I was stuck in traffic in front of Jahangir Gate on my way to Mohakhali when I was privy to an interesting sight, not too uncommon: a star studded army officer's car was allowed to go through the red light amid heavy traffic on both sides. I am sure many of the readers have seen similar sights, in some cases it was the car of a MP or may be Secretary or some senior official of police. It is rather amusing to see those who are supposed to maintain law and order are the first to breach it with impunity. Now some may say I am making too much fuss about nothing, after all 'high' officials do require special treatments, as Orwell rightly said some people are more equal than others. But then where do we draw the line? Is it only in traffic that VIPs get special treatments or is it also when they are in Airport or some government office or in Hospitals? Are Generals VIPs but not Colonel, Secretaries VIPs but not Deputy Secretaries, current MPs VIPs but not ex-MPs and the list goes on. It is no wonder that with this superabundance of VIPs there is an inflationary pressure and so we need VVIPs!
This VIP culture of taking privileges as an entitlement is so endemic in our culture that in every occasion we look for 'links', the magical family connections to VIPs whom we can call upon, to take a shortcut and bypass the system. We have reached such a stage that we actually take great pride, showing our prowess, when we can bend or break the system. This can be from going the other way in heavy traffic because one has a flag-post in front of the car or bypassing a long queue in the Passport office because a call was made on one's behalf from 'high official'; this pernicious mentality of ours has to change. Next time we see someone taking great pride in breaking the system we should remember it is not that they are superior but on the contrary it probably shows a childish mind seeking attention because of insecurity and lack of self-worth. If the developed world can go by efficiently without all the VIPs running amok, I think it will be a good for our country to emulate them, because VIP culture begets more costly VIP culture.
The writer is a recent graduate of King's College, Cambridge.