INDIA: ROAD TRAVEL AND TRAFFIC SAFETY LAWS: A JOKE
This article will portray the day to day life of Indians with respect to travelling on roads, negligence about following traffic safety laws and ignorance about such laws among common masses. It will also delineate the worst part of people’s non-serious behavior about their own safety while travelling on roads.
Now let’s have a broad look at traffic, road safety laws and people’s mentality and perception to look at it in India:
In India not only common people who come in the category of ignorant, impatient, naive, uneducated are seen breaking road safety laws but some highly educated professionals also seen breaking it being totally sane and smart. Actually very few people pay more attention when it comes to follow road safety laws. Everybody is in his own world. Everyone wants to reach to his destination as early as possible ignoring safety laws. -JUST HURRY UP- is the most commonly uttered sentence while travelling, riding and driving by masses. Unfortunately they can’t even have little patience to wait till the red signal turns green. They are always in a hurry. Businessmen are the ones who act differently while driving when they see the red signal. Their hearts start beating very fast feeling anxious and impatient as they will have to wait for a minute or so, till the red signal turns green. Young riders on the roads feel they are the Kings of India compared to other people especially those in expensive cars (that means people who are rich and possess the most expensive cars). It is usually observed that if there are 3 expensive cars along with one motor bike running on the road in the afternoon, a rider would think unconsciously that he has participated in a racing game and then he would try to overtake all the cars which are ahead of his racing bike. Laughable but true. Why do riders become so competitive when they see the cars of rich people is truly a mystery which is not yet been solved by anyone? Something suddenly happens when they see the cars overtaking their bikes. An unconscious hidden desire of competition of speeding bikes automatically enters in them and sometimes results in severe accidents or permanent injury or death. Very sad and true picture of India. Man is a social animal and hence even on the road he feels like proving himself great to people he doesn’t know (strangers) by speeding his motor bike to the highest speed. Why would he wish to prove to strangers who he can never meet in his life again? Well nobody knows. One can only assume the reason behind their racing attitude which compels them to take such step and that is youth who can’t afford to buy a car due to poor financial condition suffer from a great inferiority complex and in order to prove the rich car drivers that they are also something in the world, they act stupidly. Riders increase the speed of their motor bikes ignoring their own safety. Some car drivers perfectly know about youth’s sick mentality and racing instinct, hence they ignore such riders by not falling prey to their racing competitive attitude. Some strange things are also noticed in India about some people who purchase new cars or owners of expensive cars and that is while driving on the road for the first time after its arrival, these car owners look at people (strangers) about how many people including the ones who are in less expensive cars or riders stare at their cars curiously? Seeing common people wondering about their newly purchase unique cars they get some kind of satisfaction and a feeling of happiness which make them say one sentence in their mind -Yes, I am different and today I have proved myself.- One good thing is people can remain in the state of happiness though temporarily for any reason. After all, happiness or a feeling of happiness is important in everyone’s life.
In India, it has been observed since decades that a person who follows safety laws genuinely becomes an idiot in the eyes of those who don’t. A person who doesn’t follow safety laws becomes the King for himself and everyone. Indian road safety laws work in this way. Riders especially youngsters who are already breaking the law for not wearing helmets break the signal since bikes could be ridden faster only in order to avoid traffic police and fine. And it is commonly observed on roads that whenever a traffic policeman catches a rider for not wearing a helmet and busy in collecting a fine, other people take advantage of this situation instantly as they being opportunists break the signal driving their cars at the fastest speed. A few people who are also not wearing helmets ride their bikes at the fastest speed in order to escape traffic policeman since they see him engaged with some other law breaker. This scenario of breaking signals without getting caught is commonly observed in India.
Many people are seen to wear helmets and seat belts forcibly against their wish only in order to avoid fine giving least importance to their safety. Many who drive and ride wait for the green signal as if by doing so they do a favor to traffic police and pedestrians. Talking on cell phones while riding and driving is also observed among people forgetting the fact that they are on roads and can injure themselves or someone forgetting their own self in talking.
