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’?
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 – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/