14 November 2011
After the Trident Valley humiliation of seeing Indians radio-tracked by the US authorities and a Chinese ‘shut up’ to an Indian journalist on our soil, we see the news about how our most revered icon of scholarship and a hope of new India, former President Abdul Kalam, was frisked at a US airport and even after he had settled down in Air India’s aircraft, his shoes and jacket were taken away by US Transport Security Agency (TSA) agents to be checked.
Air India officials, meek as they are on a gora land, promptly asked Kalam to give his shoes and the jacket.
It's not just a question of a law abiding Kalam, who, perhaps this time too, will issue a statement that nothing insulting has happened and its OK to be following the law of the aliens when on an alien land.
No sir, this should not be accepted as a polite response to a rowdy behaviuor of a state. And the ‘regrets’ of the US transport police too mean nothing.
US knew who Mr Kalam was.
They track everyone who enters their territory and leaves.
And Kalam is not a an ordinary human being. He is greatness personified and a source of inspiration to many millions and besides he represents the state power and the authority bestowed on him by the billion-plus people's democratic government as a former President.
He is a former president of a democracy, which is greater and bigger than the bullying US.
It's not just a lame excuse but an unpardonable lapse, it at all this comes under that category, that the US showed a carelessness to behave properly and give due respect to our former President.
It's like Bill Clinton visiting us and our CISF jawans frisking him, of course, ‘privately’ and then after he has settled down in his Washington bound aircraft, a sub-inspector of the force climbing up the aircraft and asking him to remove his shoes and the jacket, as the CISF jawan at the private frisking cabin forgot to have these valuables checked as per the required procedure.
Try doing this, at least once.
Because we don’t do it, they don’t understand what it means when they cross the limits of decency and a required protocol to those whom they declare as ‘friends and allies’.
The protests by our government, though it must go to their credit that this time they were prompt and got the US apologies too, but sorry, this is not just enough.
Last time too, when the Trident Valley’s Indian students were radio-tracked, our minister issued this statement: "The Union Minister of External Affairs SM Krishna condemns the act of the US government by issuing students with radio trackers as an unacceptable act and it should be removed. The Indian authorities also conveyed to the US authorities that the students among most of which are victims must be treated fairly and reasonably, and the use of the radio trackers should be removed."
But nothing significant change it brought in the US attitude.
We can understand and appreciate its security concerns and often in Indian media and Parliament, the strictness US authorities show to prevent any other repeat of 9/11 is much praised. But that alacrity and alertness is required to be shown to the strangers and common people.
Will they search Nelson Mandela, another former president, like they searched Kalam, if the US wants us to ‘understand’ their security obligations?
No sir, the issue is not of a Kalam or a Mandela. Have power, get honours, is the mantra for a life with your head held high. Have lollypop governance, get your heroes insulted and frisked, is the harsh reality.