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Ego Hassles


An ACJM has been transferred because he summoned a police driver and had him take off his uniform as punishment. The cop’s mistake was that he did not allow the magistrate’s car to overtake the prison van he was driving on a crowded stretch of road. This is a somewhat extreme example of the extent ‘VIPs’ can go to satisfy their bloated egos. There is not a single road user who has not, at one time or another, been crowded off the road by siren tooting escorts so that some VIP obtains right of way. Not only does this create dangerous situations as panicked drivers are forced to put themselves and others in danger, but it also creates resentment among the common folk.
A negative consequence of this is that people become reluctant to give way even to first-responders such as ambulances and police vehicles that genuinely need to get somewhere fast. Nobody really knows what the bureaucratic rules are in this regard but common sense tells us that first-responders are in a category of their own and there should be no similarity between their sirens or hooters and those of various categories of ‘VIPs’. In a day and age when little escapes the eye of the smartphone camera, egoistic transgressions are captured and become viral on social media. Instead of enjoying the perks of office, one becomes the subject of public ridicule.
One can understand the urgent need of an emergency vehicle to get somewhere, be it the fire-tender, ambulance, and those transporting army, police and administrative officials required to be on the spot as speedily as possible. Also, maybe persons in high constitutional positions such as the President, Prime Minister or Governor, but why include others no matter how ‘important’ they are? Should not public representatives such as union ministers, chief ministers, MPs and MLAs and other ‘ranking’ dignitaries experience the travails of the common person on the roads? Would this not inspire them to improve conditions, not just for themselves but everybody else? If they have to get somewhere on time, why should they not start early like others keeping in mind the traffic situation? If they really want the roads to be clear for them so that they can zoom to their destinations, should they not be introducing 21st century traffic management techniques and technologies? In fact, the manner in which public representative are driven down the roads can be considered a mark of how well run are their states or countries. It is not a coincidence that in some developed countries leaders walk or cycle to office or the local store, while in badly run others, they have to be surrounded by ‘black cat’ commandoes by the dozen to feel secure and comfortable.