Reveries

A mishmash of spirituality, human relationship, adult and children's literature, news analyses and anti-road-rage tirades

Is the bad better than the good?

I am shaken by the news story about a modern-day knight (I want to call him so), who was stabbed to death for daring to take on eve-teasers. Atrocities against women are on the rise in India’s capital New Delhi, as well as in other parts of the country. According to a special report, till November 2013, police have registered 1,450 cases of rape, 3,200 cases of molestation and 850 cases of eve-teasing in Delhi.

The heroic story of the person—who single-handedly raised his voice in opposition to crime against women—therefore, deserves widespread publicity from every woman and every sensible man. I dedicate this article to the Late Manoj Sharma.

While the chivalrous act of this martyr left me awestruck with veneration, his demise at the hands of the eve-teasers tormented me no end. The incident raised some serious questions.

Are supreme sacrifices like his a necessary price for keeping our women safe? Is it hinting that if you want to save one woman from the devils, you need to renounce one man as a quid pro quid? Is his end a triumph of the bad over the good?

My attempt to find out answers to those questions, led me to write an open letter to this valiant warrior. And I am reproducing it here:

Dear the Late Manoj Sharma,

I salute your martyrdom!

Martyr Manoj, you had but one life and you gave it away to save a lady from being eve-teased. You even don’t know if you were successful at teaching these hooligans a lesson.

On the contrary, by keeping yourself alive, heal and hearty, you could have possibly saved a thousand more women from being misbehaved in your lifetime. You were capable of bringing the medieval chivalry back to this century at a time when it is missing the most. People like you are an absolute necessity for our decadent society.

If only could you have been a little more vigilant, a little more mindful about the vicious and savage ways of the vice, you would have both saved the lady and taught the culprits a lesson for life.

Maybe, you could have called the police, shouted and built up a mob, or done anything else to save the woman and catch the miscreants at the same time. But should never become a prey to the evildoers and untimely snub your life, leaving behind your senile father, a bereaved wife and a young son.

RIP Manoj Sharma!

The only thing that I brought home to today is the reassurance of something that I have always considered an ideal to live up to. I am glad to share this with you:

The righteous always need to be one step smarter and ever more cautious than the corrupt. Or else, vice will annihilate virtue. People at large will falsely come to believe that the corrupt only triumphs. And that will be a pity!

If you are moved by the heroism of the late Manoj Sharma, please share this story with everyone you know. Let the world know that such a man did exist. If we succeed in inspiring even a single person to follow the ideals of this martyr, I think, we would have paid a real tribute to him.

Let Nirbhaya, the young girl whose plight shook the nation a year ago, be given a reason to be happy to see more Manojs coming forward.

The original news story can be read by clicking on this link:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/man-stabbed-to-death-for-taking-on-eveteasers/article5455391.ece

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Filed under: Current News, Philosophy, , , , , ,

On a Race against Road Rage

This article is devoted to Zero Tolerance to Road Rage (ZTTRR). ZTTRR is a non-profit attempt to create awareness on the increasing incidents of road rage in India and elsewhere. ZTTRR considers the Gandhian principles of non-violence as the perfect way to systematically root out this social evil. It firmly believes that rage against road rage will only bring more rampage on the roads! On the other hand, a peaceful approach—imbued with love and understanding—can completely cure this menace.

The beginning
Consider these road rage facts:

  • “Intermittent Explosive Disorder—medical name for road rage—affects around 16 million people in the US.” —Streetdirectory.com
  • “In one survey [in the US], 90 percent reported that during the past year they either were a victim of road rage or had witnessed it.” —Scientific American
  •  “Every year at least 1500 people [in the US] are seriously injured or killed in road rage.” —AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Washington, D.C.
  • “New Delhi: A young executive from Mumbai lost a finger and suffered stab wounds in the stomach when three persons, including a juvenile, attacked him in a case of road rage.” —India Today
  • “A man’s ear was bitten off in a road rage case after a minor accident took place in Harola area of Noida” —The Times of India
  • “Even typically calm, reasonable people can turn into warriors (road ragers) behind the wheel.” —American Psychological Association
  • “By the end of December 28 this year [2012], 462 lives were snuffed out in road accidents in Hyderabad” —The Hindu
  • “Young people and men were most frequently involved in road rage cases in Canada.” —Canadian Medical Association Journal
  •  “Tourist road rage attack damaged New Zealand’s reputation” —The New Zealand Herald
  • Hawaii: Two men were injured when a driver got out of his car armed with a golf club and smashed the rear and front windows of a 21-year-old man’s car. —Maui Time Magazine, Hawaii
  • “A 26-year-old engineer was stabbed and his car driver assaulted by three unidentified persons on an outer road in Pune.” —Sandprints Blog by Chandrashekhara
  • “A Long Island man has been charged in an alleged road rage-caused accident in September that left a 15-year-old bicyclist dead.” —The Wall Street Journal
  • “A couple is facing weapon-related charges following a road rage incident caught on camera in Newport, North Carolina.” — abc7.com, United States
  • “Drunk Road Raging Thai Points Gun At Tourist Van” —Thai Visa Forum

Road rage is an unwanted bi-product of modernity. It is the most common yet the most neglected nuisance in the urban landscape. It has turned into a serious social issue in cities across the world and has already taken many lives.

All these mind-boggling facts annoyed me no end. I wanted to create a common platform that would try to find out viable solutions to road rage at large and provide awareness to people through social media and personal interactions.

