I read with extreme shock this morning’s newspaper account of a doctor and his 5 yr. old daughter crushed to death by a speeding bus. While I am getting desensitized by constant barrage of news about accidental deaths, this was more shocking for 2 reasons:
- They were nowhere close to the road and still were killed by a bus.
- I stand with my daughter every day outside my apartment complex, my wife does the same for our younger one.
This was more jarring, and bone-chilling for me, and I am sure for thousands of parents who drop their kids to school bus stop outside their complex.
I am still in shock and anger, and trying to figure out what I can do with this anger, and also why I am so angry and shocked.
I think my anger stems from the fact that apart from this being the tragedy of the worst kind, I know this will be just added to the statistic of pedestrian accident and it won’t move the needle on improving safety for others. TOI already has the tally ready, 42 pedestrians thus far in Gurgaon.
This is really the rapid urbanization impact where the focus has been on delivering what the businesses and vested interests need, rather than what the guy in the street needs. This reminds me of couple of lines from a poem Ramdhari Singh Dinkar wrote (about nuclear bomb as a weapon):
झड़ चुके पूंछ, रोमांत झड़े, पशुता का झड़ना बाकी है,
बाहर बाहर तन सँवर चुका, मन अभी संवरना बाकी है।
(Tail and hairs have fallen off, animal-behavior is yet to do so,
The body has spruced up from outside , the soul inside is yet to do so.)
I wonder what can be done to take back the control of our life (and death) from those who peddle urbanization in the name of progress.
Maybe RWA of housing complexes can take the lead and start reclaiming the area around their complex and control the traffic, law and order, and general well-being – and demand money and service from the local government to do so effectively?
Maybe we can demand our schools to have buses that have responsible, empathetic drivers and conductors (I have seen rash driving from school buses too, sarkari buses are not the only ones to blame)?
Maybe we can force stringent punishments on traffic violators who cause death (the driver in question was caught and then released on bail, not sure what kind of deterrent we are creating for the next offender)?
Or maybe we can just leave it at that, and treat them as collateral damage of the rush to urbanize so fast, to benefit so few.