I recently had the ‘privilege‘ of accompanying my cousin to the police station to get his identity verification done for his passport issuance. I am deeply troubled by the attitudes of those employed in government offices. The people who are supposed to get our prime jobs done are so narrow minded that, at times, they do more harm than good, knowingly or unknowingly. I mostly think it is the former! Outlined below is my experience and views on the process.
We got a call at about 10 AM from the police station that we need to be present at the police station at 12pm, with some documents that need to be produced. I understand that the purpose of this procedure is to verify that the passport is issued to an authentic person and that it is not a fraudulent individual. We were present at the police station at 12 noon and were told to wait for a while till the supposed person is to arrive.
A girl in her late teens / early twenties enters the hall with the required set of documents for the same process, and she too is asked to wait like the rest of us. I shall term her as Ms.G for simplicity. She received a call on her phone and was engaged for the next 15-20 minutes. She kept her voice low and made sure that she wasn’t disturbing anyone in the waiting hall. One of the older, pot-bellied staff in the police station, whom I shall term as X, did not like the sight of her speaking over the cellphone in a police station. He rudely asked her to cut the call or asked her to get out and do the talking. This was strike one. Ms.G ended the call she was on and sat waiting there for the verification staff to come in.
A few minutes later, Ms.G got another call, which she received outside the police station. She wound it up in less than 5 min and came back in to the waiting hall, sitting with her legs crossed, one on top of the other. At this moment, a jeep rushed outside the police station, which made X and the other staff in the police station stand up. I also observed that he hurriedly wore his hat, which is a part of his uniform. A few other people who were waiting stood up looking at the others. X observed that Ms.G and I did not stand up in response to his act and shot us a glare. He also gestured Ms.G to uncross her legs. Strike two. A lady sitting comfortably in a government office when an officer walks in is supposedly disrespectful! She was as confused as I was and we didn’t understand what he was trying to say. A lady sub inspector walked in to many people standing up and saluting her. I neither stood up not saluted her as I didn’t find the need to do so. She went into her chamber and was not seen thereafter.
The guy who verified the identities of all these people was a youngster, in his mid 20s. I was pleasantly surprised to find him being extremely courteous and polite to all the people whom he was interacting with. The verification process started at about 1230, and went on for half hour. I noticed that X was shooing away people waiting outside the police station. Where are they supposed to go!!
The waiting area had 3 vacant seats at the time as most people were in the relevant rooms where their respective queries were catered to. Meanwhile, X did not find anyone to bully or boss over for the next few minutes. He glanced at me, and concluded that I must be his next unfortunate victim. He approached me and asked in Kannada if I had any work to be done at the police station. I responded that I had just accompanied my cousin who is getting his identity verification done. He promptly asked me to get out, as I was supposedly crowding up the area and taking up unnecessary space! Strike three.
I was shocked for while about the audacity and rudeness of X. All people present there were seated, and I would have gladly offered my seat to anyone who would have come. It’s not the seat that I am bothered about. X’s attitude and apathy towards fellow humans disturbed me. I got up and left the place giving X a cold stare, not once looking back.
As I stood waiting outside, my mind was seeking answers to many questions –
- Why is apathy shrouded in most government servants? Are they doing us a favour by doing their jobs?
- Why is there not enough respect for women even in today’s times? I cannot understand why making oneself comfortable is a matter of concern.
- Why do these people demand respect, instead of commanding it through their actions?
This incident has left me with serious doubts regarding the senior or older government servants. They need to set examples to the younger generation, and if this is the mentality of the vast majority of the work force, the future doesn’t look bright.
As Christopher Nolan puts it in “Batman Begins”, I would say that “people need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy”. I would suggest that a special commission be set up to monitor the behavior of people in government offices, and their attitudes towards the general public. Their pay needs to be proportional to the quality of their service. It is because these people get their salaries irrespective of them doing or not doing their jobs, that they are so apathetic to others’ needs. The rudeness exhibited by X demands a dismissal from all kinds of service if you ask me! A guy who thinks he is above the general public just because he is wearing the police uniform, which earns their respect , is a disgrace to the whole police community.
I just hope youngsters do not follow in the footsteps of the likes of X…