Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Private Public Property

There is an unusual phenomenon I have noticed in India. Especially in the cities. There seems to be unusual amount of Private Public Property (PPP). This PPP can be anywhere and anything. The most common ones are the roads and the state transport buses and of course Indian Railways.

Just last evening, I had the experience of trespassing on one of these so called PPP. The trespass went like this. In Thane, where I stay, there new Eastern Express highway crosses over the railway lines on a swanky new bridge and this ends at a place called Teen Hath Naka. Now, since it is an express highway, there are no gaps in the Median in between and one has to go till the Naka if one wants to turn. There is an easier route, which is the service road next to the highway. Now, last week being Ambedkar Jayanti and all, this service road was completely taken over by members of a local club and they had put up pandal, yes pandals, also know as tents, that too in the middle of the road. If this was not enough, they had the nerve to question our driver, why he chose to come through that particular road leaving the express way. Hell, I chose which road I go through. After all roads are public property aren't they?

Roads are public property when it comes to throwing your garbage on it. People who go to great lengths to keep their homes spotless, will nevertheless nonchalantly spit on the road and walk on. And when it comes to digging up a perfectly well laid road, the aam junta are no better than the government bodies. Any occasion is an excuse enough to put up a pandal and that calls for digging up the road. You ask them and they say, 'chota sa gaddha to hai'. What we don't realise is that small pit in the road will grow to become a nightmarish pothole.

Speaking of PPP, have you ever noticed how certain people make the suburban trains their private property? Just recently one lady was pushed out from a running train in Mumbai, because she dared climb into a local which had not originated from her junction. How stupid can you get? You kill some one for that? I know no action will be taken. As usual, people will escape under the guise of the mob. And some one else will pay for life, with life.

Sometimes I really wonder, is this a relic of our colonial past. Saala, sarkarri hai. Aapna kya jaata hai? People expect that the government will provide good roads, clean drinking water, high speed rail network etc. etc. "It is our fundamental right", it is said. But what about duties. Do we only have rights and no duties? Is only the government which is responsible for creating a nation which reflects the prosperity that it actually has? Are we not the citizens of this nation, or are we citizens of only our homes? Maybe we are neither, but a bunch of selfish, narrow minded individuals, who think we are the best in the world.

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