‘Birth matters more than your talent. A well connected India has got a whole new tinge to it. So much for democracy, for social justice, for equality.”
As I was getting through my summer internship form (the one’s that they hand out at the college to be filled in and sent to the respective company/industry), I was struck with a peculiar thought: what if a friend of mine had decided against helping me out? What if he too, like me, was not well ‘connected’? I, being the son of a Government employee, had no chance of getting an opportunity like that if I were on my own, because no one in my family boasts of ‘contacts’ in high places. And if you are wondering, not many companies visited our campus for recruiting interns, so we were left with no other option than to hunt for contacts, and friends who were better ‘connected’ were helping out the lesser mortals.
Sort of a perpetual quandary for me: finding contacts as and when required. And I believe this to be the case with virtually the whole of the Indian population. Name a situation you are stuck in, and pat comes the obvious solution, contacts: a friend, friend of friend, uncle, chacha, mama, nanaji ke dost ka beta.. You don’t have any? Bah! Humbug!
Need to confirm reservation on the Rajdhani? Find someone in the railway department. What if that means denying someone more deserving? Let him be. After all, it’s his fault that he isn’t ‘connected’ enough. Need to have a driving license? Sure. Chachaji in the RTO will do that. After all, who is to brave the sun and wait in the damned queue to have one’s driving faculties tested when you can do so immersed in the comfort of your sofa? Poor ordinary citizens! Made to go through all that so that they can be branded fit to drive? Ridiculous. ‘But an untrained driver poses a risk to others, and much so, to himself.’ ‘You really care about all that? SP sahib apne hi aadmi hain. Majal hai kisiki jo mujhe chuu sake!’
Need to have your passport without having to be harassed in the ubiquitous crowd at the Passport office? Sure. Uncle sambhaal lenge. Just mail him all the relevant documents and all. Don’t have all the documents? Not a problem, Uncle sambhaal lenge anyways. Birth certificate? Death certificate? Accommodation at a Government guest house in Mumbai? Beti ka admission? Bete ke lie naukri? Name it, and thou shalt have it. If you are ‘connected’, of course.
So much for social equality. Social Equality? Pooh!
Such ‘contacts’ have been connecting India since aeons, and though I myself have been benefitted on this particular occasion (summer internship is a compulsory ingredient of our curriculum, you see), it is pretty sickening a scenario when you realize that someone deserving was left out of an opportunity just because he was not born ‘well’ enough, that he was not well connected. Due process goes for a toss, and a better connected person usurps something that was rightfully yours. Complain about it? “You are welcome. Contacts galore whichever door you knock on.”
P.S. Talking about connected people?? Just consider the case of Shri Rahul Gandhi, Vice President of the INC, and supposedly, PM in waiting, for the simple reason that his mother is the most powerful person in the nation as of now, mightier than the current PM himself. So we are going to have someone as our Prime Minister just because he boasts of having a decorated surname.
– Mallikarjuna Kalika
Mallikarjuna is currently pursuing his B.Tech in Chemical engineering at National Institute of Technology, Rourkela. His interests mostly lie in writing and he blogs here.