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Tip of the Iceberg

February 22, 2015

Tip of the iceberg

A couple of days back, there was a news item about a person being arrested at the Chennai airport, for trying to smuggle Rs1.35 crores to Singapore. The arrested person was just a carrier. The money was allegedly a part of a huge hawala transaction. The customs came to know about the possible smuggling through a tip off. In fact this is not a one off incident, we keep reading about smuggling of gold, artefacts, drugs and invariably in all these incidents there is a tip off. I always wonder about the ‘tippers’. Who are they? What do they get by tipping off information? Are they disgruntled elements out to seek vengeance on the perpetrators of crime? What drives them to take revenge? Or is it a decoy for a more nefarious criminal activity? The possibilities are endless.

There was prohibition in Andhra Pradesh, when I was working there. But my friends and I got a chance to drink every day, as each one of us managed to get hold of a bottle and we thought that that was the last bottle we might get till Kingdom comes. In effect we were drinking far more frequently than when there was no prohibition. And that too at a premium. Fortunately or unfortunately for me, since I had a traveling job, I was not a frequent attendee of these parties. One of our friends was working for the government. I used to ask him how so much liquor was available in spite of the prohibition. He said that total implementation was impossible given the porous nature of the borders of the adjoining states, where there was no prohibition. There were 5 states bordering Andhra Pradesh (this happened much before the bifurcation of the states)- Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. But the real reason was not that. Liquor mafia was bribing excise officials, those manning the check-posts and other sundry people for an unceasing supply of alcohol into the state. The popular belief was for every nine trucks of goods being smuggled into the state, one would be allowed to be caught, so the authorities can advertise their efficiency and make believe that prohibition was being enforced.

Recently, one Sunday morning around 5.30 am, my sons and I went to the temple nearby. All three of us rode a motor cycle. We noticed that a huge tree had uprooted on a main street and was blocking three-fourths of the road. On our way back, we saw a group of people chopping down the tree to pieces. I was looking at the activity that I failed to notice a police constable standing. He stopped us for riding trebles. There was a traffic sergeant also present. He walked to us and asked us where we were going. I told him that we were going back home after going to the temple. Convinced, seeing the vermillion marks on our foreheads he said, ’I know you people think so lowly about us, as people who are corrupt, but you do not know the amount of work we do. See this Sunday morning, I have to be here and so is this constable. We too have a family. Our work would be that much easier if educated people like you follow the rules. Remember your children learn from you.’ He let us go, but that day, that officer shamed me so much, that I try to follow the rules as much as possible, though I might look like a dumbo to others. Mere laws are not enough, if we do not have the people and mind to enforce, and more importantly people who would want to obey laws. Sadly this great country is degenerating into a land of lawlessness. The only aim, it seems, is to hoodwink law with utter disregard for any moral values.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 22, 2015 17:51

    Once in a while there comes along a person such as this constable, who brings to us a reality check. What one has to do, one has to do, and if that is the right thing, the world is all the better for it 🙂

  2. Venkata Ramana permalink
    February 22, 2015 18:31

    On our part, we should follow all rules as far as possible, because we are living in a society and rules are framed for our benefit.

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