Manava Kahe Guman Kare?

Hypocrisy presupposes existence of a fair degree of intelligence. A dunce cannot be a hypocrite and a hypocrite cannot be a dunce. No lizard or hawk would ever profess that stalking other animals stealthily with intent to kill them is a sin, but cunning human beings often profess honesty and saintliness as a cover for their dishonesty. Although it is not true that all intelligent people are hypocrites, but a direct correlation can be established between the dexterity of hypocrites and the degree of their intelligence.  

The bureaucrats, having been selected through open competition, are - saving the ‘honorable’ exceptions – more intelligent, and therefore, many of them indulge in greater hypocrisies than the common man does. And the politicians, who become Netas only after proving their superior intelligence in leading the herd, take the pride of the place among the most dexterous hypocrites.    
An interesting development is being noticed recently. As the 21st. century is advancing, the dishonest and dishonorable acts are being reinterpreted to preclude most of them from the ambit of dishonesty. Earlier, irregular gain of any kind beyond Rs. 50/-  by Babus or Netas (Mantris, lawmakers, etc.) was considered dishonest, but now receiving lacs in parliamentary voting by legislators (cash for voting case) or becoming a crorepati in no time on the pretext of receiving ‘premopahars’ from ‘loving subjects’ (Bahenji’s Income-Tax case) have been declared lawful.

Limits of honesty are being so stretched that dishonesty can be pursued without pinching one's conscience ‘unnecessarily’. What is more ‘encouraging’ is the fact that unlike their predecessors of the bygone days, the rulers of today are now taking lead in establishing new norms and their 'most-obedient-servants' (the bureaucrats) are religiously following their footsteps. Further, the animal kingdom's culture of big fish swallowing the small fish is being adopted by the powerful without any hypocritical pretensions and without any wrinkle on their conscience. 

An incident, whose publicity was suppressed but yet became fairly well known among the bureaucrats, will make the point go home well:

“It was a chilly winter evening and the house-warming party was on its peak in the newly built house of a bureaucrat: from Red Label to Green Label and from Handi-chicken to Caviar- you name a drink or a dish and it was available before you blinked the eye. And why should it not be so? - After all, the house built by the bureaucrat was a palatial one. Everyone was vying with each other to congratulate the bureaucrat - more with intent to please him because of his closeness to the Chief Minister than for the grandeur of the house, which was, in fact, fuelling the fire of envy in the already whiskey-hot hearts of many guests. The guests had not yet left when, in the middle of the night, the bureaucrat's mobile started filling the air with a not-too-timely note of a Bhajan 'Manava Kahe Guman Kare'. For the bureaucrat, who had loaded this song in the phone for creating an impression on the listeners of his being worldly-unattached, the Bhajan was ominous. He pressed the green button with some uncalled for trepidation, but felt relieved when the other party, who was Chief Minister's Private Secretary, told him that the C.M. wanted to see him first thing in the morning. Such calls were not infrequent for this bureaucrat and this one only further inflated his bloated ego. He took no time in letting others know that the call was from C.M.’s residence and the C.M. had called him in the morning. 

Next morning as he entered the C.M.’s drawing room, she smilingly told him, "Congratulations. I have heard about your new house and the grand house-warming party of the previous night.”

And before the bureaucrat could utter ‘Thank you madam.’ she added, “By the way how much the house has cost you?" 

Haltingly the bureaucrat uttered, “Madam, forty lakhs”, because he was in a position to explain the expenditure of forty lakhs only through all his savings and loans. The remaining one crore sixty lakhs had come through what is euphemistically called ooapri kamai.

The smile on the chief minister’s lips would have appeared too endearing to the bureaucrat because he could not suppress his own smile when the eyes of the two met for a moment. But the officer’s smile could last only till he heard the C.M. calling her private secretary and ordering him to hand over a sum of Rs. forty lakhs to the bureaucrat and asking him to hand over the key and papers of the house to the private secretary. The C.M. was magnanimous enough to explain to the officer that her brother, whose workplace was near this house, had immensely liked it. She also added smilingly, “How can a sister disregard her dear brother’s wishes?” 

At that very moment the tune of the officer’s phone ‘Manava Kahe Guman Kare’ started ringing again.


More by :  Mahesh Chandra Dewedy

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