Thursday, March 29, 2012

Where Are The Protestors?

I was in India recently. I visited lot of places (Delhi, Gurgaon, Amritsar, Chennai, Mysore, Vellore, Tiruvannamalai, Rameshwaram, and Kanyakumari) and loved them all. I will write about them later. But there were a few things that I disliked in India. I don’t want to give a long list. Here are just 2 examples.

We landed in New Delhi. Got out of the plane. Came down the escalator towards the immigration. Surprised and shocked that there were a few counters for just First and Business class passengers only. I thought what the F is going on.

Giving special privilege for first and business class passengers is a must for the airlines. But Immigration Department is managed by the Government of India. They should treat all passengers equally irrespective of which “class” they travel. Government of India should not give any special privilege to first and business class passengers.

People who have visited USA would know how strict the security procedures are when they board a plane. Remove your belt, remove your shoes, remove your coat, remove your lap top, etc. etc. In some rare case, remove your underwear. (Remember the underwear bomber?) Plus a long line. Last year, the government of US of A opened separate security counters for First and Business class passengers. The public outcry was so loud the government removed those special counters within 24 hours.

India is known for protests, strikes, dharna, hunger strike, and self immolation for any and every cause. I wonder why they don’t protest against this special immigration counters for first and business class passengers.

Let us go to the second issue.

One of my life long ambition was to visit the Wagah Border and see the military ceremony on the Indo-Pakistan border. I did go to the Wagah Border this time and saw the military ceremony. I must admit I was impressed (though the Pakistani side was louder). Here is my beef.

There were 3 seating arrangements on the Indian side. One for the Indian VIPs. Another one for foreigners. Third one is for Indians. Since we had U.S. Passports, we were seated in the “foreigner” section. I got to tell you all that the “foreigner” section was the best seat in the house. Even better than the VIP section. Indians were relegated to a far off place.

Even though I enjoyed the ceremony from the best seat, I felt bad for the Indian citizens. I was about to tell those Indian Border Security Forces guys:

“Hey, Indian citizens are paying your salary and rooting for your welfare. Please give them more advantageous seats than to these foreigners who just don’t care for you”.

If I live in India, I would think of doing a dharna in front of this foreigner section at the Wagah Border.

Before you ask me, I will answer. Yes, I did go through the special immigration counter. Yes, I sat in the foreigner section. Thinking back, I am not proud of myself.

Would love your comments. Thanks.