As I pen down this article it brings to my mind a conversation that I had with some colleagues, several years ago in the library of the school where I taught. There were three of us, Sunny from Kerala and Sharma from UP. I had just told them that a close college friend of mine got elected as an MP in Goa. At this Sunny said “that's good news for you, now you can get anything done with his help”. I remarked “I don't think I shall use his acquaintance unnecessarily, though I know him well”. He continued “In Kerala to be elected as MLA is like winning a huge lottery prize, being elected an MP is like striking gold and if one becomes a minister he is just like a royal with everything found. Family members and friends can derive huge favours and benefits when you have an MLA, MP or a Minister as an acquaintance on your side. Sharma, who until now was only a listener, interjected. “Now listen to my story, you don't always have benefits when one of your college mates get elected as an MLA and becomes a minister. Very often you can also be victimised for various reasons”.
He then continued to relate the story of his father who had an excellent academic career and had qualified as a Civil Engineer and employed as Executive Engineer (EE) in PWD, in Lucknow.
Everything was going fine to him and his family until some unexpected event happened. One of his college mates who was an average student, had dropped out and had joined politics. Later he contested in the election and won. Then he was made a cabinet minister and given the PWD portfolio on account of his civil engineering background.
When the minister learnt Sharma was the EE, he summoned him and without remorse said. “you must be aware that I am now a minister with PWD portfolio. I and my party have spent a fortune to get elected and we must get our money back and fast. When any file from my office is marked to you, I expect you to not raise undue queries or put remarks that adversely affect the smooth passing of the projects”. His father was shocked and was short of words to react.
In the beginning Sharma was somehow able to cope with smaller illegalities and pass the files from the contractors. But as time passed the demands were growing in size putting huge pressure on his father as he found, that he was being forced to act immorally, unethically and illegally. So he refused to oblige. This annoyed the minister and as a revenge he got Sharma transferred to a remote location hundreds of kms from Lucknow. He even made a representation to the CE of PWD explaining his situation, however it was of no avail.
Unable to manage the tough conditions, he resigned from the post of EE, after 15 years of service.
The excessive and unchecked position of power they enjoy and to what extent they can go to the achieve anything and everything they set their sights on is beyond one's comprehension.
The stark reality is that our civil society is surrounded by an envelope of a complex system of politics, that has touched all aspect of human activities. Apparently with passing of time, being a politician is most likely to be a family occupation.