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.


  1. To All Readers:

    Unfortunately, I pressed the wrong button. And, all comments for this post and many other comments (for other posts) have been deleted.

    I am sorry.

  2. I did not know about this Wagah Border discrimination in seating. So unfair.
    On another note, I do hope you enjoyed your India trip. And from the list I see you have visited some very nice places. When will we get to read your travel adventures :)

  3. Right to get irritated with these issue. I too would feel the same.
    WE are forever bowing (stooping) for the rich and mighty. We cannot do otherwise!

  4. well written
    lets hope one day in India everyone will get same treatment.

  5. london's Heathrow airport has the exact same thing...separate counters for first and business. in fact they have separate security check lines for first and business as well. how do you feel about that?

  6. You know, its imbibed in the Indians. They tend to stoop, discriminate and then they talk about social equity. Paradoxical!

    I didn't know about special arrangements on Wagah Border. When I went, there was so much rush, and the gallery got filled up so quickly that we could not even stand properly.

    I hope you had a great trip in India. There's no place like India afterall.

  7. Hi, I was checking for any new posts:-)
    Kinldy have a look at my blog page and offer your comments , if you have the time.

  8. A relevant post, well written... And this is really sad, the way we give foreigners (read: westerners) even more importance than ourselves. How can we EVER expect others to respect us if we give ourselves such little respect in the first place? Not good.

  9. Hi SG....

    Happy you are back, blog more please :)
    About Indians!! We still live in era of British Rule. To look at things practically, there is hardly anything that has changed since then, social markers, policies in education, syllabus....!!

    Need more space to talk, and it will become a rant!


  10. For the ceremony..dont we give the guests firs preference?

  11. Thanks for your comments Renu. I disagree with you. Indian citizens pay the Indian Army's salary and pray for their well being. They should be given first preferance.

    Guests first preferance? If so, then why they charge Rs,750 for foreigners and Rs.20 for Indians to visit Taj Mahal.

    I like your point of view but not at the cost of Indians.

  12. Please enable comment moderation or something so that anonymous spam is filtered out.

    Phew, I think you have a record of getting spam!

  13. Thanks Anupama. Will do that.

  14. It is so interesting to note the kind of treatment we get in our own country itself... weird huh!