The visiting King and Queen of Sweden warmed hearts here as they stood out in stark contrast to Indian VIPs when they travelled with ordinary passengers on Air India’s flight from Stockholm. The royal couple had to be booked on India’s Maharaja after their official aircraft developed a last-minute snag. But King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia took it in their stride and charmed the Air India crew and co-passengers on their flight. Further, on landing in Delhi the king insisted on carrying his own cabin bags. The down-to-earth manner of the royal couple serves as an example for Indian VIPs who are all too accustomed to flaunting – and exploiting – their privileged status.
VIP culture in India abounds at all levels of polity. Take for example the health camp being run at Parliament for MPs and their family members from November 20 to today. The camp is providing health awareness and diagnostic services to the parliamentarians with specialists from top public hospitals such as AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital. This is totally uncalled for as MPs are already covered by the Central Government Health Scheme and can avail medical facilities at top hospitals at highly subsidised rates. Plus, public hospitals in India are already overburdened. To pull away doctors from their regular duty to serve MPs in Parliament exemplifies the VIP mindset.
In June this year, Madhya Pradesh BJP MLA Akash Vijayvargiya was caught on camera assaulting a civic official with a cricket bat while the latter was carrying out a demolition drive in Indore. BJP did not take any disciplinary action against the MLA. All of this contributes to a bloated sense of entitlement among our netas. In that regard, Sweden may be first world but our VIPs live on Mars!
This piece appeared as an editorial opinion in the print edition of The Times of India.