An open letter to the Transport Commissioner

Touts stopping non-KA registered vehicles opposite Kadugodi police station on June 8th 2015. Pic: Karthikeyan

Dear Sir,

I am torn.

All through my life, I was the lone person in my circle of friends who had faith in the government. I was the only one who staunchly defended the government. I was the only one who said that governments don’t lie. I was ridiculed. I was chided. I was considered odd. Yet, I soldiered on.

Then something happened. Some of my friends pointed out to me that the RTO, Karnataka was clamping down upon out-of-state cars. They said that the RTO was even employing touts to stop cars. These touts were jumping in front of cars to stop them. I laughed in their face. It was impossible. Not only is it an outlandish notion that government will employ the services of a private party for collections, it is actually perverse to assume that government would put people’s lives in danger.

I pointed out to my friends that we don’t just have a Transport Commissioner, we have a Commissioner for Transport and Road Safety. A Commissioner for Transport and Road Safety would never ask people to jump in front of cars to stop them. The danger to life and limb is apparent to anyone with half a brain.

My faith in you was restored when you issued a statement that touts were not employed by the RTO. I scanned the news article and emailed it to all my friends. I even put it up on my Facebook wall. None of my friends responded. In their silence was the ultimate vindication of my stand – that governments work for the people, that no government puts people’s lives in danger, that people decide what governments do, and not the other way round.

This morning my inbox was flooded. I never had these many unread mails, not even when I got married and people sent in their congratulations. My Facebook wall was full of posts. I am not a popular sort of person. So to me, that was strange. What was even stranger was that each email and each Facebook post talked of only one thing – the news story that not just refuted your statement of employing touts, it shred it to bits. The news story carried a picture, of a gentleman in plain clothes, directing cars to RTO officers who were parked safely on the side of the road.

As I write this letter to you, I am in disbelief. I am in shock. I am a person whose life’s belief in the government has been shattered. All these years of reposing faith in the government, all these years of paying taxes diligently so that the government has enough money to pay salaries, all these years of defending the government – all these years seem to have been for nought.

Today, when I hear someone say that Karnataka is not a State of in the Union of India, but a country unto itself, I don’t have a response. Today when I hear someone say that they live in Republic of Karnataka, only for another person to quip that a more accurate description would be United States of Karnataka, I cower and hide myself in a corner.

Like I said, I am torn.

Regards,

Someone whose taxes pay your salary. 

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