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.