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Is Kalki the only hope?


Borrowed the title from the above article. I read this article a while ago and it remained with me awhile some more. While the author of the article wrote it mainly in the political context, I do ruminate on the title on a more philosophical note.

Courtesy:google.com
Looking around me, I do find insensitivity among people increasing. People like to cut the road short (pun intended) to wherever they want to reach. Take the road manners for instance. Yes, you need to have some manners while on road. People simply have no regard for the others while driving. Err..please excuse the "L-boards" , including me. They do not know what they do. Let us also leave out the cabbies and the auto-rickshaws. These categories behave as though they belong to a different planet with a separate set of rules. Actually a set of no rules. That still leaves us with a humungous section who are in neither category.

People waiting to take a right at a signal, need to wait on the extreme right lane. Simple? Not really. You wait patiently at a signal to go straight, only to get frustrated as a jerk comes from the extreme left and blocks your way. The signal turns green to move ahead but you can't, since the right signal is off and the jerk that wants to go right won't budge. You lose your chance to move and have to wait for the next round. Tell me, how fair is this? Rinse, repeat when it's your turn to take a turn left at a signal. Changing lanes without adequate warning is becoming quite the norm. Using the correct indicators well in advance for the benefit of vehicles behind you seems to a rule that is practiced only in the utopian world. Road rage is a term is that gaining popularity with such "I-don't-care" attitude.Why am I not surprised?!

Parking problems in Bangalore need no elaboration. Yet, there are wedding halls mushrooming on the road-side without adequate in-house parking arrangement. Come any wedding and the already narrow roads become narrower with parked cars of the attendees. We don't care, seems to be the attitude. And, I also hear, people park intentionally on the roads outside swanky malls to evade the measly parking charge!!! You enter a mall and your wallet is immediately lighter by a few thousands and here people want to save on the 20-30 rupees. Where's the sense??

Among other senses that are absent, civic sense tops the chart. We used to be taught moral science in schools during our days. In my opinion, civic sense needs to be taught at home when the child is in Kindergarten. Is the lesson being skipped or is it conveniently forgotten when one grows older is a million-dollar question. Adults who don't have the sense need to be pulled up and embarrassed in public (now, I don't mean stripping or things like that ;-)). But they ought to feel ashamed of littering, spitting and misusing public property.

Will levying a fine to penalize the errant ensure a better-behaved society or will it lead to a vicious cycle of fine-evasion and corruption? How can we build a sense of ownership in people so that they feel as responsible towards society as towards one's home? I really hope Kalki is not the only hope.

Comments

  1. I had ot go and read about KALKI.. and I do want to say THAT is the only hope for mankind at least in India.. we have gone so much downstream now ..

    its amazing how bad we have become

    Bikram's

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    1. I know, the picture at the moment is so bad that we have to be really optimistic to revel in some stray goodness that does come our way..:-(

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  2. Oh wow. An interesting read Uma. I agree to your views here and sadly...yes Kalki is perhaps the only hope left for all of us.

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    1. now, isn't that a sad situation?

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  3. Last year my Dad bought a car, mainly for my convenience, so that I could drive to work on my own... I remember i had gone out with my friends in my new car for the first time.. On a red light, i had to take right and my car was in extreme right.. Suddenly a speeding car came from my left.. it had to take a U-turn... n within seconds hit my car(you can imagine how my car would have been hit) and fled away... So needless to say, scene in Delhi is no different.. maybe worse!!

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    1. oh gosh! the new car!!!
      now, am not sure if fining will be sufficient for such behaviour. The person must feel guilty enough to not repeat the mistake..and pray what should be done?? punitive measures do not seem to work for a large population.

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  4. I agree Uma .. Being thoughtful is not a very widely found characteristic in people ..
    And it is applicable in all walks of life .. Standing in a queue for example .. People mindlessly cut across.. Its amazing to watch ..
    But am also guilty of thoughtlessness at times , not on purpose though .. I'd realise later on or immediately after :(
    Being thoughtful all the time is really tough ..We'd err in one place or the other ..
    But am not really sure if the world was any better sometime before either .. My views on this are neutral ..

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    1. See, one has to at least feel guilty about breaking rules. Only then there is at least some hope that the person won't repeat the behaviour. Here, it is jungle rule. If you don't break the rule, you are the odd man out. Now, that's a scary situation.
      Maybe the world was not better earlier but surely India,now, is getting worse by the day.

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    2. That's correct Uma .. If people consciously break rules and are lacking empathy as a second nature in spite of knowing it to be wrong, we are headed for a very scary future ..
      I've also seen some very disheartening instances of road rage .. I recently saw a man on a two wheeler yelling his throat hoarse at another person who was driving a car in the middle of a busy road .. His 10-12 yr old daughter by the looks of it was watching this whole episode in silence ..
      When adults behave that way, its a very poor example for the generation to come ..

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  5. Kalki is divine intervention that is unlikely to happen to sort out civic problems.On the spot challaning follwoed witha stiff and deterrent fine can alone stop the menace of blocking the road at the signals.Licenses for marriage hall should not be given where there is no internal parking facilities.Towing of the cars parked at unauthorised places as a rouine will instill some civic sense.Only the language of 'dhanda' is effective.
    But who is to ensure all these in this corruption infested society?We are back to square one.

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    1. Exactly the point, KP sir! measures are there but the execution is missing.