I researched on the Internet to look for an existing platform, where I could add my two pennies’ worth. Unfortunately, except for newspaper reports on road-rage-induced accidents and a few writings here and there, I could not locate any suitable platform to network with like-minded people.

It is this lack of space that prompted me to start my mission unilaterally. On March 24, 2013, I launched the Zero Tolerance to Road Rage (ZTTRR) community by creating a Facebook page by the same name (https://www.facebook.com/ZeroTolerancetoRoadRage). It was a culmination of an idea that occurred to me around a year ago.

I chose online platforms like Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and Google Groups over traditional ones because I believe in the power of the internet. People have been extremely successful in sending their messages across an unimaginably large number of people by making use of the power of social media.

Fundamental philosophy
ZTTRR has many unique features in its fundamental philosophy. I enlist them here:

  1. Road rage is a social evil and is a nuisance in all cities of the world. Therefore, the geographical purview of ZTTRR is not limited to a city or two in India but spread across the length and breadth of the globe.
  2. ZTTRR’s fight is against road rage not against the people who engage in road rage.
  3. ZTTRR aims at fighting against road rage using peaceful means. It adopts the Gandhian principles of non-violence and non-compromise.
  4. ZTTRR aims at creating awareness using the power of social media globally and personal interactions, outreach events and orientations locally.
  5. ZTTRR assumes the following premises:
    1. In a road rage incident there are always two parties involved—the aggressor and the provoker.
    2. Both the aggressor and the provoker are prone to getting harmed.
    3. Both these parties need the following orientations to save themselves from an aggressive situation:
      1. attitudinal orientation
        1. awareness about self
          (being conscious about one’s own action on the road)
        2. awareness about others
          (being conscious about the reasons that lead others to act in particular ways)
      2. technical orientation
        1. awareness about the surrounding
          (being conscious about the roads, the signages and the vehicles)
    4. ZTTRR aims to address both the aggressors and the provokers and to create awareness through orientations about their on-road behaviour and their surroundings.

What’s next?
Our first goal is to spread the word about ZTTRR to the maximum number of people using tools like personal interactions and social media. We are planning to organize outreach events and orientations at busy intersections in New Delhi and Noida. The aim will be to interact with road users and create awareness among them about the seriousness of the road rage issue. This will be followed by partnering with various driving schools to offer comprehensive sensitization and orientations to budding drivers. The plan also includes interacting with school children.

The next step will be to institutionalize these interactions and organize such events regularly in other cities of India as well. Finally, I am hopeful that every city in the world will lend support to this cause and help to summarily wipe out road rage from the roads.

Our biggest challenge
The biggest challenge for ZTTRR is time. Currently it has just a few volunteers! We have but only twenty-four hours at hand. A substantial part of this time goes into earning our livelihood. Supposing one person gets enough volunteers to duplicate their time, then the biggest challenge for us will be to reach out to a large number of people and educate them on the evils of road rage.

The next things in the pipeline are even greater challenges, namely—to institutionalize the road rage sensitization process by providing attitudinal and technical orientations. This involves the preparation, promotion and delivery of training material and requires both a huge pool of skilled manpower and a big financial support.

We want people to join hands with us in our peaceful fight against road rage—people from every walk of life, every corner of the earth. Endorsements from celebrities, the media and people with a special social standing can definitely help ZTTRR in sending its message to a large number of people.

Any kind of support in cash or kind can too help ZTTRR in promoting its mission, and in funding and organizing the outreach events and personal orientations for imparting the attitudinal and technical awareness. We solicit the support from everyone.

How you can help us
ZTTRR has a daunting task in front of it. Every mega-structure starts with the first brick. ZTTRR already has a strong foundation in place. We need your support. If you are thinking that you may not be able to give your time or funds enough to support ZTTRR, you may still advocate its cause by doing some seemingly simple yet powerful things:

  • Like the ZTTRR Facebook page to keep yourself updated on the activities of ZTTRR.
  • Join the ZTTRR Google Group to discuss ways to fight road rage with like-minded people.
  • Follow the ZTTRR blog to keep yourself informed on positive travel, traffic updates, interesting facts, interviews and inspiring stories.
  • Follow  ZTTRR on Twitter to keep yourself informed on positive travel, traffic updates, interesting facts, interviews and inspiring stories.
  • Share the ZTTRR Facebook page, Google Group and blog in the social media and ask your friends to join us.
  • Read this article in full and leave your comment in the Leave a Reply section. This will be very encouraging and educative for us.
  • Share this article with your friends in the social media and let the world know about it.

One for the Twitterati!
Let us take a stand or be a spectator to the increasing road rage violence and deaths! Join hands with us to wipe out road rage peacefully.

Ways to go
Here are some peaceful ways to wipe out road rage, quoted from the ZTTRR Facebook page:

  • providing awareness to road users,
  • campaigning for raising the standards of roads, signages, parking lots and other infrastructures, and
  • equipping drivers with more user-friendly vehicles.

ZTTRR community on Facebook can be accessed by logging on https://www.facebook.com/ZeroTolerancetoRoadRage. Do like us, invite your friends to do so and help us in spreading the word. ZTTRR also invites users to send their ideas and suggestions. You may share with us stories (and images) of road rage which you or your friends have experienced. Post directly to ZTTRR Facebook page or mail me at zttrr@gmail.com.

Ranjit K Sharma, Chief Evangelist, ZTTRR

Filed under: Road Rage, , , , , , , , ,

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