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Lawless Indians
With great hype and fanfare, ultimately the Signature Bridge was inaugurated by Delhi CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal and opened for the public. Around 1600 crores and 15 years long wait!

But what was the outcome? There was a massive traffic jam at Wazirabad, Khajuri, Karawal Nagar, Yamuna Vihar, Jafarabad, Nand Nagri, and Gagan Cinema etc places. Free for all, rampant wrong side driving, no traffic manners, massive encroachment by a Mazar built in the middle of the road, by shopkeepers, hawkers, unauthorized parking, autos, etc. One has to spend two hours to cover 10 kilometres, total anarchy and the chaos, no sign of any governance.

We Indians have failed all the models: Congress fails, Kejriwal fails, Modi fails, left fails. Ours is still a Kabayalee mentality. We will never change. If anybody wants to see Jungle Raj in Delhi, drive on Wazirabad-Ghaziabad road. Give us anything, great or ordinary, we will barb it with lawlessness and indiscipline that would make a civilized man shocked. We take the craziest risks when talking on mobile phone, driving, riding a two-wheeler, walking on the roads, working in a factory, and so on. On the face of it, not any of these acts are risky, but we turn to make them risky.

Last month, on the day of Dussehra, a tragedy took place in the Punjab, India. Unmindful of the dangers involved thousands assembled on a railway track to view the burning of the effigy of Ravan and fireworks, near Amritsar, not to board a train. Along came a train at full speed and mowed hundreds of people and killing 60 people on the spot. Near the accident site, there was entire district administration, wife of a cabinet minister with full ruling power, office bearers of the ruling party etc. but all were unperturbed about the crime of the viewers were committing, of sitting on the track. In India, government land near the railway tracks, river catchment areas, riverbeds, roads, etc are encroached by the squatters. People live and move very dangerously which causes accidents and deaths. We invite dangers just as we would guests, and damn the costs involved.

Our record of loss of lives to this lawlessness is quite stunning. As many as 1,50,785 people died in India in road accidents in 2016. This is way much higher than the citizens killed by Islamic and Naxal terrorists combined. About 30 two-wheeler riders die everyday on Indian roads because they do not wear helmets. In the past five years near about 30,000 people have been killed while moving on railway tracks, de-boarding from running trains or falling off them. Why do we Indians are so lawless and in disciplined? What these tragedies reveal about the Kabaylee nature of Indian society?

Another study points out that as many as around 500 workers lost their lives between 2013 and 2016 because they did not follow work disciple and normal precautions. Even planners, architects and authorities are also unconcerned about the normal discipline. We Indians are pompous about not following the law. There are many easy and quick explanations for breaking the law. The violators are not punished fast with stern punishment. The most common one, of course, nobody is afraid of the law. Nobody cares. For petty gains, we are ready to break any law and we display so much belligerence and ambition.

Then there is the catch-all "poverty disease" Bechara Garib, that gives them licence to not to follow any rule. The reality is that not just the illiterate and poor take pointless risks but rich and educated is also the same; about 20 motorists die every day for not putting on their car-seat belts. Our hazard blind manner is loose and applies to all classes. On a different, legal note, some experts think that risk awareness and punishment are linked. It as a well-known fact that people know that they are breaking the law but no one is there to question their lawless acts. If they did, it was at their own risk or benefit. As institutions are fashioned by the law, for the people, the resourceful and the poor submitted to them. It is this that creates fear for lawless, indiscipline and ill-mannered and that teaches all about risk awareness and law-abiding character.

However, once appeasement and vote-bank liberalism weaken these legal institutions, and new law-breaker dons emerge and those motivate us to take control of our activities; "do as one's likes". This situation has no fear of any scrutiny of given social practices without alarm of reprisal. In such a scenario, risk or law consciousness has no space. So who sets the tempo for law a danger consciousness, common citizen, or the society, or the authorities? The short answer is authorities. For the general population to be hazard and law alert, tough governance must act tough and act quickly. Only then would people be accustomed enough to follow law and disciplined which, incidentally, is pushed below the carpet by all the political parties for the sake of votes and appeasement.

Now regularization of illegal colonies is the most important promise of all the political parties and that too with great pride. This does not mean we must carry a law book every time we step out. However, the accepted recognition of laws and risks is a link of the realization that each of us matters. People identify and act upon hazards without any fear if the general system is incompetent to act tough. In India, for example, most people and land mafia encroach upon roads, railway land near tracks and river catchment areas because they are not afraid of any action by the administrators. Over the years, the nation has had many elections, but the removal of encroachments and squatters never has been an issue. Overcrowded trains and buses run unchecked, and it is not news if any passenger should fall out of them. Laborers and people can hardly change the ways of builders and land mafias, so they regularly slip off scaffoldings without complaining. Nobody, nor government nor the people pay any attention to such issues, and all forget till another mishap takes place. This attitude is also evident in the area of health. Where there is a tremendous shortage of hospitals and doctors. But neither people nor government put health first, risk awareness is encouraged among the masses. When major tragedy takes place all cry for a short time but against forget very fast. Apart from such instances, Indian people and politicians are not law and risk sensitive and, therefore, Amritsar like tragedies take place regularly. They are more sensitive to freebies, caste and communal quotas. As most bureaucrats in India set themselves up as the unquestioned bosses, to question them, becomes an act of disobedience. This is what forces people to suspend risk and law-related concerns and leave everything to destiny.

A good state is one that recognizes law and risks people face and take proper legal action from happening, no matter how it loses or gains. Discipline and respect for the law are necessary drives that are mandatory to all, but some grip them more gladly than others. People respond only to the tough law. These public service providers must also be under fear of law and be disciplined enough to act, straight away affecting all the institutions from transportation to health to rivers to roads to construction, and more. On circumstances, when it comes to risk recognition and law implementation, a good state may well be to the fore of the people, and that is to be welcomed by the people. Nation has to face Amritsar tragedy, Wazirabad lawlessness etc. if people and authorities are insensitive to risks and laws. We will be subjected to miseries and, even an item of laughter. It is like yelling "flood" in a cinema when everyone is enjoying the show.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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