Do you know who I am?
There's a well-known story of a passenger in queue for South West Airlines, the world's largest low-cost airline. He pushes his way to the front and when the woman at the counter says she cannot serve him because he jumped the line, he bellows, menacingly, "Do you know who I am? "The airline attendant, unruffled, calls out to the other passengers, "Does anybody know who this gentleman is? He says he doesn't know who he is. "
This urge to throw one's weight around and drop names, to seek special privileges, then flaunt those privileges to show others how ordinary they are, to jump red lights in red - beaconed cars -all this has been standard practice in India for too long.
Not just MPs, but judges, famous Supreme Court lawyers, media honchos, celebrity God-men who preach spirituality and simplicity are guilty of strutting in VIP mode at airports, greatly inconveniencing other passengers. Even I am guilty of it. And I've seen airline CEOs doing the same, ignoring the rights of the passengers who are their customers.
But I think what is raising everyone's hackles is the attempt to give legitimacy to this shameful culture by issue of a government directive through the aviation regulator. Issuing a notification ordering airlines and airports to treat MPs with special privileges and perks is inherently flawed and illegal, but what surprises every one is the insensitivity and a special kind of disconnect with the mood of the nation and reality.
The Supreme Court has been coming down hard on the special treatment politicians have been pampered with for years. And the rising anger of the population against the arrogance of elected representatives was made clear in the Delhi election.
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh has said private airlines will not be asked to bestow new favours upon MPs. But the fact that MPs themselves want more of the Maharajah treatment- this is the worrying evidence of too little being learnt from AAP. more
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