Accidents are secular in nature, not Punjabi | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Accidents are secular in nature, not Punjabi

This fortnight PBN wants to draw your attention to a very crucial issue which is one of the leading causes of death in the state of Punjab. After all the intent of Punjabi by Nature (PBN) has always been to challenge the status quo and if the column hasn’t been thought provoking enough then I reckon it has failed its call of duty. Writes Khushwant Singh.

chandigarh Updated: Jul 27, 2014 08:09 IST
Khushwant Singh

This fortnight PBN wants to draw your attention to a very crucial issue which is one of the leading causes of death in the state of Punjab. After all the intent of Punjabi by Nature (PBN) has always been to challenge the status quo and if the column hasn’t been thought provoking enough then I reckon it has failed its call of duty.

Let us for a moment divert our attention from the ongoing conflict at Gaza, the tragic death of 400 plus airline passengers on the Malaysian Airlines plane MH17 or the SGPC versus Haryana government issue to the treacherous and killer roads of Punjab where at least 13 people die every day.

These roads are becoming the biggest gobblers of lives and it is high time we realized that and did something about it. In fact some would argue that the uncertainty of travelling on Punjab’s roads nowadays is higher than it was in the peak days of militancy as accidents have no hit list. Unlike other forms of violence in India, accidents are secular and do not differentiate between class and caste. One wrong move by you or the other driver and you are dead meat.

This deadly situation is a perfect case for us to start making a fuss about the deteriorating road safety conditions while obeying traffic rules ourselves; after all a good traffic sense is the least PBN expects from its readers. I’m sure this column’s readers are not like those dimwit Punjabis who think crossing a red light or disobeying a rule is Punjabi Pride. And yes, no driving drunk please as this ‘main theek haan’ (I am ok), syndrome after consuming alcohol is the most dangerous.

Coming back to the tragic stories that accidents provide to newspapers, my question is that how long can we keep grieving over the loss of lives that were meant to flourish? Especially when the remedy is a non brainer, that is, enforcing rules. And believe me you don’t need money to implement rules, only a strong will.

Just because successive governments have patronised bad traffic does not mean that we don’t raise our voice against this growing highway terrorism. When I say patronising, I mean the government’s willful ignorance of such critical matters which can be seen as a form of assistance. I personally believe that sorting out this menace is more important to the people than the issue of who manages which religious place. Yes, it is that serious. Politics is of no concern to a parent who has lost a child and a family its breadwinner.

Let me throw at you some statistics- According to a WHO statistic, India leads the world in road accident deaths and there is one fatal accident every 3.7 minute. And did you know that most of the deaths are amongst young people between the age group of 1529? Statistics also suggest most of the killed are either pedestrians or cyclists and many of them are the bread earners of their respective families. In other words someone crushed under your SUV or one of the reckless buses owned by these politicians could have be the sole bread earner of a family. PBN is not getting bureaucratic here and launching itself into a debate of causes and remedies of accidents as this column has a clear agenda. There is growing number of deaths on the highways and the policy makers better do something about it as accidents spare no one. Not even the ones with the red ghugoos (red beacons).

Here is some Pub philosophy-During my visit to Windsor in UK I read a very meaningful message on a pub which I thought of sharing with the readers. It said, “Dedicated to life, liberty ,food, drinks & other less serious matters.”