New Police Commissioner, new approach?

Today’s ET Madras Plus has an interview with the new Police Commissioner, who has a list of priorities including law and order. There was mention of increased night patrolling, better traffic management, community policing etc. I looked at all that he had to say eagerly, but alas, nowhere did he mention anything about traffic discipline through educating the public on what’s expected of them. Why is it that this always seems to escape our authorities? You want better traffic management? Tell everyone what’s expected of them. The chances are that many will follow, and others will soon follow them. The same goes for throwing rubbish and litter everywhere. Provide bins, then put up signs that educate and inform. Nepal, which used to be one giant rubbish bin, did just that and has managed an incredible transformation I am told. Years ago, when it was the done thing to spit in public in France, the city of Paris went on a drive to educate its citizens against this unhygienic habit, and managed to change the way people behaved. Time and again, it’s been proven that the best way to achieve improvements is by education, information and some discipline. But not here. We continue in the same old way, with the same old problems. Oh, for someone who would see the light and dare to approach things differently!

12 Comments so far

  1. Vivek (unregistered) on August 9th, 2007 @ 11:35 pm

    India is doomed man. Even 4th world countries like Nepal will improve. But never India. Politicians will never LET India improve. If India improves, they will lose their foot-hold. First thing is clean up the political system, then everything will automatically get cleaned. India is doomed

  2. Partha (unregistered) on August 10th, 2007 @ 12:01 am

    I am somewhat amused by the assumption that people need to be told what to do. What happened to discipline? On the other hand, I am not surprised by the prevailing trend. It does not seem to matter what the level of education of the individual may be.

    On a trip back to Chennai (a few years ago), I was waiting at the coffee shop inside Landmark to place my order. When the attendant came by, this man in three piece suit elbowed me to shout his order. I stood my ground and gave him a piece of my mind.

    The funny thing about Indians is that when we are caught doing something wrong we seem to shrink and disappear or worse grovel. The same thing happens at ticket counters at train stations.

  3. tsk tsk (unregistered) on August 10th, 2007 @ 12:28 am

    dude, why u so ticked off man. Hes just come in..give him some time.

    Personally, i think you live in one of the cleanest cities in the country.. you shouldnt be so upset. And you cannot compare chennai to paris. we dont have 1/20th of the social infrastructure of paris

  4. Navneeth (unregistered) on August 10th, 2007 @ 1:32 am

    But…but…we are Indians.

    As Partha says,”educating” people (and that too “urban” ones) on such basic issues is nothing short of funny.The sad part is, it needs to be done.

  5. potpourri (unregistered) on August 10th, 2007 @ 2:10 am

    We don’t need to have infrastructure like Paris to become cleaner and follow traffic rules. In the US, we keep seeing these signboards everywhere about increased security (I agree these guys are paranoid to the extent, it makes me want to puke but still..). If they put up signboards about using the garbage or following traffic rules , I’m sure people will start following it.
    But having said that, IMHO, the main reason for disorder is too much population. David, you visit NYC often right? Have you noticed that the Penn station is super dirty along with several other subway stations and that it stinks in many places in “The Great New York City”? why? t is because of high conc. of people in a small area.. every inch of India is like that. it is very difficult to achieve what the Western countries have achieved in the dept. of cleanliness. They have plenty of land and very less people, it is very easy to do it.
    Talking of New York, I got elbowed there while in a ticket counter, so its just not us in India who resort to such unpleasantness, but any person living in a crowded area where he/she has to fight for resources :)

  6. Vivek (unregistered) on August 10th, 2007 @ 10:50 am

    @ TSK-TSK,
    Been there…done that man. They are all same crooks. I see it this way, if he is honest, he cannot be in that position. He is the leader, and will be leading a bunch of uniformed rowdies.

  7. udayms (unregistered) on August 10th, 2007 @ 12:27 pm
  8. udayms (unregistered) on August 10th, 2007 @ 2:31 pm

    I agree with Partha on many of his statements. Humans do not do anything unless they are forced to or it is drilled into them that the act is a sin.

    Like the joke goes – “Many people are alive today, just because its a crime to kill them.” Thats Human tendency. They are perfectly ok with committing a crime unless they are sure to get caught and punished. If they can get away with it, they will break every rule in the book.

    Lets take the example of Red Signal. Everyone out there knows that we have to stop when the signal is red. And how many drivers actually do that when no policeman is around? This is not an issue of education or knowledge. This is an issue of utter disregard to the law.

    Then again, Law also says that “Ignorance of law is not an excuse for committing a crime.” I cannot kill someone and then say that I didn’t know it was a crime to kill him. So, Ignorance cannot be quoted as an excuse.

    I believe the problem is the authorities here. They have to be strict. They have to forget corruption for at least a few months and actually punish traffic violators instead of trying to catch them only for money.

    Once the public understands that if they commit a traffic crime, they would be caught and punished, 95% of the traffic violators would stop it. There will always be the 5% morons who don’t care for the law or the country because someone they know is into politics. I guess we can safely ignore them. Once 95% of the population drives properly, the remaining 5% will have to follow.

  9. David (unregistered) on August 10th, 2007 @ 10:04 pm

    Quite an interesting bit.

    well, usually when we are in our hometown, we rarely think about keeping it clean, following rules or doing anything that help rather than pollute..

    But the same person once overseas makes sure that he/she follows rules, walks only on the pavement, adheres to road rules..

    Wonder why that difference??

    I think its something more than education that is the problem. Its just a sense of ignorance. India has been like junk all this while, so why be the good samaritan to clean up this shit is the thought..


  10. Vivek (unregistered) on August 10th, 2007 @ 10:42 pm

    Good one man. Thats exactly it.

  11. Thad E. Ginathom (unregistered) on August 11th, 2007 @ 11:36 pm

    “Telling people what to do” is also known as education.

    Discipline, in many aspects of life here simply does not exist.

  12. Benedict (unregistered) on August 12th, 2007 @ 11:32 am

    Hi David,
    It always good to focus on small things that can trigger of the bigger ones. Fixing the broken widow pane on time can probably stop a major robbery. Keeping the place clean will surely bring in a lot of sterility in the thought process too. It really beats me when even the Government machinery is determined to be reactive.
    Maybe democratic India has reached a stage when these issues need to dealt in the public domain and allow the Government run parallel programs that may or may not be consequential to the society.

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