Monday, February 23, 2015

ye tera mera sarkaari ghar

Will the AAP government in Delhi do away with the categorisation of government employees into A, B , C and D ? 

Will it do away with the norms that define the office infrastructure and facilities that each grade of government employees is entitled to ? 

Will it abolish the norms that define the size of residential accommodation that the government will allot to its employees? 

Will the less "posh" colonies where primarily the Groups B and C reside be brought at par with their upscale counterparts?

Will peons get sarkari cars ? 

Will Commissioners ride to office on bicycles?

Will the daily wage workers employed on contract basis in housekeeping jobs in government offices work free of charge at the Upper Division Clerk's residence on weekends rather than the Joint Secretary's ?

Of course not.

So why does the Aam Aadmi Party not have the honesty to admit that their Chief Minister and Ministers will live in large sized government bungalows in Lutyen's Delhi, like all the other public servants ( politicians, judges, bureaucrats etc) who do, simply because they can ? 

Why must it advance the bogey of "public interest " ?

The Chief Minister and/or Deputy Chief Minister meet 400 to 500 people every day, that is why a large bungalow is required, we are told. 


A Chief Minister who spends the better part of the day in office monitoring the work of his Cabinet colleagues or liaising with other State Governments /Union Government or attending meetings where Chief Ministers are invitees or attending to other such official duties and who visits public buildings and public spaces and public gatherings to remain sensitive to what the aam aadmi wants will have no time left to meet hundreds of people every day at his residence.

If the administration is responsive and efficient and honest, why would people need to meet the Chief Minister anyway? This is a democratic set up, not a monarchy where the benign despot hands out just reward and punishment. 

Lets stop being hypocritical.

We live in a stratified society where the size of the house we live in depends upon our class/status. It is not a function of need/requirement. That is why the Chief Minister needs a bungalow in Lutyen's Delhi. Full Stop. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

A compassionate heart

I didn't know whether I was ready to be a mother when I had my first child. The rush of pure emotions that filled me in the days that followed, as I held the tiny life close to my heart, has never quite abated. For reasons that I have not been able to decipher, it made me acutely sensitive to the pain and suffering of others, animate or inanimate, near or far, present or long dead. My family and friends would laugh at me, telling me that rushing to offer succor was a fool's errand, that the world is full of people who are only looking out for themselves, that compassion gets rewarded with scorn and indifference. I didn't care because I knew different, but I worried that my sons , growing up in this dog-eats-dog environment, would never be compassionate. 

I was wrong. 

I see compassion at work every day.

I see it when my son accompanies a beggar to the nearest dhaba, sits down with him as he eats a full meal, and arranges a job for him.

I see it in the alacrity with which pullovers come tumbling out when I say I am collecting woolens for a winter clothes collection drive and my son says, Away with you, friends, now you"ll have another story to tell !

I see it when the monthly allowance gets depleted much before the end of the month because some street children needed shoes and slippers. 

I see it when when the nurse gets yelled at and her tears rapidly turn into a smile as my sons pulls his grandmother's leg for being a difficult patient.

I see it when I fulminate at my father in law's attempts to intervene with my son's education, and he says, Mom, he is an old man, he is anxious about his legacy. 

I smile, and I know that they'll be all right. Life can never be empty or meaningless when one has a compassionate heart, and all that children need is to see you exercising compassion and so will they. 

That's how the world survives, despite the moments of horror and ugliness.