policemen do ask for some ‘mithai’. After all this discussion my friend and I had with this cop, we didn’t expect him to ask for anything. Even his appearance didn’t suggest he’s that kind of cheap man. But well, a policeman is a policeman. I asked him if my job was done and I could go. I went. Later I learnt, he just wasn’t leaving his seat, until pitashri asked him “How much?” he said “500-700.” Pitashri handed him a 500 note, he ticked mark on ‘Verified’ and immediately went his way.

How shameless are you, Mr. Whosoever-you-are! Don’t you have anything called conscience? After having so much discussion about corruption, with boys less than half your age, you still have guts to ask for money for doing your duty! Doesn’t government pay you? Shameless creature. That policeman. No morals, no ethics, no conscience… What do you teach your children? Can you ask for bribe in front of them? How pathetic man!

And, why am I singling him out! My dad, first he gave him the money, then when I asked why he did so, he’s justifying, “Sometimes you have to do, nahi to aise nahi banta hai passport.” Every adult in my house is saying that you have to pay, else they won’t do your work. What crap! I say no need to give a single penny. If you don’t get your passport in due time, complain to the respective authority. I know you’ll be saying that office ke chakkar kaatte reh jaoge. Man… Raise hell over it! How dare he ask you for money, haan? And when you refused how dare he not do his work? I know it’s not easy, but who said it’s easy to be right? I know only one thing — do only that what is right, hell and high water may come!

There are people who pretend to be very idealistic, you’ll find them complaining about corruption very passionately, lamenting upon the decline in moral standards, blaming government and everything, saying this should change, that should change… I say shut up, you hypocrites! When it comes to you, when it’s your turn to take on corruption or bureaucracy or bribery, you give up without fighting, opting for the easy way out. You sigh and say this is how the system is. Giving up without fighting, how cowardly! You might call yourself practical, but I’ll call you a hypocrite and a loser. If there’s something you complain about then why the heck do you yourself become partner in crime, thereby promoting the system you complain about? Hell with all the excuses, losers!

Shame on the policeman; on that policeman and all those who ask for ‘chai-pani’ before doing their duty. Shame on ‘us’ who don’t even have the courage to say no to them. Shame on us who go for the easy way out and then call ourselves practical. Practical my foot! Bloody cowards. Losers! And that policeman who came to my house, beta tune sign karne ke liye pen maanga tha, mera Cello Gripper bhi le uda 500 ki patti ke saath!

Be the change you wish to see in the world. — Mahatma Gandhi

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