A person while driving a car overtakes maximum vehicles is always praised by those who accompany him and this boosts his ego, his desire to overtake confidently many more vehicles which can result in serious accidents. Some are also known to praise someone who can overtake confidently several times. People usually jump up in their own way sitting in car when they see their car overtaking maximum number of vehicles on the road. Truly interesting scenario in India this is. A feeling of high enters in such people.
If one notices the above scenario correctly, one may find that most people don’t really care about road safety laws, traffic police or any restrictions about wearing seat belts, helmets for their own safety. It is seen people take pride in breaking such laws. Local politicians along with their arrogant sons and co-workers are also seen breaking the signals. Some sons of prominent politicians think that they are on top of the world. They also think that they can do anything, anywhere, anytime and no one will ever dare to take any action against them if they break road safety laws. They think that they won’t be fined by traffic police and if they still fine or take action against them then they will have to face the consequences of their action as they could be transferred to some other city or village for catching the wealthiest son (law breaker) of some renowned politician.
Please look at the following incidence: – One day an honest traffic policeman catches the son of a renowned and wealthy politician from a city for breaking the signal. The traffic policeman asks his driving license but he refuses to give since he doesn’t have it. He requests the law breaker courteously to pay the fine but even that he refuses. He also refuses to come out of his expensive car. The traffic policeman warns him to talk to him with respect but the egoist son ignores him totally. Seeing his arrogance, the traffic policeman promptly calls the police and hands the law breaker over to him. The policeman takes him to the police station and puts him in jail. The arrogant son threatens the policeman in his own style. Despite his threats, policeman decides to take action against him. He gets the courage from inside which gives him a positive energy to take proper action. He doesn’t let the law breaker to make a phone call either to his lawyer or any of his family members. He stays at the police station overnight, and the next day he allows the law breaker to contact his lawyer and finally the egoist son is released. Such incidences happen many times in India. People still feel that there isn’t any need to follow road safety laws. Many times signals of main roads stop working for a few days due to some technical problem and then the scenario of cars, bikes, trucks, tempos and jeeps going anyhow changes drastically ignoring pedestrians who want to cross the road. People just want reasons not to follow road safety laws. People usually respond in such situation in a funny way as they utter some sentences such as -Oh, what can we do? Signals are not working here. And it is not our fault.- Courtesy to stop vehicle just to help old people, women and children crossing the road has become very rare in India. A common lawbreaker often gets a feeling of high when he sees the signals are not working and in this situation many times he talks to himself -Thank God! These irritating signals are not working today. Oh God, finally you listened to me. I am truly very happy.- This clearly shows that humanity aspect among common masses is becoming rare. People who genuinely follow all safety laws feel that they are being stupid and idiots since all others who are their friends, relatives or friend’s friend seem to break them conveniently without any fear or guilt. Such people often feel that they are committing some kind of crime by following the rules and regulations. They also get the feeling of helplessness only because of their genuine and sincere behavior. Usually people in the absence of traffic police are seen to break signals frequently and go ahead casually without caring for pedestrians who want to cross the road at a zebra crossing.
Zebra crossing is another topic to be discussed in India as horizontal white stripes stay only for a few days or a month after it is painted on any road in India with a very few exceptions. White stripes when painted newly look great and people also feel good from within but as it fades in color just in a month, people’s enthusiasm to use it to cross the road through it fades away. Authorities proudly and lazily neglect such fading lines by not painting it time to time for people’s convenience. This is what India is and everything works in a slow manner according to wishes of some people who have the power to make the country beautiful, tidy and presentable. Nobody cares for common people. This authority taking common people for granted is also common in India. The quality of color used for painting white stripes is so fragile that if a pedestrian accidently pours a glass of water on it, it will start losing its color. -Temporary Zebra crossing- board must be there near every signal so that people will get used to it without any complaints.
