A minister and a Good Samaritan

We have ministers around us who promise pie in the sky the moment they hit the dais and bin it even before they step out of the venue. Ministers are supposed to be at the service of the people. But more often than not, it is the people who have to pay obeisance to them, sometimes with bribes, to get things done.

Politicians are said to have a motive or hidden agenda behind everything they do in public — votes, money, favours, so on and so forth. So it is safe to assume that a sense of morality or service-mindedness has no traction with our ministers. Wrong.

There are still some left in the pack who do full justice to their position.

Karnataka Primary and Secondary Education Minister Kimmane Ratnakar is definitely in the latter category, if the report in a newspaper is genuine. How he and his men pulled a family of six out from the jaws of death may be straight out of a Bollywood script. But to many, he rings a biblical bell. Kimmane reminds me of the Good Samaritan who did everything he could to save a stranger waylaid in the street.

Ratnakar and his escort were travelling from the minister's native town of Thirthahalli to Bangalore some days ago when he noticed a car, which had overtaken him on the way, was sinking in a lake early in the morning.

He, together with the three men who were with him, jumped into the lake and pulled the occupants out of the sinking car and brought them ashore in a derring-do of a high order.
Six members of a family now owe their lives to the minister and the male member said as much expressing his gratitude. Since it was just past dawn, the sinking car and the flailing hands wouldn't have been noticed by anybody.

The minister could have whooshed past the sinking vehicle and saved his energy and a few hours of his time. Remember, if any of the family had drowned, the minister and his men would have to go through the rigmarole of questioning and other procedures.  The minister called for a doctor pronto who gave them the required medicines.  He then arranged a breakfast for the family tuckered out from a life-and-death ordeal.

He also gave them his clothes before driving on to Bangalore.

The minister acted in a similar fashion like the original Good Samaritan who cared for the waylaid man in sync with the traditions of the time. A noticeable difference, however, is that the former did not promise he would defray the cost of medicines they might have to take later as the family could very well afford them.

Minister Ratnakar congratulated his men who, together with him, "made a difference to the lives of the six people in the car".

Mercifully, the real-life story did not mention if he held a press conference to sensitise the people about safe driving or anything connected with his rescue effort, something any top, but run-of-the-mill public official would have done in his place. We have come across a battery of news items where ministers' cars have knocked down pedestrians.

In most cases, the minister involved would see to it that the injured would be taken to hospital and then speed on. If the accident happens in a lonely place would he vroom off as if nothing has happened or would he attend to the victim much like Ratnakar? Considering that a majority of our ministers and panjandrums in various government offices seem to be a touch narcissistic in their attitude and approach we may not get a positive answer.

It's easy to carp at those in authority, but what about pointing the finger at ourselves at times? We sometimes refuse to move an inch to help somebody in distress for whatever reasons. As travellers, we wouldn't take a second look at an accident victim lying on the road and would rather skedaddle from the scene.

In busy railway stations people have no qualms in jumping across somebody lying on the platform waiting for help. They don't seem to have the time even for informing the police about the hapless person.

In an interview given to a channel, the friend of the Delhi rape victim, symbolically called Nirbhaya, said that several motorists passed by even as he had been calling out for help from a thorn patch near the road for quite sometime. Were help reached them in time, perhaps she would have been saved.

The writer is a freelance contributor based in India. All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of Times of Oman.


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