November 04, 2009

PM Security and Level Crossing Insecurity

Another instance of security overkill. What is the price of the life of an Indian? Not much, it would seem.

This day brings news of another man dying because of the security bandobast surrounding the visit of the Indian PM. I had the opportunity to see this first hand in my home town once when the then PM was there for an election rally ... may be in 1996 ... I don't quite remember now. The PM was of course the chanakya of Indian politics P. V. Narasimha Rao. The reality on the ground might have been more complex than the facts reported in the papers. In New Delhi, of course, residents are used to it. Even I have on occasion had to suffer because the PM's cavalcade happened to be passing by ... It seems like an enjoyable tamasha when that happens ... you just have to cool your heels for a while ... assuming of course that the Sun is not in full blaze and you weren't going anywhere in a hurry.

In India, of course, appointments are 'flexible.' Everyone would understand if you told them that you got delayed as the PM's cavalcade was passing by. The U.S. President probably inconveniences the citizens of the United States by an equivalent amount. One can't hope for the kind of minimal security which surrounds the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom ... not in an India where people have many and myriad grievances and two PMs have been murdered within a span of seven years.

The other astounding news in the morning papers was about the death of about a dozen people in railway level crossing accidents. How strange is it that six ordinary people get killed when a train runs over them! How does one even try to understand such senseless tragedy? Even a two-year-old kid was killed in one of these incidents. Try thinking about that for a couple of minutes! What a way to die!!! But then India sees all sorts of deaths ...

One of my relations who was a 'God man' or a 'holy man' in the 'holy' city of Puri was 'murdered' a few months back. He was involved in many different kinds of nefarious activities, of course. Imagine dying when two or three people come at you and basically hack you into pieces using axes or something.

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