Beware, speeding drivers! The talking gods can see you... and they’ll stop you | more lifestyle | Hindustan Times
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Beware, speeding drivers! The talking gods can see you... and they’ll stop you

Shivji, Ganapati Bappa, Devi Saraswati... the deities of the Hindu pantheon are here to put the brakes on bad driving. This unique initiative by an automobile-related website is aimed at saving lives by tapping into spirituality.

more lifestyle Updated: Jul 16, 2017 11:44 IST
Prerna Gauba
The talking idol of Ganapati sits on a car dashboard, monitoring whether the driver is within speed limit or not.
The talking idol of Ganapati sits on a car dashboard, monitoring whether the driver is within speed limit or not.

In a country where only images of deities can stop men from peeing on every available wall, it stands to reason that the gods might also be able to put the brakes on bad driving.

Vehicles going at breakneck speed are a common sight on the roads of Delhi NCR. In some of them, Sai Baba or Shivji or Ganeshji or Devi Saraswati would be telling the drivers: “Your soul is permanent, your body is not. Drive slowly”, or “Why are you in a hurry to meet me, child? Drive slow, drive safe.”

This is a unique initiative undertaken by an automobile-related website, which is selling small idols of gods carrying recorded messages. The idol sits above the dashboard and it is connected to the speedometer by a wire — since this is meant for city driving, the idol responds to speeds above 60kmph. Each Talking God idol is priced at Rs 6,500. The profit from the sale of Talking Gods will be used for causes such as supporting orphanages and underprivileged children.

Sandeep Aggarwal, owner of Droom, the company that has launched the campaign, says, “Delhi tops the list of fatalities due to road accidents. In 2015, the number was 1,622. So we came up with this campaign. Indians are spiritual and god-fearing, so we thought the idea will work.”

‘There’s a power protecting me’

One user, who got a Ganapati idol installed in his car last month, feels better for it. “Having Ganpatiji on my dashboard reminds me that there’s a power protecting me always when I’m on the road,” says the IT professional, who works in Gurgaon. A businessman from Delhi, who is not very spiritual but still owns a Sai Baba talking idol, says, “It’s a mixture of technology and faith. It has been three weeks since I have bought the idol. I like it.”

‘Anything that ensures speed limit is good’

A.K. Singh, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Delhi Police, says that this can be an effective idea. “Anything that helps one stay within the speed limit is good. It can be a god’s idol or one’s kid’s picture. Whatever helps in keeping a check and falls under legal guidelines is good,” he says.

‘This could be a distraction, though’

However, psychologist Gorav Gupta says that a reminder like this may not perform any miracles when it comes to curbing accidents. “God doesn’t govern our behaviour on a daily basis. I think that such a pre-recorded message can also be distracting at times, and once a driver gets distracted, it can lead to higher instances of road accidents,” he says. Dr Kamna Chibber, psychologist at Fortis La Femme, is of a similar view. She says, “Different people react to situations differently, so I really doubt if the placement of any figure will bring about any change.”