by Rupa Ghadi
Any feasts/religious get together are a great social gathering. There is a different wave of happiness not only amongst the kids to see the little fair set up in the village, different items of choice to be bought, relatives gifting toys and sweets but for elders who seem to be gathering only for this reason to celebrate with their near and dear ones. Amongst all this fun there are a large number of miscreants who not only create trouble but endanger the life of so many innocent people.
Unfortunately a similar scenario was witnessed yesterday at Kakti, where the village is celebrating Laxmi Jatra. Any such social gatherings call for preparations not only by the residents but also the gram panchayat in coordination with security forces and other governmental departments and the preparations were visible last night. The struggle of the officers on duty trying very hard to control inflow and outflow of huge number of visitors was commendable.
What was disheartening was the misconception of “Jatra” amongst people visiting their relatives. These black hats were already boozed and driving to the fullest capacity of their vehicle. As we entered the service road that leads to the village, the sight of two wheelers and four wheelers parked at the side of this narrow service lane and tiny mobile lights twinkling in the amidst of fields was a common sight. Need not be explained as to why these people were there with crates of bottles. This was highly disturbing and annoying sight to be narrated. I could not keep this question out of my mind, “Is religion an excuse for breaking the law?”
Yes, drinking and driving was a major concern to me but the sight on my return back was even more horrifying, an ambulance stuck in traffic for nearly 20 minutes due to wrongly parked vehicles. Belagavi is probably used to seeing vehicles in no parking areas, trying to hunt for shortcut by driving in opposite direction on one ways and a very common scene at all the railway gates that is blocking completely by leaving no room for the other side of the traffic to clear.
A similar situation was to be witnessed last night. Traffic police and the security personnel trying hard to convince people to make way for the ambulance but these maniacs trying to escape through the clearance gap; after a lot of yelling amidst the honking noise did they manage to move the ambulance inch by inch until a group of young boys intervened and forcibly stopped these maniacs from moving ahead until the ambulance made its way. The situation was so very chaotic. While I just breathed a sigh of relief another emergency situation cropped up. Suddenly, there was a panicking cry from a mother whose child fell unconscious in her arms. While I stopped to offer help, the child seemed to have an epileptic attack. After about a two minutes time the child regained consciousness. Although I am not sure but I did read that noise and flashing lights trigger seizures amongst babies and probably this was what happened here.
The purpose of me penning this today is the crowd that gathered there was not an illiterate mob. Probably every individual did have a basic secondary school education. The vehicles parked showed that people were from good economic background and hence I assume they all do understand the meaning of social responsibility. Yet I found myself in a situation where within 20 minutes two lives were endangered and the endangering continued throughout the night. A feast called upon to rejoice could have turned to mourning in several homes. Have we humans lost our emotional empathy? Or is it that our educational system is lacking to imbibe the moral values? Are we literate?
What I witnessed last night was not just a mishap but it was a big question to humanity. The question that, do we still believe that man is a social animal or it is just that the word “social” needs to be deleted going forward?
I am still trying to find an answer to this ..