An epidemic has hit the town and has hit it hard. This epidemic is reported to have affected mainly the adolescents and adults of not more than the age of 30. So widespread is this infectious illness that its repercussions and side effects are felt by all the ordinary men and women who ply their way to their homes, offices and other places through road, either by walking or by driving. The cause of concern is made even greater by the anomaly that unlike other epidemics, which start from poor and filthy slums housing the penurious and the destitute and thus giving the political class some ammunition for their next electoral campaign, this ailment has erupted from the households of the rich and the wealthy, especially those occupying public offices having considerable power and clout. Thus, for the first time in independent India’s history, the common man is forced to sympathize at the plight of the elite who have contracted such a disease whose cure is not only rare, but also very costly. So much so, that only by relinquishing all power and wealth can this sickness be sufficiently brought under control – the traces of which, however, would still remain.
But unlike all the other epidemics, this one takes far lesser number of lives. So much so, that if thee death toll of various epidemics were to be compared, this one would turn out to be the fingernail of the little finger of the shortest man on earth! Its death toll is almost negligible as compared to all the other major epidemics.
Still, it cannot be neglected. So widespread is its impact that almost all the elite class is desperately trying to find its cure by trying all the remedies possible – medicinal, spiritual, other-worldly and what not. Hence, this plague has achieved what all the other epidemics together could not – that to bring the elite down to their knees, with their arms flailing, tongues rolling and eyes widespread in agony, desperately seeking a remedy. These stellar accomplishments have been made possible because the epidemic is not biological, but sociological in nature. For our convenience, let us name it the ‘tu-janta-nahi-mera-baap-kaun-hai’ syndrome.
As an ardent viewer of one of the top entertainment channels of the country, India TV, I was alarmed when I saw a news item that had somehow slipped through the prying gaze of its editors and had made its way to the screen for full 10 stunning seconds. However, it was not the unintended gaffe of the editors who let a genuine news item play on their channel for some time, but the content of that news that alarmed me. It reported an incident in Delhi’s Sarojini Nagar area where a constable had brushed his motorcycle against the Santro of a passerby, following which the driver came out of his car with a hammer and attacked the constable with it thus fracturing his left leg and right arm in the process. He also whipped out a pistol and shot a man who tried to intervene in his cheek.
Surely it was a trivial incident and could have been forgiven following a genuine apology. Following this I pulled out the statistics of road rage cases in Delhi and was alarmed to find out that around 1200 people had been killed and 3300 injured in road rage cases in the national capital in 2010 alone. The figure is only expected to rise for this year.
I myself recalled a recent event when I had the opportunity to see an altercation between two people on the road following a trivial accident. One of the most commonly repeated refrain in their figure of speech which also involved many phrases which cannot be produced here for the want of public decency, was ‘tu janta nahi mera baap kaun hai?’
Such arrogance of power and privilege! I consulted some of my otherwise intelligent friends and they concurred that their ears too had been subjected to this figure of speech by someone or the other during the time which they spent on road. This confirmed my suspicions that this was a rampant sociological epidemic. While I cannot of course prescribe a cure for such rampant disease, I can obviously try to dissect the phenomenon and point out certain reasons for the spread of this disease.
The first reason, I think, is the rampant prevalence of nepotism in our country. A policy that is supported at the very top echelons of the political, economic and social class, it is not surprising then, that this has resulted in the sprouting up of seeds of arrogance in the main beneficiaries of these nepotist policies. Bereft of any worthwhile qualification or achievements, the only cannon in their otherwise empty armory remains ‘tu janta nahi mera baap kaun hai?’
The second reason is the conviction to thwart any significant interest by the use of money, power or clout. The nepotism fueled arrogance is given a further push by this conviction, which has proved to be true in recent times, that anybody having money, power or clout can use that inappropriately to influence other instruments of the state so as to thwart any interest of someone who dares to invite their wrath.
The third and the last reason is the preference of matter over mind, of wealth over education, of power over post. The son of a petty politician can threaten an executive of a multinational with this refrain and can expect not only to get away, but also to heap rich rewards from it. This obviously shows the low levels of education and high levels of nepotism that we have scaled and the direction in which the country is headed.
So the next time you hear a man who asks you ‘tu janta nahi mera baap kaun hai?’ do not entertain him for long and forgive him for being mentally ill.