Wednesday, October 19, 2005

HELLO-SNARL-GOODBYE

You'd expect the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) to be an approachable, welcoming body, right? You'd expect it to have people who are benign, learned and kind, right? You'd expect it to be headed by persons who truly believe in an egalitarian society, right? And most of all, you'd expect it to have people willing to listen, right? Wrong.

I called the State Human Rights Commission in Chennai and asked to speak to one of its members - Justice S Thangaraj (former judge of the Madras High Court). When he came on the line, I wished him good afternoon, very politely, and introduced myself. Anyone who doesnt wish you back is strange. And he was. Undeterred I proceeded to ask him the status on a particular complaint and enquired when the investigation would be complete.

But instead of answering my questions, he began to yell at me! He ticked me off for nosing around and said I had no business filing such stories. Also, he made the bizarre allegation that I ought not to be calling him, but coming in person. So, if I was to land up at the SHRC office and find the venerable Justice S Thangaraj out of his seat, thats alright. Afterall, I have no business to try and speak with him on the phone before that!! It took me a moment to understand the ludicrous comment he had just made but when I finally recovered, to defend myself, he hung up on me mid-sentence and didnt pick up that line despite many attempts to call back.

My rationate is very simple - if this is how he treats me, this is probably how he treats people who appear before the Commission with complaints. And people who do are generally very poor, politically voiceless and deeply wronged. Upon such people we have unleashed the likes of Justice S Thangaraj.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Bala (Karthik) said...

Words escape me!

Anonymous said...

Let's hope Justice S Thangaraj is not into blogging. He might choose to ban such open forums. Way to go!

Alaphia said...

Hi Bala,
Words didnt escape me.. he did.

Hi anon - I do indeed hope Justice Thangaraj is a blogger.

jive said...

zuber blog!

VHS said...

Looks like we need another commission to redress the grievances pertaining to the SHRC. On second thoughts, I see a chain of commissions!

Indian Media Notes said...

Do you think every week, television reporters should have a backchat programme where they have their own publicly aired internal chat show about the highs and lows of reportage? That is a way of telling the truth without violating the structure and ennui of a story chase.

Alaphia said...

Hi Jive - Thangs!

VHS - you're right.

India Media - Wouldnt it be fantastic to have such a show! But i remember watching a programme on CNN about how reporters covered war. The concept sounds interesting, doesnt it... but it ended up looking a bit incestuous.

Chennai chatter said...

Never knew police-like people ruled even the SHRC!! For de uninitiated, that statement was supposed to be derogatory.

Hw I wish these pricks read your blogs...Tho am partly angered at wat hpnd, I hope there is some initiative from the media and the influencial ones against these grp of ppl...