Road manners

As it happens so often, a car was stopping on a main thoroughfare without any apparent reason, not bothering to drive into the parking lot to the left or looking for a quiet side road. The auto rickshaw driver in front of me had to stop behind the car and then tried to get into the traffic flow on the other lane. He kind of forced his way in – like everybody does.

His misfortune was: The car that had to slow down to not collide with the auto rickshaw was a police car, a fact the auto wallah apparently realised too late. As soon as the stopping car was overtaken, the auto wallah swung back in place. But now the policeman was angry. So he came next to the auto rickshaw and steered closer and closer, so that the tiny vehicle had to dodge more and more. I was directly behind the two and saw that on both sides of the auto rickshaw there were only centimeters left when the policemen finally ended his “I’m the boss of the road” showing of strength.

When I related the incident to my colleagues, they couldn’t understand me being upset. The situation on the roads now is quite okay, they reasoned, to what it was before. I apparently was completely different story before the TV channels started their 24/7 coverage and people, even scavenger, had cellphones to alert the journalists and were able to load up footage on social media sites. Back then policemen would routinely thrash offenders, or just beat them because they were not able to pay pribes, they told me. Technology and the possibility for normal people to spread what they have seen is a great form of supervision, a colleague said.

But still misbehaviour is happening. The Aam Aadmi Party recently published a clip from a cell phone of how two Delhi constables used their sticks, called lathis in India, to beat a guy in Lal Qila. Here’s the video.

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