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  6. Totally agree! You may want to read my post about my own travails on Bangalore roads
    http://www.rachnaparmar.com/2010/03/driving-troubles-in-india.html

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    1. Read and commented on your post, Rachana! :-)

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  7. Totally agree with you on this! And what do we call those people who drive their 2 wheeler on the sidewalk which is supposedly meant for walking! Whenever I see these people, I feel like just giving a whack on their heads!

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    1. totally, a whack certainly seems very appropriate and essential. I do feel the same, Keirthana.

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  8. Oh yes Uma. i completely agree. I drive myself and have been witness to this so many times... It is frustrating.

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    1. yes, frustration is the reward for the rest of the law-abiding citizens.

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  9. Punitive measures like levying fines are temporary and like you pointed out mat just lead to more corruption.
    I was really sad to see beautiful hillsides in Northern India marred by ugly plastic everywhere. I don't have a solution - but would love a "name and shame"campaign...make people ashamed of their actions.

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    1. Really! we have so much to offer as a tourist destination but sadly, a lot needs to improve before we showcase nature's gift without the insensitive human embellishments.
      name and shame campaign does sound like a good idea.

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  10. Yes Uma, I believe besides our pathetic civic sense and lack of inculcation of it from a young age, it's also our population, lack of infrastructure to support it. If we had dustbins every 500 metres on our roads, being emptied regularly I am sure we would hold on to our waste and throw it there. And then of course, if we don't, we must be fined for it, pretty heavily too. I read the article you have linked and agree (cynically) seeing everything around us - scams, dishonest leaders, high economic disparity among people, education as a privilege, etc that we need our Kalki and soon!!!

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    1. true, poor infrastructure does account for a lot of mess around. But I think the attitude is something that needs to be worked upon first. Even if there are dustbins, people have a tendency to litter the roads and street corners. And, many of them claim to be house proud people. The same sense of pride and ownership needs to expand to the society too.

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    2. Yes, clean your own home and throw the rubbish into the neighbour types! But mind you, we mind our manners very well when we are abroad! All the traffic rules, litter guidelines, waiting-in-the-queues everything.....The way we take our own country for granted, really sad.

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  11. Hi Uma

    I totally agree...We have moved on proudly from bad to worst and now God alone knows what is going to become of the nation!

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    1. seriously, Jayashree, I do wonder a lot these days about where our country is going :-(

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  12. Empathize with you Uma and there does'nt appear to be easy salvation in sight. The people are cocking the snook with impunity at authority which is blissfully asleep or busy in malpractices and amassing money:)

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    1. True, Rahulji! I really hope we all unite as a country to save it from drowning. This will be a new freedom struggle.

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  13. I think the poor infrastructure leads to people forgetting whatever was taught to them in Moral Science or Value Education on Civic Sense..I remember by 3 year old nephew throwing something on the road. I reprimanded him and told him to pick it up and throw only in the dust-bin. He smiled and retorted, "Dustin is at home. There is nothing here. What do I do till then?" I personally do not litter and keep wrappers in my bag which I empty when I go home...However that is how I have adapted to the fact that we do not have litter-bins on the road - it is not really an apt solution and not something I am comfortable teaching my nephew...

    The same people who spoil their neighbourhood behave aptly in foreign countries - it is because facilities exist. They have public restrooms in good condition so people do not pee on the roads :P Traffic is good and so people follow the rules!

    In Mumbai, people do not understand the concept of a zebra crossing - there are people who park at zebra crossings!!! Crazy world we live in!!

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    1. yes, poor infrastructure is to be blamed yet I'd like to point out to a number of instances where inspite of bins being available, the litter is strewed on the streets, sometimes even just around the bins too! Of course there are no sufficient toilets available which is rather shameful for a country so large.
      I'd prefer to let the kid too carry the litter home in the absence of any dustbins around.
      Foreign countries have strict norms and our people are chickened into following the rules, else they had it. Sadly, we are have to be bulldozed into such behaviour rather than have the natural sense to do so.
      I don't think people know the meaning of a Zebra crossing :-(

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  14. The "don't care" attitude is so much that even ambulances are not given way. Those honkers who blare their horns at other times are somehow very silent when there is an ambulance nearby... also, if the light were to turn green for an ambulance there is rush of some ppl to get thru the signal.. its so sick, it gets on my nerves every time...

    Ppl spitting on the road and throwing stuff is another thing that makes me pull my hair...n I've seen this even in tech parks where educated youth wander about. When one of my colleagues did this and I pointed it out, all she said was "if we don't litter, the sweepers will lose their job...come on, relax". I was far from relaxing and picked up the litter myself, despite being 8m pregnant.. hopefully she learnt the lesson...

    Needless to mention the state of railway stations and the entire stretch of railway tracks that littered with anything from chips packets, mineral water bottles and what not. I mean, how difficult is it to put it in a plastic bag and put it aside.. or better still, carry it home to the dustbin (or any other dustbin in the vicinity)?

    Urinating on concrete foothpaths even though there is a sulabh shouchalaya... don't even get me started!

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    1. Kudos to you for picking up after your friend. Hope your friend felt ashamed...
      While we can crib that there is no infrastructure, the attitude of people even when there are facilities to keep the surrounding clean is pathetic and worrying..
      yet to check out your latest post..will do it soon :-)

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  15. Very well written Uma! It annoys me no end when people who wanna go right come and park their asses (cars!) on the extreme left, at a traffic signal :/

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