Cold has been spine-chilling in Delhi and North India these days and so makes a good stuff for the media outfits to fill-in a major chunk of programming. I came across another pinching story that added to a hue of gloom to my thoughts on this ‘vibrant cold’ on the airwaves though it was a non-story for the rating concerns of electronically codified words and images. It was a routine crime story for a maddening city like Delhi except the reason behind the crime. A person in 40’s was arrested for committing theft at his work place. The reason – he was in dire need of around Rs. 1.5 Lakh as the news report said. Being a security guard and from an economically weaker background, he was not able to arrange the sum, a must for treatment of his chronic heart ailment. So one fine day, when the day was over, he barged into the restaurant which he was entitled to guard to steal a day’s earning as the report quoted the investigating officer. He was caught and arrested. That was the day before yesterday. Naturally there hasn’t been any follow-up on the story in a media that segregates and treats stories based on their market scale and certainly it was not an up-market story in a place like the national capital region of India to follow. So googling on it didn’t yield any result and I had to go on to explore my real time network.
Isn’t this incident ironical in a country that proudly claims to be ‘socialist’ in its Constitution preamble?
Isn’t this incident ironical in a country that talks of providing free food to everyone below the poverty line?
Isn’t this incident ironical in a country that claims to strive for free universal education to every child?
Isn’t this incident ironical in a country that invests billions on ensuring health facilities to its rural population under the flagship programme ‘National Rural Health Mission’?
A clear NO when we see the level of backtracking and corruption where everything is reduced to just a political gimmick aimed at vote-bank politics. Like the NRHM, a failed programmed plagued by mammoth wings of corruption, the proposed food security programme is going to have a same outcome given its flawed premises. World Bank, the main funding agency for the free universal education programme, have literally reprimanded on utter misuse of funds. The common Indian is waiting for its corruption ombudsman to arrive and the wait is in its 40’s now. Even the high voltage action of 2011 could not bring any balance to the perched up leaves of ragged, harassed emblems of existence. We are a country where every coming election produces statistical monuments of surge in criminalization of politics. A country where one can easily find millionaires among the poorly paid Class 3 and 4 employees. Remember the ‘crorepati’ clerks of Indore! And they are in multitudes, thickly spread across the length and breadth of India, a rich country of poor Indians.
And we claim to be a socialist country!
A colleague at work place was telling this story today and how apt it is in the Indian scenario of the day. He was in some event where former Chief Justice of India RC Lahoti was speaking on something and narrated this story.
“A family had very difficult time after the husband passed away. Mother and her two daughters had no means to buy even one time meal. But how could a mother see her children starving? See decided to get food to her daughters at any cost and ended up stealing it. She was caught and produced before the judge. The judge heard the prosecution’s arguments. After a thoughtful silence, he spoke and what he spoke was a marvel of humane justice. He released the woman but charged the highest officials of the city administration of causing three human lives living in such misery by being ignorant of their inability to meet even the basic needs of their lives. He said such incidents were a shame in any civilized society and the whole society was to be implicated for it.”
My colleague told me it is a true story. It aptly fits into the ‘India’ of the day. This socialist country guarantees everyone a dignified life but cannot provide ray of hope to millions suffering as they cannot afford the treatment cost while a super-specialist is called from America to perform a knee-cap surgery on a high-profile politician though it could have been done by many doctors in India. And such cases are countless in this ‘socialist’ country where a committed doctor like Binayak Sen is put behind bar for advocating for basic health care rights of the tribal population.
What should be the idea of justice here? Should we all, as a socialist society, be impeached for the plight of the people like Mr. Sohan Singh, the 42-year old security guard, that pushed him to take this extreme step in order to save his life?
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/