I’ve travelled through almost the whole of India, so take it from me that lack of public etiquette, especially spitting in public, isn’t peculiar to Delhi.
Wherever you go, nobody seems to know how to behave. And I don’t blame them for it. India is a nation in transition. Everyone — from the Mughals to the French, the Portuguese and the English — ravaged it for centuries.
And now, just a few decades after their departure, you expect the people of this country to be city smart? India is a nation rooted in villages: civic sense won’t come at the tug of a string.
My father hails from Benares and my mother from Kashmir. They were both doctors, so they instilled a sense of etiquette in me that I can’t shake off. But not everyone in the country is educated, not everyone can do that for their child.
I appreciate what (Home Minister) Mr Chidambaram has to say about the Capital, but has he seen his own state’s condition in this regard? It’s very easy for politicians and bureaucrats to pass the buck.
What’s with this sudden rush to seem civilised anyway? Have they bothered to ask their council of ministers and government bodies responsible for the Games how and why things came to this pass in the first place?
There’s a huge influx of people in the city everyday. It’s been going on for decades, but the government did not wake up to it then. So, why now?
If the common man is spitting on the road, aren’t the politicians spitting in our faces by willingly not delivering the necessary infrastructure to actually make the city a better place?
It’s mere delegation of blame. The government itself is in no position to pull off the Games properly. So it is trying to pin the blame on the common man.
It is the common man who gets stuck in huge traffic jams everyday and bears the brunt of price hikes. It is also he who falls prey to the terrorists’ attacks.
This city has a history of conflict and is resilient enough to overcome any challenge, so, politicians, stop pointing your finger at the Delhiite and do what you’re there for — making the city a better place to stay in. Do not lecture us about how you want us to behave.
(Dr Sen is lead singer of the band Euphoria, famous for songs like Dhoom and Maaeri.)