Monday, January 14, 2008

My association with associations

I haven't been associated with any association for most part of my life. I had no option but to take active role in the association of the residents of my building. Reasons: I was the first one to move in and so had more contexts and an office 5 minutes away from home. So, I became an obvious choice to be one of the office bearers. The association is more of an administrative one to handle receipts from residents and payments to service providers like water supply, security etc., It is no more than a clerical job for the office bearers. Most importantly, the association would never involve in activities like petition to various government bodies or demonstrations or some such things associations are usually known for.

I stayed away from any other associations as I do not believe in collective bargaining. We have so many caste based associations; religion based ones, political party affiliations and social networks to choose from. My strong opinion about such groups is - they are more interested in their rights than in their fulfilling their responsibilities. There is this caste based association run by businessmen of the caste I was born in. Every year they meet and demand reservations for their undeserving caste. Thankfully they haven't managed to find a political leader who would do something about this demand.

The recent association I came across was started by the residents of the area I live in. They had a news item in the local newspaper about traffic changes. I had some reservation about their plan and decided to attend the meeting on Sunday to voice my opinions. The meeting was scheduled to start at 9:30 AM but didn't start till 10:30. Until then, it was some socializing and introductions. When the meeting started it was clear to me that this is another association for collective bargaining and has nothing to do with integrity or reason.

About a month ago, more street lights started showing up near my building. It was clearly in excess of the needs. It is true that we can use some light, but sodium vapour lights at every 50 feet are a bit too much. In the pre-meeting introduction, I came to know that the area association was responsible for getting this done. I thanked the association guys, but I thought it was a bit unfair to have so many lights when the rest of the state is suffering from frequent power cuts. So, here is a clear sign of collective bargaining working to the advantage of the residents and to the disadvantage of the rest of the state.

A few months ago, Chennai traffic police decided to restrict the number of exit points from our area to the main road. The reason was, with more vehicles entering the main road from our area, it was choking one of the important junctions. The association wanted to open up more exit points to the main road. My point was - the residents are responsible for more traffic and their demand is not fair if we do nothing to reduce the traffic from within the society. My view was clearly ignored as it needed some introspection and adjustment, which are difficult.

I can live with opposing views and can understand how democracy works. But I can't be associated with groups exhibiting hypocrisy. So, yesterday's first meeting is probably the last one I attended.

No comments: