Today marks an important day in the history of Independent India. Not that this has not been experienced before, it has been a countless number of times; but today we are again reminded of the position a common man holds in nation of billion plus citizens – “Humaari Aukaat”, as put by Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut. After days of one-sided war of words, Air India has been forced to lift ban on MP Ravindra Gaikwad after the Civil Aviation Minister wrote to the Air India management.
On 23 March 2017, while travelling from Pune to Delhi, Ravindra Gaikwad, the Member of Parliament from Osmanabad Lok Sabha constituency of Maharashtra was accused of hitting a 60-year-old Air India employee with his shoe 25 times and attempting to throw him out of the plane.
When Mr Gaikwad’s flight from Pune landed in Delhi, he refused to get off the plane for nearly an hour. The lawmaker was reportedly upset about travelling economy when he has an open business class ticket that he is entitled to as an MP. The morning flight he took was all-economy, but that failed to mollify him, where he allegedly tore the employee’s shirt and broke his spectacles.
This act led all of the Indian Airline companies to impose a No-Fly ban on him.
Mr. Gaikwad had absolutely no remorse over hitting the Air India staff member. Rather he accused Air India as guilty of poor service and that the manager who he thrashed should apologize to him and not the other way around.
If this wasn’t enough, the Shiv Sena launched a scathing attack on Air India for banning their MP. “Who is this Air India? Who is their CMD? Uski aukaat kya hai? (What is his status?)” said Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, addressing the media inside the Parliament. He further threatened that the party will stall operations of Air India in Mumbai and Pune, following which security was increased at these airports.
After about a week, he wrote to Union Minister for Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapati Raju, stating that he regrets the incident, but stopped short of accepting guilt. Instead, he said investigations will reveal the truth as he won’t apologize to the staff or airlines and requested Mr. Raju to lift the restrictions imposed on him by various airlines.
And Air India was today forced to lift ban on the goon MP due to the pressure by Civil Aviation ministry.
The whole process has definitely shown that a common man holds no status – Aaj aukaat pata chal gayi iss desh ke aam nagrik ki.
As for the answer of “aukaat’ jibe, the CMD of Air India, Ashwani Lohani holds four “engineering degree equivalents” in Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Metallurgical Engineering and Electronics & Telecommunication Engineering from Institution of Engineers, India; and has successful run of the ‘Fairy Queen Express’, the world’s oldest working steam locomotive as his achievement. He has also served as DRM, Delhi Division; Director, National Rail Museum; Chief Administrative Officer, Rail Alternate Fuels; Commissioner and Managing Director of Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation and Chairman & Managing Director India Tourism Development Corporation.
On the other hand, our “honourable” MP Mr. Gaikwaad is the same man who tried to force-feed a Muslim caterer during the fasting month of Ramzan. He has various criminal charges against him which include voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servants from duty, criminal intimidation and rioting among others.
But the bigger question that needs to be answered is that, why do we, the common citizens, forget our status?
On every election, citizens like me enthusiastically go out to choose our representatives. We flaunt our inked finger on social media for the representatives, who we feel will stand up for our causes and will help in solving our problems. Many-a-times we forget their corruption scandals, their muscle-game or even their indulgence in anti-social activities, giving them another chance for improvement; but incidents like these remind us that after all, we are common public – with Aukaat only during elections and not otherwise.
If Shiv Sena is to be blamed, why should BJP be spared? Why the party with largest majority in the lower house is is mum on the whole issue? When the same party is in coalition with the accused in the state from where the MP belongs from. But then the Congress has practised the same in the past and regional parties are also living up to the expectation of making VIP culture relevant. And this is not a first incident; neither will it be the last. We stay maintain our calm when staff at Toll Booths is beaten, or when our leaders justify rapes with Ladke hain galtiyaan ho jaati hain remark or when roads are closed for VIP movement.
We always stay in our Aukaat. If our leaders could also stay in their limits, will these incidents ever happen?
But we see it and then forget it. We never question. Because,
We, are the People of India!