Sample this.

Funeral pyre is said to be the only decided event that comes inevitably to every life – irrespective of your caste, religion, community, sect or ethnicity.

And it is very rightly said that we all are equal in death – even if we spend our whole life with lofty ideals, with gaudy ostentations, with bawdy deliberations, with audacious aggrandizements, with synthetic ethos, with filthy exaggerations, and with everything else extravagant.

What happens to the body of a billionaire also happens with a beggar – either buried or burnt on a funeral pyre.

Yet, VIPism runs deep even here – and is spreading its tentacles fast.

If you chance visit any cemetery or cremation place on riverbanks, in most towns, cities and metro cities, you can see a separate section, with or without a raised platform – the so-called VIP section – that is available either to VVIPs or VIPs – or for a higher charge.

And mind you – people do lobbying – like getting some influential person to call – even while in the heaviness of death – if they don’t get the VIP option available. Likewise, the people manning the crematorium have their behaviours modified.

With increasing levels of income, sophistication (and obviously consumerism, that is otherwise a good trend for a growing economy), the VIPism to show your clout or to simply to quench your inner urge to feel above from others, is becoming a regular feature even at our final resting places.

When – the eternal and the only truth is – we all are same in death – even if we lived different lives.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –



“We are so sucked in this VIP culture –
– in life –
– and in death –
– from the VIP queues in temples –
– to the VIP arrangement for funeral pyres!!”



©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –



Temples are probably the best examples to see how deeply ingrained is the VIP culture in our society in India, something that a rational and logical mind instantly disapproves.

But then what can you do?


But to keep you straight, up according to the norms – as humanity desires and as God decrees – and not as some of us, so called rulers or the ruling elite, lay out.

My first experience to this VIPism was some 10 years ago – back in Chennai – when I was in queue to the famous Ashtalakshmi Temple near some beach – when I saw this VIP line – for people who would pay some amount to bypass the longish queues of sinners like us to get nearer to God.

Now only they can tell or the priests can vouch for if getting in a VIP queue at all helps the purpose – in feeling God – in going near to Him.

What can you achieve by saving some moments by rushing to have your presence in that Sanctum Sanctorum when you cannot toil to see even God?

And this is when our scriptures say that it takes ages of Tapasya (austerity, penance, strict meditation, whatever you want to say) to meet the Almighty in any possible form.

Our scriptures say, our tradition says, the Hindu codes of worship say – that even Goddess Parvati had to do Tapasya for ages to marry Shiva.

But this VIPism has only got worse. From some temples, it is now becoming a regular feature of large temples across the country.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


“Officials should show courtesy and consideration to MPs and MLAs. officials should rise to receive the public representatives and see them off too. Arrangements should be made in advance to receive them in office if a visit is already scheduled.”

“While responding to MPs and MLAs, the official would see that the communication is legit. Pre-printed or cyclo-styled replies should be avoided.”

Indian Express, September 1, 2015 (from the Delhi government circular with guidelines ‘on practices to be followed while dealing with MPs and MLAs’).

The circular has been issued by the government headed by a party that, ironically, was formed to struggle against anything that was ‘VIP’ in nature. To complete the ‘symbolism’ behind the intent, the party was named the ‘Aam Aadmi Party (the common men party). Sky high promises, raising sky high hopes, were made when some of the activists from the hugely successful (but ultimately botched up) anti-corruption movement had announced their political foray in the later half of 2012.

Arvind Kejriwal and his party practiced this, at least in public, before coming to the power once again in Delhi.

“In developed countries, even PMs wait at bus stands. Why can’t the same happen here. We want to end the VIP culture in this country.”

Arvind Kejriwal, BBC, February 14, 2015 – after taking oath as Delhi’s chief minister again.

From eschewing guards, placing his safety in the hands of “God”, to dressing in polyester shirts, Kejriwal has rejected these symbols of privilege enjoyed by a tiny minority of judges, civil servants and politicians in this city of 16 million people.

“When God decides otherwise, nobody can save you, whatever the number of bodyguards,” he told local media.

“I’ve been driving for the past few days. I stop at all red lights. I don’t think my time is wasted,” Kejriwal told lawmakers.

