Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Simply driving through Avinash!!!

Little Avinash is no more with us. The boy, who was injured in a hit and run accident in January, struggled for five long months, but finally succumbed on the 26th of June. Our prayers are with the family which has bravely put up a struggle for all this time and stood staunchly by him despite the various pressures amongst themselves.
DreamIndia tried its best to save the boy, but eventually, in vain. Considering the fact that the injuries were so bad there was no chance of a complete recovery and that the boy would have remained in a vegetative state for his life, at times we cant but help wonder if his death was not a good thing after all.

India's one billion strong population is said to be her strength. At times, I believe it is her weakness too. We are a nation that does not have civic sense at all. I am not going to write about all the spitting and the fighting on the roads, but only about the rash driving and the insanely apathetic traffic sense that we all seem to share, regardless of caste, creed, and even regardless of how much educated we are.

It is not nothing that instigated me to write this article...I am enraged, I am shocked, to hear about the death of Avinash Thapad. A victim of a hit and run accident, this 11 year old, who had been struggling for life following a skull fracture, passed away silently in the adivasi village of Khambhacha, on the night of the 26th June. Along with friends, I had been struggling for all these months to try and make him recover and so I feel the pain. Whose mistake was the accident, we will never know, as no one watched it happen. But clearly, considering the impact, the bike was moving at a very high speed. So Avinash's is one more in the long list of deaths due to negligent driving that India's financial capital seems to be hoarding, unashamedly so.

Why do all these accidents happen? Where does this rot stem from? It starts from the citizens, you and I. Every time we break the traffic signal causing that pedestrian utmost hardship in crossing the road even though it is his signal, every time we overtake on the left at high speeds, every time we cut lanes, every time we do something naughty on the roads knowing that no one is watching us, or that no one can question us, we are putting some innocent life in jeopardy. There was a Tamil movie called 'Anniyan', where the hero mows down anyone who does something that is completely wrong but that we all have come to accept without complain. For instance there was this contractor in charge of preparing food to train passengers, and who charges 50 paisa extra from every passenger. Every one pays up, but when Anniyan questions him, the contractor replies "What difference is 50 paisa going to make?" and subsequently fumbles when Anniyan tells him that charging 50 paisa extra is not a big mistake but doing that from a million people daily, is a very big crime indeed. Similarly, we all think that going through the red lights occasionally, is not a big mistake, but when we realize that like us, there are thousands across the nation doing the same thing, we will understand that the probabilities of an accident are that much more higher and we are also directly party to it.

Apart from the role of the citizens, the traffic police has to be pro active in policing such traffic crimes as those mentioned above. They should first be made to understand the importance of their roles in saving lives, and to appreciate the fact that there is no small offense and big offense. All offenses contribute equally to creating chaos. The minute they see someone crossing the stop line before the green light, they should pull up the motorist and fine him on the spot. Every jay walker should be brought to task. Every person who runs through a red light should be chased, caught, and jailed for a night at least. There is no shame in going to jail for a night - we deserve that for the offense that we commit.

But of course, these are all ideal solutions and there would have been a many articles published on the same lines. But these are solutions that our traffic police will never implement because we are spineless when it comes to taking a tough stance on motorists. Because all that the Indian psyche can do is keep giving excuses of excessive population and how the traffic department is overworked and understaffed and how we are constantly trying to upgrade technology to catch traffic offenders. Till the time a hard taskmaster is posted to the top role in the traffic department, such deaths as Avinash's will continue to be the norm and India will continue to remain a nation that simply does not care!

1 comment:

Neha said...

May God eternal rest to Avinash and give his family the courage to move on after this loss. Amen!

Life goes on .. and I am sure that this incident together with your blog will definitely make us more self conscious and it will impact people around us. No effort is futile when done with complete conviction. All the best for all such future ventures and I hope that we all play our parts sincerely towards improving traffic situations in India.

Take care,