This post is just a series of rants:
Yesterday, I went to see a friend who was in hospital with a head injury after having been hit by a speeding bus.
She had been driving a scooter near the Town Hall when a bus turning left towards the City Market had knocked her down.
A passing policeman tried to hail some transport to carry her to a hospital.
Three auto-rickshaws refused to take the lady.
Finally the cop threatened a fourth rickshaw driver, and forced him to take her to the hospital.
The part that I could not believe at all, was that while she was unconscious, someone had stolen her wallet and her cell phone.
You can’t fix problems in a country where people care so little about each other.
What is interesting is that so many problems have solutions, but people need to care enough about each other to act on them.
I’ve written about ways of moving ambulances fast through a city, and about a method for tracing terrorists who organize coordinated attacks.
Thinking up solutions is one thing. Developing a society where people care about each other is quite another.
Prevention of Corruption
I remember the anti-corruption protests last year. There were many people who turned out to support Anna Hazare.
But there’s so much you can do every day, near your homes.
I saw a traffic cop near my office on Diwali day, flagging people down for bribes.
I went up to him, said “Come to the side. I saw you take the bribe”.
And I snapped a picture of him using my mobile and noted his name down.
He begged me to let him go: “Please don’t send that picture to my police station!”
So I told him, “I work around here. If I see you do this again, I’ll send it.”
This is something anyone can do.
I read that in Egypt before the Arab Spring, cops would harass traffic all the time for bribes.
But now they can’t. People in Egypt don’t let the police get away with small corruption anymore. The article says: “Most heartening of all, Cairo’s notorious traffic cops no longer dare shake down motorists for bribes. The people simply will not accept it.”
Recently, two girls were arrested by cops in Thane for posting negative opinions about politicians on Facebook. One of them was arrested for merely liking the comment. All that the girl who posted the comment had said was: “People like Thackeray are born and die daily and one should not observe a ‘bandh’ [shutdown] for that.”
That was not the only case. “In October, Ravi Srinivasan, a 46-year-old businessman in the southern Indian city of Pondicherry, was arrested for a tweet criticising Karti Chidambaram, son of Indian Finance Minister P Chidambaram.”
The law that was used against them was Section 66-A of the Information Technology Act, 2008, which ‘deals with messages sent via computer or communication devices which may be “grossly offensive,” have “menacing character,” or even cause “annoyance or inconvenience.” For offences under the section, a person can be fined and jailed up to three years‘. Fortunately, the law is now being challenged by a Human Rights activist.
When the news broke, people did not vandalize the police station. They vandalized the clinic run by the father of the girl !!!
It’s really time we stopped and asked ourselves some pertinent questions about ourselves. Are we really people who can be proud of and trustful of each other?