They even do not want presidential award for meritorious service:
After scrubbing toilets in southern India for 40 years, without taking a day off, they managed to save in whole life close to only Rs. 6,000 each. Both 59 years old, Akku and Leela started working at the Government’s Women Teacher’s Training Institute in 1971. Their salary started at 15 rupees a month and it never changed. Both of them in the name of raise only got promises every year from their employers, who were too busy enjoying the fruits of pay commission and D.A. hike for themselves. But both still continued to work taking pride in the same.
Finally, in 2001, they raised their complaints with the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal, in Udupi, India. Without proper notice, their pay was suddenly stopped. This did not stop Akku and Leela, however and they continued cleaning toilets, three times a day, seven days a week, for 11 years — for free.
In 2003, the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal ordered the government to give the two women their dues. However, not a single rupee was given to them. Perhaps both are too poor to even take up matter for contempt of court and free legal aid department of the state is not even aware of their plight. An easy course was, however advised to them, which they have undertaken also and that is to apply to the Guinness Book of World Records for the world’s lowest-paid workers. While they may or may not get justice despite outstanding and meritorious service rendered for 42 years, it is likely that all the Government servants who have been sitting over the matter may bring to India the dubious distinction of having the lowest paid government employees in the world.
We the people of India: Decades back in late 70`s, when I just joined law, I had the good fortune of being taught the very first lesson in Constitutional law by my lecturer in Punjab who was a burly sardar, full of his practical witticism. He began by explaining the Preamble to the Constitution and particularly the expression `We the people of India’ in his own Pinglish( Punjabi- English) style- Do not feel happy and thrilled that the expression means `me and ju( you)’- ` v( we) here means the powerful people sitting in Lutyens Zone in Delhi and some few in Nariman point, who come and go in that area playing musical chair in Parliament and in the Corporate World’. If you start thinking that `V’ here means `me and ju’ and that Constitution has been provided by ju- then ju are calling for serious trouble.
These words, that continue to resonate in my mind till date were my first lesson about the political elite and masses. Now, that I see the members of the so claimed civil society emphasizing that it is the people who have empowered the Parliamentarians and not vice versa, I am reminded of the full import of the lesson given by my teacher. The struggle between political elite and those claiming to represent masses to dominate is nothing new, but rather historical phenomena. Most of the times, it is political elite that manages to survive through its collusiveness, but sometimes the masses are able to overthrow them to form a Neo-Political elite, which in turn becomes a target of the masses after some lapse of time. And, so the world goes on. Many in Indian polity accused of corruption today are the ones who started their political careers on the plank of socialism and they are the ones who oppose reform to weed out corruption. Therefore, the musical chair race goes on, may be its only time for some occupants to change the chairs in Lutyens Zone. As far as ` We the people’ are concerned, it is better to play music only without being in the race and not to get too hopeful or to call for trouble, as my learned teacher had put it.
Car Menace in Delhi: The only thing that Indian religious Gurus of India really need to do on urgent basis is to teach meditation to car drivers of India indulging in road rage. It may be good idea for Delhi traffic cops to stop persons found speeding, jumping red light, violating traffic signals or indulging in road rage to make them sit and do meditation session of 15 to 30 minutes apart from fining them, as the latter has not helped much and death due to accidents and road rage are on the rise. Even courts dealing with traffic offences can prescribe sentences like meditation till the rising of the Court. This I am sure is the only way to make Delhites on the road to behave proper.
Incidentally, cars in Delhi can be vividly and aptly described as follows:
- An item which is a fast moving inventory in showrooms, but slow moving or roads of Delhi.
- Machines that are death traps on express ways and safest when trapped in the road jams.
- Wherein you can see abuses being hurled up on you with the rolled up window glasses of others and the abuses hurled by you are heard only by the inmates of your car and only seen by the ones for whom they are meant.
- A machine where in your entry time systolic/diastolic blood pressure is 120/80 and exit time goes to 170/110, giving your Doctor a perfect reason to prescribe lifelong medicine to enrich the Pharma Company and to earn himself a free trip to USA.
- A machine commuting in which provides you best excuse for being late to your bosses, wife or on any appointment.
- A machine which gets its first dent even before the meter reading of distance meter reads 10 k.ms.
- Where all those who decide the petrol price hike are the ones who are driven on red beacon light, free on my pocket- petro cars or the ones who have to profit out of such hike.
Happy Festive season: At the onset of this lovely festive season, I would like to wish all the readers of this column, best of season’s and festive greetings. May the divinity bless you all with unadulterated food? May the paneer, khoya and milk that comes to you as sweets, be free from all the chemicals. May the potatoes that cause acidity to you be free from being washed with acid? May the desi ghee that you light your lamp with be impure, but the one that goes in your system be pure only. May the masalas free from colours, spice up your life. May the mosquitoes of malaria and dengue that come your way to bite you with all their might, go on diet. May all those who give you fake medicines need the same for themselves and their kith and kin? May babus move your files without wheels of photo of Gandhiji on currency note? May your cars have not only enough room inside, but also outside on the road -to enjoy their right of privacy and freedom from denting. And last but not the least, may all those in corporate who profit by making things expensive for you through their nexus, have their funds looted during elections by politicians who in turn may be required to spend more for buying votes of common people, so that vicious circle of corruption goes on without benefiting anyone.