Saturday, October 4, 2008

No-smoking please!!! Banning the practice or doing away with the attitude???


October 2nd is celebrated in India as the birthday of the leader of the nation, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, known as Mahatma Gandhi. He is credited with gaining India independence from the British without the use of violence.

But trust the babus(sirs) and the netas(leaders) in power to spring a surprise and steal the thunder. October 2nd will thus be known with a new tag, ‘no-smoking in public places.’ Thus from October 2nd onwards a ban on smoking in public places has come into effect in India.

Those of you who watched television in India on Thursday night would have noticed that every channel was trying to analyse whether this was good and whether it would be successful. I could not help but notice something I thought was interesting. The ban does not include parks (as long as no one is standing near us) and more interestingly, public roads.

Does this suggest the mind set of the ‘Indian’ that public roads are not our homes and therefore can be treated according to our whims and fancies? Who will clean up the mess that we create? The poor sweepers of course! As we become more health-conscious, shouldn’t we also make sure that public places remain clean as our houses?

I do not intend to mince words and confuse the reader. The ban is good and the need of the hour. The argument that this ban is an intrusion on our individual freedom does not hold good. But let us simultaneously work on our collective attitude. The health ministry while initiating the ban should also network with other departments so that people understand the need to respect the presence and the space of others.

10 comments:

Vin said...

what exactly does 'public' mean in 'public places' ?? once the leaders define that by a citizen poll with the help of media..life would be easy... a 'park' is a health oriented place..meant for playing, jogging, yoga, socialising for the aged, etc. why should these ppl be subjected to harmful smoke? surprising..the ban is good for starters but we need further refinements in this ban.

Fr Jerry said...

The ban will not stand in it's present form. As pointed out by you, there needs to be further additions and further thought put into this if the government is indeed serious about the entire thing and it is not just a public relations excercise.

karthik said...

Im not sure whether its useful or not,but it is very useful for all police mama's for their collections.

Fr Jerry said...

Unfortunately this is the problem in India. Rules are used for the benefit of those in power. But that should not deter us from the problem at hand.

Kartz said...

Greetings and thank you for your readership...

And as you have rightly pointed out, all I can say is, I just hope this does not turn out to be a farce!

Fr Jerry said...

Will leave a more elaborate comment on your blog soon.

sawan said...

its obvious that u dnt smoke!I
dont agree with ur statement : "The argument that this ban is an intrusion on our individual freedom does not hold good." Of course it does! May be the ban holds good when we look at people who doesnt care about non-smokers around him. Ive seen people acting as live chimneys in crowded bus stops and even in a bus! Of course I am against it. But there is a large community of smokers who doesnt intend to cause any harm to a non-smoker. A better idea would have been to introduce smoking zones around the city depending upon the intensity of the crowd who smokes! I strongly disagree with our health minister's decision because of personal reasons - all the smoking zones of our office suddenly became no-smoking zones! Now we have to go out on roads to light a cig! What did he gain? Earlier people smoked at a place destined for smokers and now they smoke at a public place!

Fr Jerry said...

I understand your concern. I also feel that no one should be forced into something. I think I have made a slight mention on the fact that no places are provided as such for smokers. That is the problem in India. No places are provided for anything! Everyone talks of wishing we had clean streets. But no bathrooms or waste bins are provided.
On the other hand there are those who absolutely dont care about the presence of others. Be it smoking, talking loudly, taking over space in crowded public transport systems.... I therefore am foremost for a change in attitude of the people, whereby we are concerned for others as well. So, as long as our enjoyment does not become a curse for others, it is okay. To that extent I will agree with you.

Vin said...

great to know a smoker's comments..the present form of the ban is indeed stupid... doesnt make much sense! so fr pray that the media brings these issues up, thereby compeling the minister to take some sensible steps.

Fr Jerry said...

The main aim of my blog post was just this. That we should work on our attitude and not start banning anything and everything. Unfortunately many things in India are done for publicity and vote banks.