The Heavy Hand of Government
I returned to
Despite our independent status, the past 12 years have not been free of attempts by government officials to extract money from us. We have faced difficulties as a result of the political ideology of a past government that targeted any organization that was deemed to be “Christian.” Arrogance of power on the part of officials had once forced us to seek court protection to prevent damage being inflicted by the government on physical infrastructure (the sub-collector ordered digging up an access road we had improved at our own expense with local panchyat permission but without state permit). I have written extensively about this and other instances in my book,
Political and bureaucratic machineries in
Just last month our
On the surface it sounds a justifiable demand on the part of the State. Past surveys have not been accurate and it is essential that the government is now able to collect correct data (though one has to wonder about the validity or relevance of the data being asked for). But if this goal is all that matters, I suppose that principals of schools will be spending time only filling forms submitted by the numerous agencies of the government. Failure to appear in person could result in summons, fines and even harassment. I wonder whether CEOs of private companies are also expected to appear in person at the offices of labor, environment, water, electricity and other departments of governments.
When a government department exercises its powers arrogantly, one can be certain that its top management does not value or respect others. Such officials have no place in leadership positions. The strength of a democracy lies in fair and just laws and regulations applied equally and correctly for everyone. Private individuals and institutions must be able to seek protection from unjust acts of governments, and obtain redress. Until such time this balance between the responsibilities of the State and the rights of individuals is brought about, the country will not be able to create a just society and accomplish its full potential.