Let’s admit, it’s tough to be the Common Man in India. I am not talking about the rise in prices of essential and non-essential commodities. I am talking about the basic survival of the Common Man. The operating word in the sentences that follow is – connections.
What connections am I talking about?
If you have lived in India, you would have come across situations where connections with the powers that be, might have helped your case. The touch-points with the government machinery are laden with calls to action to invoke such connections. They could be proximity to the panchayat head, the Regional Transport Officer, the District Magistrate and the list goes on. Hope you get the point.
Still does not ring a bell?
Let us take this example.
Your parents are driving on the highway in their car, on their side of the road and at a safe speed. A car drives in from the opposite direction and hits your parents’ car. It is a bad accident. You hear about this and rush to their rescue. You tend to them when they are in the ICU. Your try everything that you possibly can – spend money, consult the best doctors and pray to the almighty. Then, after a week, the doctors give up and inform you that they could not revive either of your parents. Your life is turned upside-down, to say the least, and the two people who you had spent the maximum time in your life are no more. You perform the last rites and look for answers to the innumerable questions that keep popping in your mind. You gain some strength and head to the police station to check up on the FIR that you had lodged the day after the accident took place.
What you experience at the police station is beyond belief. The culprit, who drove his vehicle into that of your parents, had filed an FIR against your father for attempted murder (owing to the accident), the day the accident took place. You were late by a day in filing the FIR as you were trying to save the lives that brought you to this world.
What adds to your anguish is that the culprit is ‘well connected’. He happens to be the brother of the Chief Secretary of the state that your parents lived in. And the people who are supposed to help you get justice (read the police), have already been instructed to protect the ‘well connected’ culprit.
You, my friend, the Common Man, can keep doing rounds of the courts but you will eventually lose as you do not have the ‘connections’.
This is just one case, it does not happen every time.
You might say this but tell me something, have you ever had a brush with law when you were not at fault? Imagine that the police or the powers that be, hound you for being a witness to a crime for which you believe the perpetrator must be punished. Are you sure that the case would not be turned against you to protect the culprit? You were also present at the crime scene; you might be concocting your statement. Now you are thinking, aren’t you?
There are several instances where might is right stands true in our country. We don’t have to look too much for such instances. Shailesh Shetye lost his wife, Kshama Chopra and their unborn baby in a hit-and-run case in Gurgaon on 5 May 2012. The culprit, in this case, was a well-heeled 19-year-old son of a real estate magnate. What is the status of the case today? It is still under investigation. The evidence, whatever was collected, has been tampered with. The only progress in this case has been the fact that it is yet another of the several ‘big money cover-ups’ that we have been a witness to.
Dear Common Man, you must fend for yourself as the state and the country do not care about you. Take each step with utmost diligence and keep away from challenging any one, for you never know, your demeanour might hurt one of those ‘connected’ and that might change your life forever, for the worse.