Thursday, November 20, 2008
‘Statutory warning: Cross at your risk’ India’s aggressive development model vis-à-vis India’s aggressive roads
I waited to see if I would be cared for
Whether someone would stop and let me be
The wait continued in a forced anonymity
Till everyone else called ‘break’ in magnanimity
How many of us have felt paralysed in the course of trying to cross a road in a city (towns also these days)? My recent experience in Bangalore was indeed an eye opener.
It’s not just the fact that there is a dramatic increase in traffic or more cars in proportion to two wheelers, or narrower roads handling huge volumes, but the psyche that rests behind the steering wheel and the handle bar and the traffic rules. Both systemic apathy and individual ‘I care a hoot’ feelings come together to crush the aspirations of the foot bearer.
Does this signify anything? Does it mean that India is on the move and vehicles are bound to increase? Does it suggest that we are in a competitive jungle and ‘survival of the fittest’ is the norm? Does it bring about the age of the ‘fast and furious’?
My concerns go in the direction of the aggression we experience in the new India, the crazily developing India. It’s not just a question of increasing deadlines, swelling pay cheques (which is now zigzagging like the share market) and changing life styles. It is also about being impatient, impolite, selfish, and doing whatever it takes to achieve one’s goals.
This aggressive push however totally forgets India’s underprivileged. The poor, the discriminated, the old aged, the have-nots, and even the silent environment (including the trees and the natural flora and fauna) are out of the picture. It’s not about crossing the road in a city but it’s about being left out of India’s so-called push for progress and development. Those who want to be a part of this are only given the option to follow the industrial-information-labour-share-automobile dispensation while others can wait for the time when the dispensation rests, the time we are served out mercy from the plates of the haves. If we flaunt existing un-written rules and venture to cross…’Cross at your own risk’…