This month, as we focus on the subject of Homeland Security and the evolution of newer strategies and usage of technology to fight terrorism, naxalism and other extremist threats that challenge the efforts of police and paramilitary forces in India, a question pops up in my mind – are we really secure? Has enough been done to ensure that a Mumbai type attack or a bomb blast in a busy market does not ever occur again? In my view, the answer is, No! The seriousness of that intent of the State to protect its citizens is not yet evident to the common man.
The attitude, training and mannerisms of the policeman on the ground has, as yet, not changed enough to impress the public and instill confidence that this man will stop all bad things from happening. His prowl for gratification goes on while seniors clamour about non implementation of police reforms, the chief ministers continue to treat police as their private armies, even, the CBI has developed an image of being subservient to the government of the day!
Must we continue to wait for the desired change to happen, when no one appears serious about ensuring that it happens? Why cant we be responsible for our own safety and security? What stops us from becoming the policeman? Actually, nothing. The real problem is that we always expect someone else to do things for us. Be it the garbage cleaner, who we expect to keep our streets clean while we ourselves continue to litter them.
The real problem is that we have grown up in an undisciplined society where we do not want to follow rules nor feel ashamed when someone reprimands us for breaking them. Discipline, like security always results in some discomfort, and as a community we are not willing to be inconvenienced in any manner. That is perhaps the reason why well meaning cops find it so hard to enforce traffic rules in India. We are just not willing to be tamed!
As and when we are caught breaking the rules, our first reaction is to use the influence of a higher official or a politician to get us out of the tangle. If that does not work, we try bribing our way out. We first encourage corruption and then make a hue and cry when the rot becomes unbearable and we are caught in our own web, unable to break free. The whole process is sometimes referred to as the ‘System’.
This ‘System’ is what seems to be running the nation. Scams, it is perceived, are happening in all walks of our economy. Institutions and business houses that were hitherto considered sacrosanct have, in recent times also seen their names being linked to illegitimate dealings. Political parties who cry foul at the alleged corrupt practices of the ruling government and claim clean governance if voted to power also end up being accused of the same corrupt practices. The common man today believes that there is nothing honestly clean. Every policy decision, every deal is viewed with suspicion. The honest bureaucrats prefer to pass the files around and not take decisions as they are afraid of allegations of foul play. I wonder when we would be able to break free from the talons of the ‘System’!