‘Meow,’ my Siamese cat Jill made her presence felt. She was angry. Jack, my Great Dane, sat up and took notice. He looked at Jill with a question mark on his face.
“Very short tempered” Jack remarked. “Just a very small cause is good enough for her to blow up.”
“She must have read something in the newspapers today. The newspapers are a great source of hypertension. We should stop reading the news.” I said. “What’s it, Jill?”
“It’s about non-teaching staff of Junior Colleges in Mumbai. They have ‘boycotted’ the examinations. So poor students can’t appear for some examinations – and all arrangements are in a mess.” Jill said. “Very irresponsible! Why do they play with lives of young boys and girls?”
“Yes, yes” Jack readily agreed. “But did you notice that some colleges were not affected at all. The union leaders must not have been active there.”
“Jack, you are right, but did you notice the reason why those colleges were unaffected?” I asked and continued, “Those colleges did not have any problem where non-teaching staff was employed on ‘contract.’ This is why we as employers prefer contract system.”
“That is very clever of you. All this is happening because the demands of the non-teaching staff are not settled quickly. Keep a problem simmering and then complain about its ill-effects! That’s not done.” Jack said.
“Sorry, I don’t agree. You can’t do certain things even by way of protest, no matter how grave the provocation is. These protesters should be packed off under MISA. Do it a few times and things will improve.” Jill came down very hard on the protesters. “People stop trains, hospital staff goes on strike while patients die, and there is ever present ‘Rasta-Roko’ somewhere! Some discipline is essential. The police must crack a whip and all will be well.”
“I tend to agree with Jill. Look, Jack, it has become fashionable to put blame at the door of management.” I said. “Indeed the Education authorities are inefficient and have not managed things well. But people must see reason. They should be aware of the consequences of their actions.”
“Nani Palkhiwala said that people must show ‘obedience to the unenforceable.’ You can’t enforce a code of conduct. You can enforce only a written rule, but not the spirit behind it.” Jack said.
“Oh, you are at it again Jack. Moral statements like ‘obedience to the unenforceable.’ What the great lawyer did not tell you is that the weak invents morality to restrain the strong. First crack a whip, drive some sense in the heads of wrong-doers and then speak those high sounding statements. They will sell then!” Jill shot back as she stood up and jumped on the center table.