Vijay Phanshikar :
There is a reason to thank the current lock-down of unprecedented scale. For the first time, some of the common people might have understood what kind of a tough job the cops have on hand monitoring streets and public places round-the-clock and ensuring that there are no willful and senseless violations of the stay-indoors orders. Moving about the city to know the actual condition of the lock-down and how the people conduct themselves, only one emotion wells up from the mind’s depth -- of gratitude to the police force whose members are absolutely relentless in their handling of the difficult situation. There are no appropriate words to express this sense of gratitude towards the cops -- and also towards people in other essential services that includes the medicare brigade whose members, too, are engaged in an almost thankless job since very few actually notice the kind of work they do 24x7.
The unfortunate aspect of our societal persona is that no effort is done to make people realise the kind of silent contribution the members of essential services are making to keeping things on a sensible level. The ‘loose-footer’ feels extremely sorry that the people are yet to develop appropriate sensitivity on such matters. In fact, a tendency also raises its head to show disrespect to the people engaged in essential services. This may be due to an absence of sensitivity training in homes and in schools and colleges where impressionable minds are willing to accept wisdom if delivered properly. It is because of this lacuna in our teaching at home and in schools and colleges that we often come across examples of rude and uncouth and thoughtless behaviour by members of public.
The ‘loose-footer’ has himself seen countless examples of bad behaviour by members of public when the cops stop them on roads to enquire where the people are headed. In many cases, the people behave with respect and awareness that the cops have no personal grudge and are only doing their mandated duty. But one does come across examples of extremely rude behaviour by people. At such moments, the cops have little choice but to come down with a heavy hand, which also is resented by the people. It is a general experience that the cops do not trouble anyone if the person explains his -- or her -- position properly and patiently. Unfortunately, many members of the public do not realise this and come across rather arrogantly. Such an approach invites a terse response from the cops, which is misunderstood as high-handedness. This experience represents a typical observation that some sections of people are yet to attain an appropriate level of maturity.
As the city -- and the nation -- lives through the unprecedented lock-down, it is time all of realised our respective responsibilities and cooperate with the people engaged in essential services in the best possible manner. For, arrogance will not take us anywhere. It will only complicate things without reason. For those who have paused to understand how difficult the task is for people engaged in essential services, this is also a time to say ‘thanks’ in an unreserved manner.