One funny conversation between a safety law breaker and follower of safety laws is given below which depicts the mentality of common people in India: Two friends Suraj Sawant and Manish Karpe are studying in the second year of B.Com in K.T. College, Mumbai. One day they just happen to discuss road safety laws of India. Suraj tells Manish about one incidence when he escapes from a traffic policeman for breaking the signal. He is also giving him some hints and suggestions about how not to get caught. Suraj assumes himself as one of the best riders in Mumbai.
Please read the following:-
Suraj to Manish -You are so stupid Manish. I thought you were bright to handle such things. Learn from me how to break the rules without getting caught.-
Manish -But what can I do? I am not as strong as you. You are simply great. I feel so proud that you are my friend. Last time you didn’t wear a helmet, still you were not caught by Mamu.- In India, Maharashtra, India traffic policeman is also called Mamu or Mamaa or Kaka (Uncle) by common people. -Please teach me how to escape from Mamu.-
Suraj -Oh, you are such an innocent and fearful person. What are you so scared of? After all it is our life. And if you don’t wish to wear the helmet then who are they to tell you? I don’t think wearing helmets will save our lives. You know when god has to take us up he will take us anyway. What is this helmet bullshit? I simply can’t control my laughter thinking about these rules. If no one is crossing the road then why can’t we just ride coolly? Why wait till the red turns green? Don’t you think it is stupid to wait when we have so many important things to do? You know, I usually ride faster when I see Mamu and if at all I get caught I tell him that I am a relative of S. L. Mhatre. He is the Corporator of our area. Hearing his name Mamu releases me quickly.-
-I never knew Mhatre Sahib (boss) was related to you.-
-Ha Ha! See you also believed me. Oh Manish, I just lie to Mamu in order to avoid fine. And you know if you speak proudly, confidently and fearlessly, it becomes difficult for Mamu to doubt. Understood my friend?-
-Oh, you are truly great. Please teach me all this. I follow all the rules. I wear helmet, I stop when I see the red signal and I always carry my license.-
-Oh, Manish, you don’t have to follow so many things. I never pay any attention to such things. You know one of the reasons why I hate following rules because I see only we follow all the rules but see those rich people, some Bollywood celebrities and our politicians. Have you seen them following such things? They can do anything and we can do nothing. I want to change this. If you remember years ago one popular Bollywood actor injured a few poor people on the footpath of Mumbai at midnight when they were asleep. One of them lost his life. You see the case is still going on. He is still into movies. Did he get punish? Look at him. He is earning in millions. Manish, they have money, power and people’s support. Who can punish them? And if they can get away so easily then why can’t we? At least we are not killing anyone in drunken state. We are just breaking the signals and trying not to wear helmets or seat belts. That’s it. Got my point?-
-Yes. You are right. I never thought about this. Thanks for telling me all this. Henceforth, I will try not to follow the rules like you.-
Manish touches Suraj’s feet as a sign of showing respect and for guiding him about how not to follow road safety laws.
From the above conversation one can conclude that Indian common people are not really serious about their own safety. Rules are easily and conveniently broken in India. Youngsters are doing what they want to do. Businessmen are doing what they feel like. Some Bollywood actors and people from elite class are also behaving in the same fashion. A person who breaks the signal may not be the King at home but on roads he thinks he is. At least he assumes so. He talks to himself while driving or riding rather sings a song made up of his own mind -I am the King. I can do anything I want to. Why should I follow the rules? Who are they to tell me? Oh, how was it? I could easily get away this time from traffic police.- All these sentences he speaks in his mind and he becomes truly boastful about his own courage when he breaks almost all road safety laws.
In India, one can see that any vehicle is coming from anywhere with no sense of responsibility towards other human being. In major cities one can observe people are driving and riding their vehicles even into -No parking zone.- Many riders are also seen coming from wrong side of the road. And despite all this, they are ignored by traffic police. Compared to all developed countries of the world, India could be counted as one of the careless countries as far as safety laws are concerned.
In India, human life is given negligible value due to overpopulation and lack of right teaching about humanity in family. Seeing the scenario between the law breakers and traffic police, any sophisticated and genuine person who follows all the rules might feel that the laws are applicable only for common people and not for those who are politically and financially strong and hence may not bother to follow it. They will have total liberty to break it as per their wish and won’t have to pay fine or get punished.
