DailyPost 1997

The cancer of entitlement runs so deep in this country that it has become our national psyche. The completely abnormal behavioral patterns from the normative point of view, have become completely acceptable. Entitlement decides the creation of behavioral patterns and its acceptance. The die-hard practitioners of entitlement are never satisfied with their level of entitlement and keep working with the single point agenda to keep increasing it, legally and otherwise. The psyche of entitlement manifests so visibly that job and task comes much later, if it does, in comparison to entitlement. Slowly, entitlement becomes a life pattern, even beyond a way of life, and that becomes the favorite topic of discussion, while you were surreptitiously enjoying it and for a long time, even after you got packed off.

There are jobs and positions that Indians aspire not because of the salary or financial remuneration but more for the legally entitled perks, privileges and above all, the well accepted authoritative influence it carries. The social influence is another great entitlement, which is generally not discussed. The power of not to do what is your legal commitment, is treated as the ultimate form of entitlement, which ”the very lucky” indulge on a regular basis. Not attending a legislative session and not being questioned for that. Or not making your presence felt by active intervention in these sessions. The list of entitlements can go on endlessly, to which this variant of democracy has brought us to.

This is the carrot for which people want to become an elected representative. If you can become a minister, it is even better and higher and higher. Getting respect and credibility without expertise and delivery is another queer variant of entitlement. It goes on the next level, when your family members, even friends and relatives are provided that exalted passage and existence. Bureaucracy has its uncanny ways of expanding its basket of entitlements. The general public is not aware of what the bureaucrat is legally entitled to. Everything he can manage and wield as his own, is his. They have carried the entitlements beyond service. And post service reserved jobs are the super entitlements.

But it is not limited only to these two categories. Normal life Indian psyche abhors! We love to somehow become blue blooded. Knowledge, expertise and delivery enabled entitlements, we are very shy of. The academic and research world has created an ecosystem of entitlements, which they know how to reap efficiently, the outside world being unaware of it. Keeping your field immune to outside influences is a great tool of preserving and propagating entitlement. Self-certification and internal validation with no oversight goes a long way in perpetuating this trend. Leave aside big corporations, the oversized startup founder ego, as we see in the case BharatPe founder fiasco, is another sordid tale of entitlement gone awry. Is the startup funding connection another level of entitlement? Is organic growth unfashionable?

Sanjay Sahay


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