Woman fights COVID-19, loses to India’s VIP culture

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India’s VIP culture is fully on display when dignitaries and those close to power are on the move
Image Credit: Seyyed Llata ​​/ Gulf News

Images of Indian President Ram Nath Kovind bowing and touching the ground in his village on his first visit to his hometown since assuming the highest office were splashed everywhere. Emotional or political, his gesture nevertheless coincided with a grieving family, not too far away.

A 50-year-old woman was caught in traffic that was stopped on a railway bridge for the presidential train to pass under, she was taken to hospital for post COVID complications.

The woman who had survived COVID was unable to gain the upper hand over India’s VIP culture, however. Her husband’s request for the police to allow them to pass was rejected and doctors say if she had arrived in time she would have been alive today.

The Kanpur Police Chief’s apology barely cuts when a life is lost, and the four hanging policemen are drop guys by default, missing tree wood is a cultivated art.

India’s VIP protocol

The victim isn’t the first to pay in their life, and they won’t be the last – the vagaries of VIP protocol mean traffic will stop once again in another city, regardless of the emergency or the urgency.

A few years ago in Delhi, a man died in an ambulance while waiting for a VIP convoy to pass. The only lesson we’ve learned since then is that some people will always be more equal than others.

In May of this year, during the intense second wave of the pandemic, when ‘every second counts’ took on a whole new meaning, another ambulance was seen in traffic cordoned off by Ahmedabad police for the team. of the Indian Premier League (IPL) Kolkata Knightriders is making its way.

Police deny the incident but the evidence is in the pictures. Our indignation is usually short-lived and masks the inevitable resigned acceptance, choosing and choosing battles is also a way of life, ours.

The VIP bandobus and the total disregard of the common man by their convoys are two sides of the same coin.

It’s hard to forget the incident of a 16-year-old girl in Punjab who was run over by a high-speed fire engine after falling from her two-wheeler. The firefighter was part of the convoy of a High Court judge who was apparently not qualified to obtain this escort.

It also didn’t seem like the judge was skilled in some basic things, he didn’t stop to investigate or help the girl. States often change the rules to ensure the safety of anyone who catches their whim or intentions. Often this is not the most deserving.

A colonial hangover

From separate VIP lanes at road tolls to Rajnikanth’s swagger at airports, the playing field has no boundaries and Trevor Chappell’s sneaky delivery has many versions. In 2018, the Madras High Court ordered the National Highways Authority of India to create a dedicated VIP lane – judges and baboo are an integral part of this list.

“It is disheartening to note that the vehicles of VIPs and sitting judges are stopped at the toll booths,” the court said adding, “it is very unfortunate that the sitting judges are also forced to wait at the toll plaza. for 10 to 15 minutes “.

Removing red lights from cars was a start – but now it seems like little more than just the optical, like prying a child off your back with a toy. As recently as the second wave of COVID, a 100-bed facility was requested at a five-star hotel for Delhi High Court judges and their families.

“Jaanta nahi principal kaun hoon”, is a dialogue that came to the movies later. Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad once hit an airline staff member with his slippers “twenty-five times” after his seat was changed from business to economy.

The haves and have-nots of society

As if to put salt on our wounds, an additional 20,000 police officers were deployed for VIP safety in 2019, according to a report by a police think tank affiliated with the Home Office. 600 people who pay their taxes have only one policeman while 3 policemen guard a VIP. This is the real divide between the haves and have-nots.

Undersourced and overworked, to hope for the compassion of our police officers is first of all to accept that a model state exists. It’s not hard to see why this meaningless VIP culture flourishes, however – a man is his entourage. Will have and will flaunt across parties, popularity and ideology, the status symbol is prize taking.

He’s had a long run, but there’s no political divide in the reluctance to report. And our experience shows, words are not often synonymous with action. The increasing criminalization of politics also means that protection takes on a whole new meaning.

Whenever it fits, the Colonial Era is anathema, but what happens when the VIP culture itself is timely? The ordinary man, tired and frustrated, finds himself in search of romance on a majestic train. Mahatma Gandhi’s second-class train journey is only for the history books, and as things go, he might not even be there one day.

The sarkari vehicle is only part of the deal, the ‘mai-baap’ The culture of fun and grease is the whole that seeps in as quickly as moisture in a dry summer in Delhi.

The colonial hangover, however, has no real hierarchy, the constable in a thana with a staff in hand, he is also the king of his castle just as much as this face behind the window watching his people bend over the sidelines patiently waiting for their turn to return home. At least one woman did not succeed.

The Raj is dead, long live the Raj.


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