Friday, May 25, 2012

AAM AADMI and KHAAS AADMI - आम आदमी और ख़ास आदमी -

आम आदमी और ख़ास आदमी 

There are two types of citizens – the aam aadmi and the khaas aadmi.

How do you find out who is an aam aadmi and who is a khaas aadmi?

It is simple. Take the recent example of petrol price rise. If you are affected by the petrol price rise then you are an aam aadmi. If you are not affected by the petrol price rise, or for that matter a diesel price rise or any price rise, then you are a khaas aadmi.

The aam aadmi pays taxes. The khaas aadmi freeloads on those taxes.

The khaas aadmi enjoys the privilege of freeloading on the aam aadmi.

Remember, it is not the middle class alone who pays taxes. Do not think that those who pay income tax are the only ones who are being taxed. Even the poorest of the poor pays taxes because you have to pay all types of taxes (central, state, excise, duties, sales tax , service tax, cess, VAT, octroi) – yes, you are taxed for anything you buy or use, even items of daily living.

A portion these taxes paid by the TAXPAYERS are used to finance the opulent lifestyles of the FREELOADERS.

Since the fuel price rise is the topic of the day, let me give some examples of freeloaders in this context.

I remember a few years ago when petrol and diesel prices were raised, a friend of mine was unperturbed. He said that he couldn’t be bothered about fuel prices since he had an official car at this disposal. Of course, official cars are meant for official duties only, but then you know what goes on and how these vehicles are misused for personal and family use. In fact, I know of another guy who sold off his personal car the moment he was promoted and he proudly stated that since he would be entitled to an official car till the end of his service career he won’t need a personal car till he retired.

A vehicle is only one thing – you will be amazed at the number of things provided free or at subsidized rates to these freeloaders. Some smart freeloaders manage to continue enjoying largesse even after retirement. Some never retire.

Before Independence, the British were the rulers and we were the ruled. The British may have gone away long back but the “Raj” continues to flourish – only now there are new sets of rulers and, despite the so-called modernisation and liberalisation, the “feudal” structure continues to burgeon. In this set-up, the aam aadmi is taxed in order to finance the khaas aadmi. In fact the numbers and types of freeloaders have proliferated at an amazing rate and their “on-the-house” lifestyles have become even more lavish and profligate.

And don’t think that freeloaders exist only in the political class and bureaucracy. If you look at the corporate sector you will be amazed to see the fantastic compensation packages and mind-boggling “on-the-house” perks and facilities given to some of the top management.

You will be even more surprised when you see this happening even in those companies which are making losses and, maybe, even are on the verge of bankruptcy.  Some types of industries “freeload” too as they have been given huge tax exemptions and concessions and the common taxpayer has to bear the burden.

Freeloading has become a way of life, a part of our culture – each and everyone wants to freeload and, given an opportunity, everyone tries to freeload. There are many who think that once they have attained a certain position it becomes their birthright to freeload. It is mind-blowing how the sheer numbers and types of freeloaders are increasing and snowballing at an alarming rate. India is a poor country and can ill-afford such profligacy and extravagance by these freeloaders.

I once told a freeloader colleague: “If you consume something, someone has to pay for it. There is no free lunch. So if you have a meal – either you pay for it or someone else has to pay for it.”

In the same way, what the khaas aadmi or freeloaders “consume”, the hapless aam aadmi or taxpayer has to pay for. Has anyone computed the CTC (“cost to company”) being incurred on these freeloaders?

I think one of the ways to resuscitate the economy is to eliminate freeloading and inculcate a sense of thrift and frugality and enforce financial prudence in the powers-that-be. This has got to start from the top since it is best to lead by example. Yes, good leadership implements a top-down approach for change management.

Can we hope to see the crème-de-la-crème freeloaders eschew freeloading and start walking or cycling down to office or travelling by public transport. Can we hope to see the powers-that-be reduce their perks and privileges and learn to more parsimonious and financially honest. Will they pay for what they consume? Will they adopt a High Thinking and Simple Living lifestyle? Will they follow the example set by some of our earlier leaders, freedom fighters who gave up everything for the nation. Will they search their conscience and keep national interest above self interest?

But tell me, why should the freeloaders bother? Things like price rise and corruption will not be important issues during elections as long as we cast our votes based on factors like caste, religion, community and as “vote banks”. So in the end it is we, the aam aadmi, who have only ourselves to blame for the proliferation and extravagance of the khaas aadmi, the thriving freeloaders who will continue to flourish at the aam aadmi’s expense and all we can do is endure in silence and watch on helplessly. 

Whether you are a आम आदमी (aam aadmi) or a ख़ास आदमी (khaas aadmi) - please comment and let us know your views.


indu chhibber said...

You have written an excellent post on what i too have been musing about since a few weeks...i have never put my foot outside India, but i HAVE made foreign trips in a way,since i pay for those who can spend more than 200 crores on foreign jaunts-where does that money come from?...who pays for the free telephone & fuel bills of these freeloaders? & i.
You have asked many important questions in the second-last para-i feel like shouting the answer-NEVER!

Vikram Waman Karve said...

Thanks Indu, I am happy you feel the same way too