Now that the visit of US President Obama to India is being planned in a big way, suddenly the issue of security has come into the discussions. Debates are being conducted to raise the consciousness of the citizens of the country about security. But the moot point is whether the notion of security is at all engaged in our consciousness.
Let me illustrate the relevance with some scenarios that have been observed during the course of recent travels in the vacations to Delhi, Chandigarh and beyond. At the Paharganj side of New Delhi Railway Station, one baggage scanner has been put which scans the passengers’ bags. But it is not the only entry point into the station premises. The railway station is porous from at least more than 20 other points and underlining fact is there is no system of scanning of baggage anywhere in the country side at the railway stations. While traveling by Shatabdi to Chandigarh from Delhi, after the train chugs out of New Delhi Railway Station, policewala pop in the coaches, and put stickers on the luggage of the passengers for having supposedly checked the baggage. Incidentally, such kind of farcical security drill is not to be seen in Amritsar Shatabdi or for that matter in any other train. Besides, if you observe as the train moves in to its destination station, security personnel are the first persons to deboard the train, as if now that the train has reached the station no mishap is going to happen.
The underlining motif from these three incidents is a clear indicator to the amount of seriousness that we give to security related issues. As a matter of fact security still is not a vital cog of the strategic planning at any level whatsoever. Where ever it makes the appearance it is more demonstrative in nature rather than being precise and methodical.
At the hazard of being too pompous one can say that security does not seem to be a part of our psyche at all. But with a nation at war with itself and innocent citizens getting caught in cross fire on a daily basis, it is vitally important to prepare ourselves to ward off untoward incidents. First and foremost is to change the psyche of the citizens. They are generally not inclined to offer themselves for security frisking. Until this notion is changed, whatever technical advancements and other such developments are injected, security would continue to remain farcical.