Hoarse, but determined voices emanating from a group of 25 theatre-activists are seeking to educate visitors about road rage amid the meanest machines in the world at this year’s Auto Expo under way at Pragati Maidan.
“Everyone has different ways of learning, so there should be different ways of teaching,” said Shilpi Marwaha (21), street play in-charge, Asmita Theatre Group. “What better way could there be to improve the condition on Delhi’s angry roads than to try and educate the minds behind the wheels?” asked Marwaha.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates the total number of accidents for every 1,000 vehicles in India as high as 35 as against 4/1000 in developed nations.
According to figures released by the Delhi Police, offences such as speeding and dangerous driving saw an increase of 15.66 per cent and 78.66 per cent, respectively in 2009.
With these harrowing statistics in the background and ‘street theatre’ as its weapon of choice, one of the most popular Hindi theatre groups in the country, Asmita, in collaboration with Maruti Suzuki, has decided to push for change.
“We reach Pragati Maidan every day around 9 am and have at least five performances each day,” said Marwaha a recent commerce graduate from Delhi University.
The background of each member is as varied as the themes that run through each 12-minute performance.
“The group has everyone from students to working executives and we talk about everything from over-speeding and creating a nuisance on the road to the frustration central to the culture of a metropolitan city and road accidents,” said Marwaha.
Taking a leaf from some of the most sensational cases of road-rage and accidents reported from both the capital and the NCR in recent times, the group modifies every performance based on the feedback received from the audience.
“Maruti Suzuki has been active for more than a decade as far as safe driving is concerned,” said a senior Maruti Suzuki spokesperson.
“We have two Institutes of Driving Training and Research in the city which have trained about 5.2 lakh people (predominantly commercial drivers) till date,” he said.