Published:  12:20 AM, 16 June 2019

This impunity, this behavior

Do we realise how swiftly and carelessly we have been turning into a nation of law-violating citizens? Everywhere we go, almost everyone will speak of the need to strengthen democracy in the country and by extension a sense of discipline. That is about all. The reality is the precise opposite, mostly.

Watch all those pavements all over this sprawling urban slum of a capital. Motorbike riders, legions of them, see nothing wrong in using those pavements because they do not have the patience or the time or the decency to wait, like every other vehicle owner or rider, at the traffic lights.

Few, if any, motorbike riders use their helmets. One sees the helmets hanging by the side of the motorbike or is in the hand of the one riding pillion with the bike owner. The police see the whole thing. They do nothing. Our lawlessness is at an all-time high.

Here are a couple of more examples. Often it is a police vehicle itself that is making use of the wrong side of the road. And if there is a lawmaker or a minister in a car rushing down the wrong side of the road with nary a care in the world, one knows what one has to do: suffer in patience.

Our democratic order, one might be tempted to inform anyone who is willing to listen, is actually getting some fine tuning. The relatives of a dead hospital patient beat up doctors because they think the latter have been negligent in caring for the patient; doctors and interns then beat up journalists who are there to report on the incident. Policemen cheerfully land a few slaps on the face of a rickshawpuller for some minor transgression on the latter's part. They will not slap the driver of a car who may be making a similar mistake.

It is lawlessness pure and simple. People engage in jaywalking in this country all the time. The foot overbridges are there for everyone to go over to the other side of the road. But hardly anyone makes use of them. One cannot be bothered about the need to use those foot overbridges. One goes for the easy alternative by wriggling one's way through onrushing traffic or through all those vehicles halting at the traffic lights and achieving one's goal of gaining that pavement on the other side.

The law, you say? Where is the law? And whose responsibility is it to enforce the law, to instill some basic discipline in us?

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