Skip to main content

Reason why people fear police officials: Govt treats people as subjects, not citizens

By Mukund Maheshwari* 

To be silent is to be ‘anti-national’, believes Kannan Gopinathan, ex-IAS officer-turned-social activist, who has travelled across the country to 60-65 districts (~10% of the country) spread over 18 states, meeting thousands of people from different backgrounds and perspectives, observing agreements and disagreements in different parts of the country. During a conversation with me, he observed how different people think differently within the bounds of their own rationality framework.
For instance, even people willing to vote for a certain caste have some underlying reason to do that. In India, different castes are concentrated in some geographic regions. Therefore, when many people vote for their caste, they want a minister coming from their locality who will look to lead the progress of the area.
Further, he observed that across the country, we fear police officials while we should be feeling safe to see them. The reason is that the government treats the people as the subject, not as citizens. To be called citizens, we should be able to ask questions to the government we have elected, but the same has become difficult over the last few years. Police officials feel that they have the license to officially beat up the citizens, while the same should be considered as assault.
The government has tried to take the path of treating the people of the country as passive beneficiaries rather than active citizens. Questions on the incapability of the government on a particular matter are replied by them by giving an additional subsidy. However, it is important to understand the passiveness associated with such benefits, where we are not expected to actively question and involve in the decision-making process of the government.
The government has been bullying the country's citizens by depriving them of their right to ask questions. It is important to understand that we are a country that does not run-on macro innovations but thousands of micro innovations. For instance, the government's announcement of demonetization was a macro-innovation. However, the same was followed by thousands of micro-innovations as people came up with different ways to outsmart the government.
All of the parties involved are trying to outsmart each other instead of doing their jobs honestly. The problem with bullying is that the moment you stop people from expressing their opinions, you are dumbing down on the entire country and will settle on sub-optimal solutions.
Despite the massive failure that demonetization was, there is no single article that clearly reveals what the government did wrong there. Some sources speculate that the final money deposit in the system was even higher than what it was pre-demonetization because of the deposit of fake currency notes. However, the implications of these events have not been clearly documented.
It is important to understand that ignoring a set of opinions by ‘name-calling’ is not in the right spirits of how a democracy should function
Raising concern and documenting the true situation is important in such cases to avoid such mistakes from repeating in the future. We had a demonetization in 1970, yet the same happened again in 2016. The same mistake has been repeated now by not letting people bring out as to what went wrong.
A thought that often crosses our mind as to what can we, as the ordinary educated population of the country, do? What actions can we undertake to actually bring a difference? Well, the truth is that the impact that we can bring is beyond ordinary.
For starters, more of us can think to enter politics. The country needs more politicians right now, and we need more educated and well-intended people to enter politics and work towards bringing a change. We often complain about the lack of alternatives available to us while voting, but at the same time, we are not willing to enter politics.
It is crucial to understand here that not all the parties in the system are important. It is just a game of adjusting their motives and drivers to contribute to the change you want to bring. It is crucial to align the incentives of the involved parties in a similar way that we talk about aligning the incentives of an agent with the principal.
Secondly, It is important for us to disagree and express our opinions while having day-to-day conversations. We often come across opinions that we might not agree to, yet we avoid saying anything just to prevent those unpleasant conversations. 
Also, a large part of the population finds it difficult to listen to people with conflicting views and try to do away with it by name-calling that set of people. It is important to understand that ignoring a set of opinions by ‘name-calling’ is not in the right spirits of how a democracy should function. Further, a lot of us keep referring back to past events and incidents while discussing current issues.
Expressions like ‘Where were you in...?’ ate used to justify and cover up current mistakes. When not fully informed on the issue, we get angry when we don’t have answers instead of accepting the same and informing ourselves fully on the subject. We should remember that we are the land of ‘Tark Shastra’, and we should actively debate on issues with an expression of our opinions.
Lastly, we should raise our concerns when we feel something happening around us is wrong. We should use whatever way we can to raise our voices, but it is important to do it. Because you are effectively aggreging to something happening around in case you are not raising your voice. ‘To be silent is to be anti-national.'
We are very less informed on what China is doing as nation. Gopinathan learned mandarin in the last one year. Therefore, he created a website called whatchinareads.com. The programme in the website runs across 100+ Chinese media websites and converts the key reported news into English so that we can read and understand what Chinese media is reporting in real-time.
---
*Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad. second-year MBA student. Based on an interaction with Kannan Gopinathan, IAS officer-turned social activist

