Padayatra or Rathyatra?

By Robert Clements. Dated: 9/5/2018 10:48:14 PM

The High Commissioner of India, in Pakistan is soon going to be a very happy man!
Not because Pakistan has accepted Kashmir belongs to India!
Or because new ties and relationships are being forged through Imran Khan!
Nor because peace between the two countries is going to happen!
No!
Because, Pakistan is soon going to extend membership to him of one its most elitist clubs, The Islamabad Club! I read it's been a prickly issue that our ambassador was not given this lofty membership, and now with the new PM coming in, he will soon be allowed to sip tea or whatever else ambassadors sip, within the portals of those exalted walls!
And then I read a judge in South India, has demanded judges throughout the nation be allowed VVIP special lanes at toll plazas! Special lanes, so they don't have to stand in line with the janata, but whizz past, sirens screaming, red lights flashing!
These are officials who have come to serve, but demand to be served in comfort, something like our chariot journeys or rathyatras undertaken by some politicians; the idea being to traverse the length and breadth of India, to feel the pulse of the people, but, "Please understand, we want airconditioned chariots!"
Compare this with Gandhiji on his Padayatra, traversing the whole country on foot, with his Salt March and later his walk against untouchability!
Apart from who had it easier, my question is, who was in touch with the people?
Have you driven in a car with your glass down? Try it, you'll find faces looking in, some smiling, some even asking you questions, because you are accessible. Put your glass up, and you are cocooned in a world like our High Commissioner in his elitist club, or our judges in their fast VVIP lane.
"Your Honour!" says the petitioner in the court, "I would like to file a petition about time wasted at toll nakas!"
"What are you talking about?" asks the judge, "I just whisked through! Case dismissed!"
"Sir!" says a junior diplomat in Pakistan, "The people on the streets want peace with India!"
"But those I met today at the club," says his senior, "live in Switzerland or France most of the time!"
Get off your rathyatras, whether you're a politician, company head, social worker or whatever. We need leaders who have their ear to the ground; listening to the voices of the people, not to advisors who sit with them in their fancy jets, airconditioned offices or luxury chariots.
Be Gandhian, the people are speaking, crying, telling you something, many things. Voices; a billion and more, screaming, weeping! Get off your chariot, move out of the VVIP lane, leave your fancy club and in your padayatra, hear our nation speak..!
--bobsbanter@gmail.com

 

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