Oct 192012

Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor-in-Chief, IBN 18 network, had a column that talks about the anger against the ‘leaders’ and their families. He notes the only (or maybe one of the few) exception to the rule

More equal than us: Why netas face the rage of the aam aadmi | Firstpost.

At a seminar in Delhi a few years ago, a soft-spoken, petite woman in a crumpled sari was one of the panelists. She engaged in the debate and and then quietly left in a self-driven Maruti car with hardly anyone noticing. Except for her associates, few others would have known that they had been in the company of the Prime Minister’s daughter, Prof Upinder Singh, a history professor in Delhi University.

then he goes on to talk about how the powerful corner the loot and concludes

For far too long, all this has only been whispered about in the power corridors. Now, in the age of 24 x 7 media, RTI activism and public interest litigation, the lava from a dormant volcano is beginning to spill out. The aam aadmi is seeking revenge and has put the VVIPs on notice. The message is clear: either be like Prof Upinder Singh and remain one of ‘us’ or risk the wrath of a noisy, empowered civil society.

But, it is not just the netas.

Yesterday, I had gone to pick up the pass for MAMI. The passes don’t cost much. IT is a 1000 rupees for an association member (which I am), a few hundred less for students. There was a kid standing in the queue who was a youngster in the industry. Entry level jobs don’t really pay well. Often they don’t pay at all. He was wondering if he could get a discount (he hand’t yet got an association card, and he wasn’t a student). Well, said the kind lady at the counter, you cannot. Just as this was going on, another young chap sauntered in – flashed his press card and got his pass for FREE. (incidentally entry level journalism pays better than entry level assistant direction). The AD type swore “saala, presswallah …sab free mein chahiye”.

People may watch the news, the way the watch a madari with his monkey …. but there is underlying anger here too.

MAMI is not an exception. subsidised housing, subsidised booze, subsidised travel….kis khushi mein ? Why am i, the tax payer, paying for the ‘free’ stuff that the press gets ? Stop the free. cut my tax burden.

This notion of entitlement has to go. HAS TO GO. You expect people who get stuff free from the system to report against the system that bestows its (our) largesse …. you must be nuts.
coincidentally, i had class today, and was telling the students about the free pass business. One, who works with a paper said – but if they want coverage, they need to give passes …. but, I explained, covering events and happenings is the job of the press. This is not the student’s fault (and I told him that). This is the ethos of the news company he works for, that has permeated down to a first timer. Now it goes beyond corruption as in making money, it includes corrupting the values of the next generation. blurring their views on right and wrong.

finally, ask your self this question – if the watchdog eats scraps of bone fed to it by a thief, will it bark when the theief breaks and enters ?

  2 Responses to “The Philosophy of Free”

  1. Our society hadn’t grown from “Samantwadi Vyavastha” yet going to 21st century. All the money and power are for limited people & familirs. Nearly thousand family holds total wealth of our country. Every system is almost non functional in India. Everyone is playing blame game & noone id ready to accept their resposbilities. I think people will have to be more responsible if they want some relief from this enigma.
    “If you wanna make this world a better place. Take a look at yourself & make that change.”

  2. Harini,

    Your article reminded me of a wonderful story which a prominent spiritual guru had used in one of his talks. It goes something like this. In ancient China the populace was very healthy under a specific King, because of the policy he followed. The policy was the doctors were not paid for treating but for preventing illness. So if the populace was ill they did not get paid.

    In the same way our society will get away from this idea of free when the whole paradigm of free changes. ‘Free’ should be linked to performance and need rather than a right by birth or privilege due to position or association.

    Your write ups are really thought provoking. Keep up the good work.


    Manoj Porathur.

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