Even with Lord Venkateshwara in Tirupati, VIPs get a special treatment. There are several queues for people who pay money. But then there is a special queue for people who are VIPs.
You go to a Government Office. There are toilets marked for ‘Officers’ and ‘VIP’s, as if they have an extra hole in their body.
Not just in Tirupati, in most temples VIPs are treated differently. Often VIPs are people who don’t pay a penny for temple administration, but do favours to individuals in temple administration and are thus a drain on temples.
The other day I saw a police constable bending down in Japanese style before a VIP in full public view. The VIP is simply a rich industrialist in Chennai. Though the VIP did not have any official responsibilities, people behind his car were chased away to remain at a distance till the VIP got into his car. The constable was assisted by an Inspector who acted as the bodyguard of the VIP, till the VIP got in the car.
We were travelling in a scooter and my son loudly said “Appa, the police sir is bending exactly like the Park-Sheraton doorman”.
The same policemen in higher and lower levels who often are so tough with ordinary public and petty criminals behave worse than servants and security-guards in full public view in front of the VIPs.
Stand in a queue for anything. You will find a VIP representative walking directly ahead and getting his job done in front of all others.
Go to a Movie, drama or some entertainment show. People who paid thousands would be sitting at the back. People who did not pay a single paise would be sitting at the front as ‘VIPs’. In fact I have seen several people proudly saying that they have got a ‘VIP’ pass, without a bit of shame!
Who are those VIPs..? Most cases VIPs are simply rich people with good political and police connections. And most often they don’t contribute a single penny to the service they are receiving. But I won’t blame the VIPs for this menace.
India has a thousands of years history with VIPs. It has institutionalized and perfected a system of discrimination not only with respect to Caste, but with respect to money, land-holdings and power (read proximity to rulers) and against ordinary people. So when we morph into democracy, where all people have to be treated equal, it does not come naturally to our people.
It is a mental battle. A battle to make ordinary people believe that they are ‘really’ equal to everyone in power and with money. A battle that should start with Government of India abolishing the system of VIPs.
But believe me. Unless we get rid of this system of discriminating people based on money and power, we can never develop fully in the modern world.
Preferential treatment or Discrimination is not simply about a person’s liberty and rights. It is about economy. As the temples that loose huge revenues due to preferential treatment of VIPs (where the benefits go to individuals and not to temple organization), Country stands to loose huge amounts of revenue due to preferential treatment.
Every time a VIP travels free in a Toll Road, we loose money. (Did u know there is a big list of VIPs who can travel free in a toll road..?). Every time a VIP gets quota on train and air tickets, our country stands to loose money. Every time VIP gets quota on Petrol bunks, Gas connections, our country stands to loose revenue.
Above all that, the system of VIPs scares all Government and public workers to blackmail, undue favoritism and submission.
That’s why we find Policemen behaving like Security Guards, IAS officers behaving like Personal Assistants (and in some cases Peons) and rich people who do not hold any public positions behaving like Kings!
The VIP system is the starting point of corruption, as it provides a way for people with money and power to abuse others. Most VIPs are people who already posses huge money and power. There is no logic to provide them a separate platform that enhances their power, prestige and recognition.
The media that fights against the discrimination of Gays, Lesbians and so many dis-advantaged people is shy of fighting against this discrimination against everyone in India in the name of VIPs. Is the VIP discrimination not the worst and highest form of discrimination against all ordinary Indians..?
Is it because the media bosses themselves are classified as ‘VIP’s ?
In any case if India has to rise in true-sense, it needs to abolish the system of ’VIP’s as it abolished the ‘Monarchy’ and ‘Privy Purse’.