India Today – January 8, 2014 – during Arvind Kejriwal’s first term as the chief minister of Delhi.

Now, down the line three years, the promises sound sham and the lid is blown off with acts like this ‘circular’.

Arvind Kejriwal and his party have been openly VIP this time, after storing to the power corridors of Delhi with absolute majority winning 67 of 70 assembly seats.

Now no one, including Arvind Kejriwal, talks about ‘worthlessness of huge government bungalows for legislators’ or ‘big sized cars as their vehicles’ or ‘designated ministerial convoys’ or ‘unnecessary appointments of party members on public money’ or ‘massive advertising blitzkrieg on exchequer’s money’ and so on.

There have been many instances during this run of the AAP government in Delhi that prove what the AAP talked in the name of ‘anti-VIP measures’ was merely an election rhetoric – and once the purpose was solved with winning the Delhi assembly polls this year – after failures in running Delhi first time and in Lok Sabha elections last year – the party decided to shed the tag completely.

After all, the AAP is just yet another political party now – and as any ‘yet another political party’ is deeply rooted in practicing and promoting the ‘VIP culture’ – so is the AAP – like any other political party – like other political parties – that use the ‘symbolism’ of ‘anti-VIP culture’ to promote ‘VIP culture’ for their leaders – VIPs using anti-VIP persona to remain VIPs.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


Political opposition is blaming Andhra Pradesh chief-minister N Chandrababu Naidu for Godavari Pushkaram stampede in Rajahmundry though the report by his administration (after all, the collector of the district is from his governance spokes only) tries to blame pilgrims for the chaos that crushed 29 people to death.

Though the TDP, the ruling party of AP, dismissed any such report, the collector did send it. The TDP also says opening the religious ritual, with special planetary conditions times time which the calculations say has come this after 144 years, is ‘privilege of Chandrababu Naidu’.

Even if he and his entourage kept the ‘area’ blocked – even if he overstayed – even if the crowd there was increasing in count with every passing moment – even if the temperature was making the heat unbearable – even if the administration (including the police) there was not prepared to crowd.

Can we forgive the administration with this ‘criminal negligence’?

Can we take this argument that the administration did not expect ‘these many’ to turn up?

And moreover, can we forgive such politicians who, knowingly or unknowingly’ cause such human tragedies and then give such lame logics like ‘too great a number’ or ‘it was his privilege to open the festival and to be there’?

Certainly not!

But when would we speak up?

This is not a standalone example. Politicians behaving like kings have become so common that it is considered a societal norm. In fact, we find prevalence of VVIP (or VIP) culture among politicians and members of higher-level bureaucracy. They are in every locality. They are in every town. They are in every district. They are in every state. They are the dominant tools of India’s governing machinery.

While watching news reports about Rajahmundry stampede on television, during the course of channel sifting, a movie caught my attention. I watched some last minutes of it a movie channel. Venkatesh was hero, so it should be a Telugu movie dubbed in Hindi. The movie was complete trash and with illogical jumps for the duration I saw.

But what caught my attention was the plot element unveiling in the film’s climax – a hero fighting a politician and a servile administration – forcing the minister, who is in desperate need of some sort of surgical procedure, to go to the operation theatre of a government hospital.

Now, the minister and the administration don’t want it and the administration (including the police) is hell-bent on sending the minister to some private hospital.

The ‘element of VVIP culture’ in the movie caught my attention here because I was thinking on the same line at that time.

The hero forces the ‘health minister’ to wait like others, on ground in the lobby, with other ordinary patients there.

A sincere looking doctor assures the hero that the minister would indeed be operated in the same hospital but later colludes with the police and opens the back gate of the operation theatre and the minister is taken to an ambulance there so that he could immediately be transferred to a private hospital.

Hero comes to know it and though he is shot twice while finding his way through the policemen, he ultimately kills the minister by hanging him from the hospital wall.

Public waiting there cheers him for this heroic. And in the next frame, the hero is shown smiling and walking with the crowd. And the movie ends there.

Well, it can happen in such films only – not acceptable in a democratic society.

But films on such themes and masses watching them tell of a societal undercurrent – that – masses do detest unabashed VVIP culture.

And there are many more movies made on it – in every Indian language.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –