Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Killer Roads

By: Phanjoubam Chingkheinganba

Little wonder that a murderer is on the loose in the broad daylight; in the night too. Ironically, there are no personnel or "department" to pursue, book and bring to justice; the killer. Of all the 'highly intellectual solutions' reached by our social organizations and their 'leaders'; why is it that we have overlooked the problem that political parties of the developed countries considers a major issue for election their campaign? Do deaths have different ways of arousing public concern? Does insurgency related deaths need more discontent from the general public than any other form of unnatural deaths? Sufferings, illness, losses have no social barriers, caste, creed, ethnicity. Robert Browning once said that 'ignorance is not innocence but a sin'. Had he been aware of the state of Manipur, he certainly would have shaken his head in disapproval at the state of the affairs, here.

Take look or walk around and we see, feel and hear its presence all around us, every time we go to any predetermined destination.

Within the heart of the Imphal town, the arteries that serve as a means of transport are all together choked with every possible symptom of diseases while those who uses the streets are waiting to line up in queues, in the not-so-distant future in local hospitals. The amusing part of the story is that things are accepted as it is: as if it is a part of our culture and traditions, on which we have made it a point to present and take pride every now and then. Why care of it, less it concerns us, but hey it touches us all! Today we are, literally, driving our vehicles at the edge of a cliff. One simple mistake, we are in deep gorge and that sort of death won't serve as a way to the attainment of nirvana to our suppressed souls.

Interesting things happens here. Roads that have been black topped, after a few months of inconvenience caused to the general public, finds itself dug up the very next morning of its completion so that pipelines of water supply and telephone cables can be laid down. An indeed act of 'co-operation and planning' between the several departments of the government of Manipur. On the other hand, the digging up of roads to broaden its width has created two different layers, having a gap of some 4 to 5 inches. The chance of vehicles tumbling is very high, especially in the night time when the streetlamps don't function. Also, the delay in completion of construction of roads has yielded unimaginable concentration of dust all around our breathing space. The humor going round the daily conversations between different genders is that there is no need for applying make-ups for girls as the dusts will automatically do so while coming over the place to where the conversations are taking place. Many a time the whole condition seems familiar to the dusty roads of Africa where car rallies take place. In fact it may seem hard to believe but at some point there is a necessity to put on headlight for a clearer view. Altogether, the medical concern that needs to be assessed and though over is how much our lungs must be coping with the unnatural, unwanted and self-created threat to our very own survival.

Every break of dawn wakes up several of those who take delight on the prospect of experiencing fresh morning air. For what? Of course, for health. However, what is the use of it if all day continuous doses of dust are breathed in and out.

Proceeding further to the perilous journey one gets to see the psychological breakdown of our fellow travelers. Struck in a traffic jam is the last thing a late office - goer would wish for. No matter how hard it is for him, it simply doesn't make any sense to go on honking. It's no magic wand that will just make the other vehicles disappear to let him pass by. A colleague once overheard someone saying a mental institution may be more serene and organized than the streets of this state of "overflowing patriots".

Infect the increasing risk of deaths apparent from the multi-faceted problems, associated with the streets, is quite alarming.

While the roads ply with numerous under-aged drivers who had their licenses issued in a day by some petty clerks at the sight of a mere hundred rupees note. Add to it the reckless drivers, incompetent traffic police, barricading of the roads for security reasons; and we have the perfect embodiment of a society in chaos, unsure of where it's headed for.

But who cares? As long as the dinning plate is filled with fried fishes, what does it matter if the serial killer is no he prowl, waiting for its next victim? However, are we really immune to the 'disease'? Losing a family member, in an avoidable accident, is just as painful for the family, no matter the social class it belongs to.
Living alongside with inconvenience in all spheres has become our national or stately habit. Death of one or two person, daily, is not worthy of consideration unless the statistical data on the number of death reaches some "respectable" position say some five persons etc...

Every single individuals sums up to build a society. Social 'diseases' are the handiwork of every individual. Naturally, changing a society must have more implications on the mindset of our immediate circle of individuals and groups. It's the responsibility of everyone to make their small contributions at their own levels.

We are at the risk of total annihilation from all the sides. Should the future generations to come, will ever refer to the modern times as something similar to, the one known in the tumultuous history of the state as the "seven years devastation".

No comments:

Post a Comment