Isn’t it remarkable on part of traffic police who are doing a great job in tackling not only the uneducated masses but also the professionals along with elite class? Traffic police in India stand in the sun, rains and winter in high pollution risking their lives. Very few of them have been supplied with face masks in order to protect from high- polluting vehicles causing serious health problems in almost all the major cities of India. Managing the impatient masses for breaking almost all kinds of road safety laws is truly not an easy task. Nobody has ever asked them about how they really feel when they handle people with such negligence and then asking fine for it. Common masses have a peculiar habit of bargaining the amount of fine with traffic police hence the task of collecting fine from people often becomes time consuming. Common people often complain about their asking for bribe which is also true but the other side of the story is they are the ones who are giving traffic police plenty of chances for promoting bribe system. If people develop a little civic sense while riding and driving vehicles, almost 80% of the job of traffic police will be finished and they would not suffer from frequent headaches while handling the uneducated masses. They would also get plenty of time to concentrate on other important activities related to serious road crimes.
Human beings knowingly or unknowingly, willingly or unwillingly break the laws which are made for their safety. It is human nature to follow his id ignoring his ego and this is what happens among common masses. People get some kind of pleasure when they keep breaking safety laws unless they are caught one day. Very few people seem to behave rationally when it comes to follow such laws.
Most drivers of public transport buses, autos, private buses, private cars and cool-cabs along with some riders drive on roads with a pure intention of going ahead as early as possible leaving other vehicles behind. Everyone wants to go ahead, quite ahead and ahead of everyone as quickly as possible. Some people are seen driving their vehicles not reaching their destination but racing with each other (strangers) for stupid reasons in order to boost their false ego. Almost everyone wants to prove that he is great and can drive faster than others. This kind of racing attitude is often observed among youngsters more than the middle aged men and oldies.
Heavy duty drivers are seen hitting, killing riders and other small vehicles with their big giant vehicle being inhuman most of the times because they assume that people they are conveniently injuring and killing are not their family members. The families of most drivers stay in rural villages in India. This is the common mentality of heavy duty drivers. Their mentality can be understood by the following sentences -As long as my family members are not travelling why I should care of other people? Why can’t I dash small cars, autos, motor cycles etc anyhow? Why should I care for who they are?- Most of them after accidents run away, hide to some obscure places and those who get caught are bailed out quickly and if punished get only a mild punishment which hardly creates any impact on their careless mind and then they are free to do the same job of injuring and killing more innocent people. This also shows that people who are found guilty in road accidents may not have to be afraid about implementation of the laws in today’s India. Heavy duty drivers (who are drunk many times) are also seen rammed into dividers to go to the other side of the road freely as per their wish. In some parts of India, road dividers are so fragile that even a small vehicle can ram into it, many times hitting speedily to other small vehicles as well as motor bikes of the other side of the road either injuring or killing people. Innumerable accidents take place every day in India due to lack of street lights, drunk drivers, lack of traffic signs and fragile road dividers inuring and killing several innocent people. The result of not following safety laws, lack of civic sense, untrained, irresponsible and reckless heavy duty drivers and negligence in prevention of drunk driving have caused tremendous misery in people, as India lost a lot many efficient, good and productive people in road accidents and will continue to take place unless the authority wakes up and decides to implement road safety laws seriously by taking an appropriate training from some developed countries keeping its ego aside. Authority must be bold enough to confess some things when they ask help from any developed country’s organization such as -We don’t know how to handle our masses. Yes, we lack the potentials to implement road safety laws. Please give our country proper training by sending your efficient trainers to teach our masses as well as officials some discipline and patience. Our country still needs to improve in many areas.-
Financial loss in business can be recovered in future but human loss can never be. One can never forget this truth of life but unfortunately, people who take active part in breaking all safety laws seem to have forgotten this fact and hence must be made to realize the value of human life by authority constantly through some effective mediums at the earliest.