Comments

TRENDING

North Gujarat gram panchayat bars villagers from dealing with Muslim hawkers, traders

By Our Representative  A gram panchayat in North Gujarat has barred its residents not to buy anything from Muslim traders and hawkers. An order of the Waghasan group gram panchayat of Tharad taluka of Banaskantha district dated June 30 states that the decision has been taken in the wake of beheading of a Hindu tailor after he posted a derogatory writeup on Prophet Mohammad in Udaipur. The gram panchayat resolution says, anyone seen buying or selling any commodity from a Muslim hawker or trader would be fined Rs 5,100. Bringing this to light, Mujahid Nafees, convener, Minority Coordination Committee, in a letter to Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel, says, the state government should take legal action against the panchayat chief who has signed the “unjust” order. The letter says, the act of the sarpanch and other signatories is a violation of rule of law of the state and threat to peace, pointing out, the move is in violation of Article 15 of the Constitution, which says that none

Technocratic globalism, tyranny? Health Ministry warned: bill to 'enslave' Indians

Sandeep Pandey, Tushar Gandhi By Rosamma Thomas*  Union of Concerned Citizens, a group comprising Magsaysay Award winner Prof Sandeep Pandey, human rights activist Tushar Gandhi, former judge of the Bombay High Court BG Kolse Patil, pediatrician Dr Jacob Puliyel and several renowned Indian citizens have written to the Union Health Minister cautioning him against tabling the draft Public Health Bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament. “The Public Health (Prevention, Control And Management Of Epidemics, Bio-Terrorism And Disasters) Bill, 2017 and a Prospective Bill of 2022 as discussed in news articles, is straightforwardly violative of Fundamental Rights of the citizens of India and therefore, Ultra Vires of the Indian Constitution. It contravenes several International Treaties and Conventions including the Nuremberg Treaty of 1947 which was enacted to ensure that no country would repeat such inhuman medical atrocities on fellow human beings”, the 12-page letter reads. “Strangely, t

Unlike Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India: Ukrainian scholar tells 'Indian friends'

Counterview Desk In an open letter to "dear Indian friends", Anastasia Piliavsky, born in Odessa, Ukraine, studied at Boston and Oxford Universities (on a Rhodes Scholarship), and now teaches at King’s College, London, has said that she faces "deep moral dilemma", personally and professionally, over the "astonishingly unified Indian response to the war in Ukraine." Based on her interaction with a "number of thoughtful and caring Indian friends", in this letter, she says, she is "reeling at the ubiquitous silence at, justifications of or outright support for Putin’s terror, which now prevails in India, at the ubiquitous #IStandWithPutin and #istandwithrussia hashtags." She insists, India must understand, "Unlike the Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India. Soviet leaders, beginning with (the Ukrainian) Nikita Khrushchev – who declared hindi rusi bhai bhai – built up deep political and cultural exchange with India." Text : I

PLFS data: Is rising employment good news? Deeper analysis suggests contrary results

By Ishwar Chandra Awasthi, Puneet Kumar Shrivastav*  Results of the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), 2020-21 , released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India (GoI) on June 14, 2022, show improvement in work force participation rate (WPR) and labour force participation rate (LFPR) and declining unemployment rate. Four rounds of data have been released from 2017-18 to 2020-21 based on PLFS. The general trend in the last four rounds clearly shows consistent increase in WPR and LFPR and falling unemployment rates by usual status (PS+SS). Though increase in WPR and LFPR is reported highest in 2019-20 over 2018-19, yet rising trend in these two key indicators continues throughout, and similarly fall in unemployment is registered highest in 2019-20 over 2018-19. Clearly, the recent results give some solace and relief after unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic that has entailed enormous loss of human lives and livelihoods and crippled economic activit

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

'Drop all falsed charges': 150 citizens demand early release of AltNews co-founder

