A Controversy Unwarranted over a Security Guard tying Minister's shoelaces
By Amba Charan Vashishth
A report, with photograph, in the national media published on May 26 took exception to a security guard tying the shoelaces of a TMC minister in West Bengal. There seems hardly anything to raise an alarm on this petty matter. It does not make a person like me feel offended. We need not forget that we are Indians and to show respect and extending a helping hand to our seniors and superiors is an important part of India's ethos.
A person continues to remain a human being with his social and moral obligations in tact even if he dons a uniform or holds a public office. It should not mean an offence to anybody if a police or military officer in uniform touches the feet of his father (or any other elder relation) who may just be a petty clerk or peon. Out of respect one can even polish other's shoes but not under the force of authority. We must always remember that respect is earned and can never be forced upon. As long as such acts are voluntary and not forced, there can hardly be any occasion for raising eyebrows.
It is a common happening in our private organizations where even executives and senior officers are made to fetch a glass of water for their superiors. They even spread lunch on table for their bosses. This is not a part of their duty. Yet they do it because of the fear and pain of the "hire and fire" in vogue there. Strangely, the media shuts its eyes on what goes on there and cries aghast only when it takes place in public offices.
I am in my seventies. Every other day I come across young men and women at railway stations and bus stands offering to help me with carrying my bag(s). At times persons occupying the adjoining seats start talking and discuss some points. When they take leave of me, occasionally some of them bow before me and some even touch my feet. I met them for the first time and, perhaps, the last one too. I have not been face to face with them again since then. Their show of respect has been spontaneous and can never be forced. This spirit has been ignited in them by a healthy grooming into Indian traditions that make them good Indians. After all, who I am to force it on them? At the same time it is also a fact that the tribe of such men and women is fast shrinking. Yet, it is they who have kept the flag of Bharatiyata high. I salute them reverently. ***