Venugopal Rajagopalan writes of India’s basic problems and how they will stem the development if not taken care of. A must read
In our everyday life, we go through a series of routines right from getting up in the morning to going to office and spending time at your work environment. In this entire cycle, there are so many subtle things that happen, many of us take notice of it and most of the time, we tend to ignore a lot of stuff, which is actually annoying or disturbing.
At times, after seeing these things, I really felt ashamed to call myself an Indian. I curse myself to be born in such a country that boasts of a rich culture and heritage. Sadly, most of the culture and the ‘Incredible India’ tagline is just a marketing gimmick to attract tourists and show them that ‘All is well’ in a country where one has to ‘survive’ rather than ‘live’ on an everyday basis.
The sad part of that the so called ‘Educated or sophisticated’ part of the society also does not bother and behaves in a Nonchalant manner. This post might sound very negative to most readers; however the objective here is to bring out awareness as well as a call for action to look forward to seeing a better India in the near future.
Here is a list of annoying things that one can see everyday and tend to ignore/forget or move on with it:
1. Spitting on the road: This is every Indian’s birthright; people take a lot of pride in doing so while they are walking, driving or even sitting on a bench. Eating gutka, pan or even spitting normally seems to be the way of life for most of us when we are on the road. If we start counting the number of people doing this on the roads, you may not be able to keep track of the number of instances that you could see by the time you reach home in the evening.
2. Jumping Signals, cutting lanes, driving in the wrong lane and honking without reason: I strongly feel that the traffic laws should be either completely eradicated or it needs a radical change to even do something even remotely effective to manage traffic. What is really disturbing is the amount of urgency that people tend to showcase on the road. Even if it means blocking someone and causing a deadlock situation and traffic jam, they would still go ahead and do it. What is the point of having so many tests to certify someone as a good driver if this is what we see regularly on the roads everyday? Why not save time and money and give a driver’s license to every tom, dick or harry who owns a vehicle or wants to drive one? Another very disturbing habit on the roads is the amount of honking that we do and the ridiculous usage of the horn. Having been to places like Singapore, Malaysia and Australia, I was extremely surprised to see that people hardly ever use the horn while driving. It is not that they do not have so many cars in their cities, however people are intelligent enough as well as courteous most of the times to help manage traffic. In many of these places, there is a heavy fine on Honking unnecessarily. The horn is only used as an emergency measure in situations that are unavoidable.
3. Littering roads, lakes, gardens and national parks: I haven’t seen a city in India that can boast of being litter free. No matter how much we educate people or impose fines on them, the fact is that for them, the world outside is still a garbage can. They feel that they have the birthright to throw anything and everything they can wherever they want to. My blood boils and I feel disgusted when I see some of my ‘Educated’ colleagues or friends do it. Most of them try to get away with the excuse that there are no dustbins on the road, how does it matter anyway if I throw a small chocolate wrapper on the road. Another statement that we get to hear is “Yaar yeh India hai, idhar sab chalta hai.” The same buggers would go to other countries and behave as law abiding citizens just because of the fear of being caught, fined or embarrassed. If they are caught here, they try to first argue with the cops, then try to bribe them or try to show off their contacts with their standard response “Tu janta hai main kaun hoon.” Most of the heritage sights and structures are also spoilt by people who try to implant their name on them as a fashion.
4. Lift Etiquettes: This is the most common as well as highly ignored phenomenon. The basic etiquette that one can follow while boarding an elevator is to allow the people who were inside to come out and then step in. However, most of the so-called cultured and educated corporate professionals try to squeeze themselves in even before the guy inside can take the first step to come out. Many people even board the lift and move in the opposite direction just to be assured of a place while it is going up or down. It is downright silly to do that as it is a wastage of time for both themselves as well as for the other people who are waiting patiently on their respective floors.
5. Forming a queue in public places: This is an age-old Indian problem where people love to behave like hooligans. You go to any public place like a passport office, Tea Stall, bus/train stations etc, you would always find people pushing and prodding each other. Seldom will you see people taking an initiative to form a queue and help others as well. The guy who tries to do that will always end up messing his/her chances to get there. For me, the worst experience in this domain was when I was in holy place of Shirdi trying to have a ‘Sai Baba’ darshan. I could not believe the behavior that I saw from people who were so called ‘devotees’ in a place of holy worship and peace. Just for the darshan, people were almost man handling each other and trying to get an upper hand in getting a ticket or even a sight of baba’s idol. I was wondering what would Sai Baba think of all this drama.
6. Acceptance of mediocrity: We as a country are used to accepting mediocrity. Our entire mental conditioning happens with accepting whatever is dished out at us. We accept bad roads, lack of basic infrastructure, lack of transparency and accountability in our leaders and so many other things. The problem is with the middle class mentality of ‘moving on with life’.
Just to re-iterate and make a point here, the objective of this piece is not to point out the negatives or mock about our country and its people. Instead, the objective is to remind everyone about the woes that we all go through in our daily lives chose to keep mum about it. Nothing stops us from pointing out to a fellow Indian that they are destroying or spoiling a public place, which is maintained with the taxes that every individual pays.
- A Guide To Driving In India Without Dying (jalopnik.com)
- Solving India’s problems – Langur style! (thehindu.com)
- Death By Honk (massaericj.wordpress.com)
- Indians vote like cattle: Justice Markandey Katju (ibnlive.in.com)