Fighting the ‘Darbar Raj’


By: Satyakam Bharti

This photograph tells an age-old story. A story we all missed to hear from our parents and grandparents while growing up. But we anyway very well understand the underlining message – that this earth is an unequal place to live in and would stay so, at least in this part of the world. Or how else can one explain the dialectics of this frame. Perhaps, there can be many interpretations to it, and the one applied by the public relations department officials in Himachal Pradesh, who very gleefully forwarded it to the media, too may not be unfounded. But the one that is sure to prick the conscience of many is about our disgusting indifference towards basic human values.

Even if egalitarianism is something too much to expect from ourselves, pity itself cannot be said to be absent completely from an elitist mindset. And let me not sound sympathetic towards disability, as is often preached, in a way to hurt the self-respect of the disadvantaged lot (at least with physical disability), because the question here is that of systemic failure whereby each one of us not in the power loop is handicapped.

Coming back to the picture, imagine a human being, a bipedal primate by definition, limping on four limbs (a deformity ok), almost galloping with great effort, just to reach a certain place where he expects to be heard. This despite the fact that he could easily have been heard near to his own house. Now just go through the organisational chart the state Social Justice and Empowerment Department has very proudly put up on its website – minister, chief secretary, additional secretary, under secretary, director, additional director, deputy director, deputy director (SCP), additional controller, GKAM, RO(SCP); joint director(ICDS), programme officer 1, programme officer 2, special nutrition officer; every district too has a welfare officer, tehsil welfare officer, superintendent; ICDS, programme officer, child welfare programme officer and supervisor besides the clerical staff. Some of these officers have been specially designated public grievance redressal officers.

So, despite having the services of so many officials, why does a majorly handicapped person, or for that matter anybody, has to line up at the Chief Minister’s office. The Chief Minister should realise that it is because these many officials have failed to perform their duty and they should be held accountable for that.

Perhaps, the everyday crowd at the CM’s office or residence, or for that matter at every legislator’s, appears to be manifestation of the age-old disease of feudalism, under which the ‘raja’ cannot exist without the ‘runk’. Now, it is for all of us to redefine our proletarian identity, …each one of us, including the chief minister and whosever carries the baggage of power.

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  1. Quite an enlightening thought Sir. Even I have seen this photograph on the State Government's website but you have done a great job by sending some moral message through this photograph. Keep the good work going……….kudos

  2. The indifference to handicapped and the old being shown by Chief Minister and his men just go to show the real me of these people.They may preach the Gita when it serves their purpose but when in power they won't even show common courtesy even to the underprivileged.

  3. Writer has done a commendable job. The message is clear and should not be taken taken personally. It is will be very difficult to break the feudal traditions of Himachal Pradesh which remained under feudal set for centuries. Even after independence this class had the natural advantage to grab the power by all means and befool the masses tactically.

    The behave of every Himachali is deeply influenced by such traditions. That is why we all waste much time and resources on welcoming the politicians/chief guests. In such times we all forget that the work is more important than the flattery.

    There should be a sitting arrangement for all the people waiting for the turn at CM,s residence.

    An honest effort should be taken by the CM towards the decentralization of power.

    I have another suggestion to CM, Please smile a bit and let the people feel that you are here by their virtue and not by your political manipulations in the Party. The God has given you an opportunity to correct the system and there is none beyond where the blame can be shifted. Though it requires a lot of energy but a strong commitment can fetch the desirable results, which will leave an permanent impression for the generations.

  4. Well said, but is it that somewhere it is a manifestation which we have come to live. We the people of this country prefer this way of living and have a mindset which helps perpetuate this behaviour in public.

  5. Well I am just curious, how is VB Singh or any other person supposed to meet people who are naturally on their fours owing to a deformity? Should he/we also assume the same position? The author has not given a solution in this regard. May be you have read too much of Marx where plebes (tomorrow if i catch flu, will i be considered a prole?)are supposed to be superior to ruling classes. All i can say is, welcome to earth and try to use common sense instead of looking for class theories and hegelian dialectic bunkum under every stone. BTW, do you love Dictatorship of the Proleteriat more than democracy?

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