A few days back, I had to travel from Noida to Delhi for an important official work. I had been waiting for a bus for about an hour and as I was getting late I decided to rent an auto rickshaw. The auto rickshaw usually takes 150 bucks but that day he asked for 90 bucks only (which was very shocking). The auto had a Delhi number (DL 16…) There is a law under which an auto or a public transport can not travel from one state to another if they do not have a permit. And usually the auto drivers here do not have it. Thus, they are often caught by the police.
Just before leaving Noida (which is a part of U.P) a policeman told us to stop. He slowly approached the auto and said “Haan bhai, kya kar raha hai Noida mein?” (What are you doing in Noida?)
The auto driver (AD) replied, “Saahib, sawaari lene aaya tha, regular hai.” (Sir, I was here to pick up a regular customer).
The policeman(PM) replied, “To apna permit dikha” (show your permit).
AD- “Saahib permit to nahi hai” (I don’t have it sir).
PM- “Tab to teri gaadi band hogi, chal gaadi ki battery nikal aur paper jama karwa” (then we will have to confiscate your vehicle and your papers)
AD- “Saahib vo kyu?” (Why is that sir?)
PM- “Humse behes karega tu?” (Now you have the courage to question us?)
AD- “Saahib agar permit na hone ki wajah se aap meri gaadi band karte ho tab to aap galat kaam kar rahe ho na.” (Sir, if you confiscate my vehicle due to the non presence of a permit then you are doing an illegal job).
PM (holding him by the collar)- “Humein sikhayega ab tu?” (Now you will teach us?)
AD (freeing himself)- “Saahib, shayad aapko pata nahi hai lekin permit naa hone par dhara 177 lagti hai, lekin aap meri gaadi band nahi kar sakte varna aapko duty se nikala jaa sakta hai. Aap sirf challan kaat sakte ho” (Sir, seems you are not aware that you can charge me with act 177 but you cannot confiscate my papers or my vehicle. You could lose your job. You can only charge me with a challan.)
PM- “Yahi ruk tu.” (You wait here)
The policeman went and had a quick chat with a senior of his. He soon returned.
PM- “Chal 200 rupay nikaal aur chalta ban“. (Give me 200 bucks (bribe) and just go about your way)
AD- “Kyu du saahib? Aap challan kaat lo, mein bhar dunga, lekin na to mein ghoos doonga nahi mein gaadi dunga“. (Why should I give it? You can challan me but neither would I give the bribe nor would I let you confiscate my vehicle)
Before the policeman could say anything further and create problems for the auto driver, I interrupted.
The policeman had no choice than to challan the auto driver. The auto driver paid the challan and we moved ahead.
After a few minutes I asked the auto driver about how he knew about all this? The auto driver said, “Sir, I am an ex-sub-constable and the reason why I left my job was the corruption within the police department. Now I live a life on my own terms and live it ethically.”
I was stunned by this. The auto driver left me thinking. As usual, a million thoughts came to my mind. I was happy that there are true and people who do only the legitimate work. But is this what happens to them? Do they have to quit their jobs.
The auto driver told me that he was happier now and living a better life, but is our police system that bad? We all know that corruption is deep rooted but can’t we do anything about it?
The only thing that can be done as of now is, let us all refuse to accept corrupt practices. Let’s all pledge that we will never bribe any official at any level. Let’s pledge that whenever we are asked for bribe or we are being mis-treated by an official we will counter question him.
Today it was the auto driver, tomorrow it could be you.
Let’s all voice ourselves and let our voices be heard. Let’s make a difference.
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