Thursday, July 12, 2007

It’s the brink of the 60th anniversary of Indian democracy – and as an Indian there is no reason to feel my heart swelled with enthusiasm and patriotism. But there’s a magnificent pin that punctures this dream balloon – for never in my life have I felt more closer in seeing the façade of this democracy that we are planning to celebrate. There are glimpses of totalitarian oppression that the common man and I face from the police every single day.
I have no intentions of humiliating their terrible practice of mocking people, their smug expressions while they challan you or the common attitude that everyone has of them, that they can be bought over a few hundred rupees.
I began being terrified of them three years back while I was travelling by bus from Ajmer (to visit my school) to return to Delhi at night. While the bus rolled in at the Jaipur bus station, I was half sleepy in those stiff reluctant to recline chairs, and the droopy incontrollable head of the passenger sleeping next to me. I was soon woken up to find four policemen dragging me out in the middle of the night because they had received some unaccountable gibberish suspicion on me.
When I was back in the bus, I found my arms and hands were scratched and bleeding, my shirt torn, and the most sheepish faces I had ever seen. Not only did I feel like another Joseph K accused for a crime that no longer had any relevance to the case, I felt fear on a guiltless night.
Just a night before, I was with a few friends, after dinner at a nearby joint, and we are casually talking. It’s late, yes, but the doorbell rings, and in walks a policeman asking us what we are doing.
And even though, in the back our heads, we are groaning that he’s here to fleece some money. The policeman refuses to leave the room till he has asked us to verify ourselves.
He then walks out to wait for us downstairs, waiting for the entire company to leave till he, and his colleague, can pounce on us again. This time, he wants to take me to police station, for a reason he wouldn’t tell me. He’s drunk, and I have to resort to showing my press card.
Personally, I’m not rowdy, or over-smart, and most time it gets my goat. Innumerable times, I don’t feel that city’s streets are safe at all at nights. The later it is, the easier it is for a cop to get money out of you.
Those who can drop names, faster than you and I can produce the entire car papers, often are let gone easily. But the humble one’s are put in a terrible situation. If I am not up to any trouble, what gives the reason for cops to be abusive, drunken and misbehaving with us at night?
The morning autowallah says that they are underpaid and make good money out of us, but he also points out that if someone is up to mischief by giving them money it legitimises them to so it more.
It’s a pity to lose faith on those that guard the common man, make a mockery of their institution. And democracy? Sure we are with or without it.

2 Comments:

Blogger Me said...

Well said. Having lived in India, I can say 'democracy' there is a farce. It has given rise to a goverment (?) 'of the barbarians, by the barbarians, for the barbarians'. Only fascism might work there!

5:03 AM, July 13, 2007  
Blogger Albert said...

I've never been ruffed up, but I know it happens.

Sometimes I feel frustrated and want to fight-it-out when I see it happen, at other times I cowardly accept it.

I don’t know if it will ever happen to me, but today I know it happened to you.

8:18 AM, July 14, 2007  

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