Counterview Desk  About 150 concerned citizens have demanded the release of Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of the fact-checkng newsportal AltNews, arrested over a 2018 tweet which allegedly hurt religious sentiments, even as booking for criminal conspiracy and having received foreign funds in violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). Denied bail last weekend and sent to 14-day judicial custody, the concerned citizens, in a statement, regretted that while the Delhi High Court issued notice to the Delhi police on a petition filed on behalf of Zubair challenging the legality and propriety of his police remand and the seizure of his electronic devices, the “frivolous case” continues. Excerpts: The illegal arrest of Mr. Mohammed Zubair happened on June 27, 2022, by the Delhi Police for allegedly hurting religious sentiments and promoting enmity over a tweet from 2018. The IPC Sections included 153(a) (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race,

Chennai residents 'suffering': Faulty design, implementation of storm water project

By NS Venkataraman*  The Greater Chennai Corporation is now implementing storm water drainage project in 559 roads, covering a distance of 1033 kilometres, which cost around Rs 4,070 crore. For this massive project, which is targeted to be completed between April and September this year, huge loan has been availed from World Bank, Asian Development Bank and others. Several technocrats have pointed out that the project has been designed with outdated technology and quality of the implementation is so poor that the residents have been put to great hardships. As part of the project, digging of the road has been done to around 5 to 6 feet deep and width of around 4 to 5 feet. The drains are being constructed using steel reinforced cement concrete with two walls on either side with provisions for manhole, chute etc. This has been done in front of several houses leaving little space between the gate of the house and that of the drainage structure. As the work has been going on for mor

Prime Minister's 'affordable' housing policy fails to help Gujarat slum dwellers: Study

By Rajiv Shah  A new study on the implementation of one of the major policy initiatives for the urban poor by the Narendra Modi government after it came to power, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), has said that in Gujarat, which happens to be the Prime Minister’s home state, has quoted state officials as “confirming” that no progress towards tenure regularization, a key requirement for providing housing to the state’s slum dwellers. Stating that this particularly true of smaller town, the study, carried out by the non-profit Homes in the City (HIC), which is based in Bhuj, district headquarter of Kutch that saw a devastating earthquake in 2001, says, the failure to provide affordable housing is there despite the fact that there has been “significant demand” in all the 83 out of 153 Gujarat municipalities studied by experts involved in the study. According to the study, out f a total of 1.41 lakh demands for housing under the Beneficiary Led Construction (BLC) category, 94,232 (66.7%)

'Contractor-official nexus led to RTI activist's murder': Fact-finding team seeks probe

Courtyard inside of PWD office where Ranjeet Soni was killed Counterview Desk  A fact-finding team* visited Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh (MP) on June 19, 2022 to meet with the family of Ranjeet Soni, who was shot dead on June 2, 2022 inside the premises of the PWD office in Vidisha. The objective was to gather information about the circumstances surrounding the death of Ranjeet Soni and his work on exposing corruption through the use of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. A report prepared by the team members says that Ranjeet had been extensively using the RTI Act to access information from the government, and upon receiving documents showing misuse of public funds or corruption, he was filing complaints to various authorities including the Lokyukta, Publi Works Department (PWD) and the Chief Minister’s Office. It notes, Ranjeet used to work as a contractor and often undertook government works in collaboration with other contractors, including those being investigated for his murder. A f

Electricity Bill: Centre's reform measures contain 'carrot and stick package' for states

Counterview Desk  The Peoples’ Commission on Public Sector and Public Services (PCPSPS), claiming to be a network of eminent academics, jurists, erstwhile administrators, trade unionists and social activists, seeking consultations with stakeholders with those who are against the government’s decision to monetise, disinvest and privatise public assets/enterprises, has said that the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill-2022 will have far-reaching impacts on the finances of states. Insisting that the proposed Bill would lead to “assault on India’s federal structure”, in a statement, it says, it would weaken the finances of states’ power distribution companies, have adverse impact on utility employees, cripple the states' finances, impose a heavy cost burden on the smaller subsidized consumers (especially farmers), and benefit only corporate business houses. “States cannot afford to ignore the far-reaching implications of the Bill on their economy, finances, agricultural and industria