Sunday, July 7, 2013


Security is Everyone’s Business

When we were in the Navy we were taught that safety and security was everyone’s business. 

If we found anything amiss, anywhere on the ship, we intervened immediately to redress the issue. 

We did not adopt a “chalta hai” lackadaisical attitude nor did we indulge in “jurisdictional” quibbling saying it is not my part of ship so it is none of my business or why should I poke my nose into someone else’s affairs.

On a Ship, Safety and Security was everybody’s business because if there was a lapse we would all “sink” together to the Davy Jones’s Locker at the bottom of the sea.

In today’s environment the same dictum holds true for you and me in the civilian world as well – security is your business, security is my business, security is everyone’s business.

In the distant past, security was the business of the security forces. 

The defence forces were responsible for “external” security and it was the job of the police to maintain internal law and order.

If you lived in a “safe” civilian place you were quite secure and it was the security forces who faced the dangers fighting the adversaries.

Recent events, over the past few years, have shown that this is no longer true and each one of us is vulnerable.

So it is high time each one of us became security conscious because in today’s environment security is everyone’s business.

There are two weak spots (or Achilles’ Heels) that undermine security consciousness:

1. Chalta Hai”  Casual Attitude

2. Corruption


Rules are in place but you don’t bother to follow them because of your “Chalta Hai” Casual Attitude

Let me give you an example.

There is a rule that when you rent out your house you are required to get police verification of antecedents of your tenants and proper registration of the rent deed or lease agreement done in the prescribed manner.

When we insisted that this rule be scrupulously followed in our residential society there was a deluge of protests from the non-resident owners.

These non-resident owners were real estate investors who have purchased flats for renting out.

Now-a-days non-resident “investors” heavily outnumber resident “end-user” owners in most new housing societies, at least in Pune.

They protested that this “unnecessary harassment” of tenants was affecting rental rates in our society.

When we explained to them that this was a mandatory security requirement they scoffed at us saying that we were being “dogmatic” and they scornfully told us that generally no one followed this rule.

Because of such casual attitudes towards security, it is no wonder that it is so easy for undesirable persons to rent a house and find a place to stay from where they can plan and conduct their nefarious activities.

Do you insist on police verification of antecedents of the people you employ at home, in your workplace and in your neighbourhood or residential society?

If you find a suspicious vehicle parked near your house or workplace or you see something irregular, a suspicious new structure or encroachment or an unknown person appearing suddenly, will you report it or will you look the other way saying it is none of your business and it is the job of the police.

Of course, the police are doing their job but haven’t you too got some responsibility towards security.

Remember, God forbid, if something bad happens, it can be you or your near and dear ones who may be casualties.


One of the main reasons why India is considered a “Soft State” and easy target is the rampant corruption prevalent at all levels.

If you pay a bribe anything is possible.

Conversely, if you do not pay a bribe then it is difficult to get things done.

You may have seen news reports of how easy it is for illegal immigrants from foreign countries to obtain various identity documents and residential proof documents like PAN Card, Aadhaar UID Card, Voter ID Card, Ration Card, Driving Licence etc by paying bribes.

It is cruel irony that whereas genuine honest bonafide citizens have to struggle to get these documents made, persons who are not citizens of this country manage to get them by paying bribes. 

Earlier it was a mystery to me as to how foreigners can so easily enter our country and comfortably settle down here and carry on their activities, but now the reason seems to be quite clear – Corruption.

Wherever you are, whatever post you hold, remember that when you take a bribe you may be compromising security.

And each time you give a bribe (as mamool or speed-money) you are establishing a Corrupt Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which can be detrimental to security.

Security Consciousness entails eradication of corruption and unless corruption is contained we cannot become secure and safe.

Security is everyone’s business so we must do our bit to eliminate the two weak spots (or Achilles’ Heels) that undermine security consciousness – let us get rid of our Chalta Hai Casual Attitude towards Security and let us strive to eradicate Corruption.

Like they say, drops make the ocean, and I think in the matter of security too, a bottom-up approach involving everyone may be more effective than the top-down approach being presently adopted.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this book review. 
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