In the saga of IAS officers walking their dog in a sports stadium, there is only one happy ending
It is rare in any controversy involving the powerful to find a completely blameless figure. In the saga of Principal Secretary Sanjeev Khirwar and his wife (also an All India Framework IAS Officer) walking their dog in Delhi’s Thyagraj Stadium after athletes were forced to stop training early to allow the dog a large place, there’s enough blame for everyone – the officers’ sense of entitlement, the wider culture they represent and even the notion of ‘punishment’ assignments in Arunachal Pradesh and in Ladakh. Yet the figure at the center of the narrative is beyond reproach. The dog, after all, did not require world-class sports facilities for his walks.
The bureaucrats’ grief is understandable. Unfortunately, their dog’s public image has also become a victim of outrage. The purebred dog, like so many others in an unequal, status-obsessed society, is a sign of privilege: from the tiny Pomeranian of the early 1990s to the German Shepherd and now Huskies, dogs can be as much a marker of mobility social. than the change from a sedan to a sedan. Perhaps the officers’ Great Dane, as large as that breed is, was meant to serve as a social marker.
Where will the Great Dane go? His fate has been the subject of much concern on social media and beyond. Dogs, like people, are routine creatures and since the officers are heading to different locations, one is sure to be missed. But there is a silver lining. The polluted city is no place for a large animal, with or without a stadium at its disposal. Hills, clean air and space is what a dog needs. In all likelihood, the Dane will not, unlike the bureaucrat, see Ladakh or Arunachal Pradesh as a “punitive post”.