Friday, April 27, 2007

Our Honourable Human Traffickers

Diplomatic Status For MPs

Actually, till one (or more) of our honourable members of parliament (MPs) were found running immigration rackets, I did not even know that they carried diplomatic passports.

I reckoned they could breeze through security, customs and what have you (with and without guns depending on the time and ocassion) and generally make everyone's life miserable. No, I don't mean all of them are like that. Obviously there are some very good eggs.

But good or bad, why diplomatic passports ? Specifically, this is how I am affected. I know MPs do not have to get a emigration check not required (ECNR) stamp on their passports. I know I have been running around for some three years to get it done. The lack of which makes me run around even more when I have to visit countries like China, Korea or Dubai. And guess what, a trafficker of humans can sail through where I can't. I am asked for every damn certificate since I was born and nothing seems to work, at least till now.

Tax Paying Citizen !

I point out that I am a tax paying citizen - please check my PAN (Tax Dept) number - but no, we are the ministry of external affairs and that is the ministry of finance. So we don't talk to each other. So because we will not talk to each other, it is your problem to figure out how to prove to us that you pay taxes, have passed a miserable exam and generally, are not a threat to some other country. But are'nt you the same government ? "We don't know." This by the way is not an imaginary exchange but an exasperating encounter with a real, senior official in the MoE.

I must credit our honourable MPs (those discovered so far) with some intelligence. In the scale of value addition, human trafficking must be the most lucrative and rank, in my estimation, above drugs, gold and currency. Maybe the only thing more lucrative would be gun-running. But there are physical constraints to the smooth practice of this activity, as you might imagine.

On The Shilpa Shetty Episode

How quick we are to jump to our countrymen's defense. Particularly when it involves something emotive, argumentative and is addressed with a volley of hurriedly issued statements. And then the matter dies down, the soap opera (quite literally) ends and life goes on.

What did you do dear Minister in your tenure ? Well, my biggest achievement was that I protested the indignation a paid and willing sufferer in a circus had unfortunately to undergo. From whom I ask ? Well, from another performing monkey, but this time from the wild. Well, what do you expect when two different breeds of performing monkeys meet, I ask ? And lets put nationality aside for a moment.

Am I condoning racism ? Obviously not. Am I wondering whether every act of speech anywhere in the world demands immediate response. Yes, I am. Because, I would argue that there are lots of things around that revolt me which you, dear Minister, do nothing about. None of them involve performing artistes in circuses.

But they do involve things, little and big, that I see around me everyday which get me so angry that I wish I could lodge daily protests and get the kind of public attention a television episode can. Obviously, I won't and it can't. I presume you know what I won't or can't. And yet, I must protest because that's the least I can do.

PS: Yes, I have been away for a while. The Shetty rant written when the matter was hot. Obviously, star weddings are what's keeping the nation, or at least the nation's media, busy today. More on that later. I've been travelling a fair bit, including out of the country. I have so much to say that I don't know where to start, nice excuse hah ?

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