Like all common people across the country, I should welcome the recent symbolic Government decision to do away with or to ‘ban’ the display and use of beacon lights of any color or type atop the vehicles of dignitaries, albeit with a few exceptions. It has been a status symbol for some who seemed to care , but I am sure there must be a large number of such dignitaries , especially the officer class , who still will have the satisfaction of being entitled to the facility of a Government vehicle for to and fro movement whether locally or for touring purposes. During day time , the beacon seems only a decoration as the Flag fluttering on the bonnet in front , was enough to declare the VIP/VVIP status of the occupant of the vehicle. However, it is during the night that the red beacon- revolving or static- had come handy to have the traffic cleared or sided for easy movement .
Why I call the move symbolic is because of a feeling that not much is going to change. There must be a feeling of relief or joy for some who despite same status in Government hierarchy were not entitled for beacon light as per convention and practice and suffered from some complex and had some frustration .
These things were devised not so much as a status symbol but to ensure that authorities attending to emergencies like natural calamities and disaster requiring immediate action or intervention may not be held up on the way due to rush of traffic. Unfortunately , these had become an instrument to flaunt and flash and for some to throw their weight about , some ‘benefits’ or privileges extending to the family.
This symbolic gesture won’t add up to much if the said VIP/VVIPs usually drunk with perceived sense of power remain insensitive and impervious to public grievances. A man in the street does not grudge these out ward symbols nor is he concerned with the host of other perks and facilities, enjoyed by the dignitaries. All that he wants is an easy access, courteous behaviour , patient hearing and redressal of grievances. As long as the dignitaries remain stiff necked and exhibit arrogance and distance themselves from the common man , the move alone will not amount to much.