My current obsession is with Marco Polo and his travels. I have been reading about that incredible journey and marvel at all those things that were available in the 13th century, created just on pure (wo)manpower! Marco Polo describes a lot of wondrous things and the one thing that amazed me more than others was the sheer number of people who lived in the empire of Kublai Khan at that time.
Perhaps Marco exaggerates a wee bit but even if we reduce it by one-tenth- his army would still be stupendous! To have a standing army of tens of thousands of men, coordinating their billeting, upkeep, promotions etc is not a small matter. And all this without instant communication! And yet Kublai ruled an empire that extended from Black Sea to East China Sea for more than 30 years.
He did this with a clever system to training his officers and keeping them happy with a good pay and special perks. At the same time, he expected discipline and honour as it was him they were representing and too much of anything – either good or bad – would tip the scales.
What has that got to do with today, you ask me?
India has a population of 1.24 Billion at the last count. And a significant percentage of this population is in the workforce age bracket (sorry, I could not get a correct number on that but the predictions are, it will be 64% of the population by 2020). How do you keep such a huge number of men and women happy and not destroy civilisation as we know it?
We do what Kublai did, employ them. And the biggest employer as in the time of Kublai, is still the Government. Now the Government of India is a mammoth organization and unlike the Mammoths, I wouldn’t mind if it evolved into a leaner, meaner system. But the problem is again, to provide stability a certain number of people have to be employed in any society – you have too many free radicals, you can be sure that it will cause some kind of cancer in the society.
Let us for example, take the visit of our Hono’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Goa. In particular, he visited Panjim and was at a resort near our flat for a few hours. Now, I understand the necessity for security and hence for policing the roads etc .- but 4 policemen per house door all the way from the airport till resort gate?
Some questions that might come to your mind: Is this a show of strength? Where they trying to assure the most powerful man in India (right now) that he is in good hands because there are many hands to redirect traffic?
As I stated, yes we need security to protect our leaders but what is the point in numbers if they themselves do not feel safe in policing with authority and need 5 people around them to lend them credibility? Could three policemen placed strategically not done the job of making sure no one parks along the road? If some one parks, can even 5 policemen move that car? or where they expecting beat up the driver of that car because they will need that many numbers to subdue the delinquent driver?
Whom are they kidding?
Believe me, I have much respect for those men and women in our police force that have worked hard to be where they are and do their jobs diligently. I understand their sacrifices to make us feel safe. I salute their bravery in choosing to be a public servant. But that is such a small percentage!
I am angry at the system though that would employ large numbers but give them no training or the ability to be authoritative. Where is their training to project competence, their sensibility towards citizens they are sworn to protect? Where is the planning to set up road blocks without disturbing normal life?
I understand that you had to block roads, should you not have informed the residents via public announcement that they will not be able to get out or in to their homes? What if some one had to get to a doctor?
Dear Modiji, you seem to be all about revamping India. I have a request of you. Please increase training for our police force. Train them to not just use their position but to think and execute plans. Not to just take orders but to stick to their principles and be authoritative without being punitive.
For that you will have to pick the guys and gals with principles! And pay them well so that they can live on their salary and be proud of it. They can say it is an honest pay and not supplement it with bribes. Make it possible for a public servant to take pride in what they do and do it right.
You can give people jobs to get them off the streets, to keep them from mischief but then don’t give them jobs that require anything more than a shovel.
Not quantity but quality, Mr.Prime Minister! Let us stop using ‘extremely low wage employment’ as the opium of the masses and make employment mean something with a decent paycheck and responsibility!