Now and then, when a person gains a position of power in society, we expect them to abide by the ‘power brings responsibility’ idea. Especially, in a country like India where thoughts, cultures, and ways of life change at every step, it is very important that the ones having the authority to maintain and manage it must own sensitivity and understanding.
However, the reality differs from the idea of an idealistic administration. The power holders see themselves as having the license to abuse it. This abusive nature comes out because of a discriminatory view of the society when a common man becomes the victim of whimsical wrath whereas an influential personality like a politician gets a free pass to disregard the rules and regulations. Worse is the authorities of the state becoming an enabler of this vile form of class difference.
A few days back, two videos surfaced on social media showing the same abuse of power by the authorities when it comes to the common people. In one of those videos, the District Magistrate of Agartala, Tripura was seen slapping a man and his officers thrashing others who were attending a marriage ceremony breaking the COVID protocols. According to the officials, the marriage party was continued after 10:00 pm which is against the guidelines of the state. In the other video, a Congress Mayor was seen thrashing two sadhus in Rajasthan for not wearing a mask. The netizens pointed out the irony that came along as the Mayor herself wasn’t wearing any mask. Although the opinion of the people is divided into the ones who feel that the situation in the nation calls for such severity and the others who see this as a violation of basic human dignity, almost all agree upon the fact that this kind of action is seen only when the person being dealt with isn’t a ‘power-holder’ himself. This has also called for the masses to question the absence of these authorities and their actions from the protest sites and the election campaigns.
The source of power in a democracy like India is the citizens. This is an important reason why people working in the Government are known as ‘public servants’. We live in a country where even the Prime Minister likes to be addressed as the ‘Pradhan Sevak’. Nevertheless, this trait of humbleness and sensitivity somehow fails to penetrate the lower strata of the administration. It is true that for the administration to contain the virus now, implementing the guidelines with an iron fist is necessary. After all, any rational mind would choose to prioritize the lives of people over the rights of a few. But eyebrows raise when the ones meant to lead from the front indulge in discriminatory treatment for different people. Questions are asked when instead of taking genuine legal actions against the violators, the people sitting in administration flex their power by taking actions at a personal level like slapping, abusing, and thrashing. No law calls for this. No law can ever justify this.
The second wave of COVID that has made lives miserable is a result of the failure of both the governance and individual wisdom of the common public. If the former decides to blame only the latter and vice versa, this blame game would only lead us to chaos, which is least needed at this time of crisis. People must start valuing their own lives along with the surrounding ones, adhering to the COVID protocols like wearing masks, being inside their homes until urgent, etc. Also, it is the best time when the authorities can make people from every walks of life realize that no one is above the law, not even themselves, following their duty responsibly that would ensure a balance between being strict and sensitive. These are testing times and all we need is the cooperation of everyone with everyone.
DISCLAIMER: This article reflects author’s view point. Goa Chronicle may or may not subscribe to views of the author