Tragic, horrifying and absolute despair inducing is what least can describe the ‘order of the day’ accidents in Jammu and Kashmir. The Kishtwar road accident on July 1 which exacted a toll of about 35 persons’ lives including 15 women calls both for collective mourning and an urgent introspection. No horrific measure of loss of lives wakes us up to learn lessons and think of and devise strategies to plan our tomorrow better than we did today or had done yesterday.
It’s high time that the civil society and the administration (yes , in that order) delve deeper within their souls and employ the faculty of reason to their best to find a durable solution to the juggernaut of problems devouring precious humans up on a daily basis. When a road mishap takes place, its plain naive to pin the blame on just the person driving the vehicle. We all are to blame for any such mishap in varying degrees. We all are collectively responsible for making a mess of the lives of others. And our share of responsibility is proportionate to the degree we have wreaked havoc in other people’s lives.
The questions that must be posed are: how have things come to such a pass and what can be done to remedy these? The answer to the former is illegal infringements on roads designated for usage by general masses, by not having a good transport facility mechanism in place and giving in to materialistic pursuits and eating into the rights of others and by no less than the monster of corruption. There is certainly not any dearth of resources that we build our own castles and cocoons and not think of the miseries of others.
Allah has given us life and He has created ample bounties for all His creation (not just humans) to thrive and survive. We have very sickeningly fallen into the abyss of materialism and that is primarily how we are ruining of others’ lives. Take the case of this fateful Kishtwar accident: the bus having about 30 seater capacity is reported to have on board more than 50 passengers which used to be the norm all across the state until about a decade back when smaller vehicles (Sumos, Taveras etc ) were not in vogue. Taking a cue from this overloading, companies like Fevicol designed advertisement campaigns showing as many people hanging on to a automobile as possible could be pasted using Fevicol.
If this huge loss awakens in us an iota of sense, sensibility and responsibility, the traffic department has a lot of soul searching on its conscience. Such l accidents should sound an alarm through the ranks of the police deployment especially manning the risky terrains. An accountability mechanism needs to be put in place to fix responsibility for all those who are supposed to ensure safety and protection of commuters. The erring drivers and bus conductors must be taken to task for their share of responsibility. Common people also have to have the sense of seeing to it that they don’t become the source of taking their as well as others’ lives. All the means of transport are designed by engineers after taking into account all the nitty gritty of the product at hand. Unfortunately, we throw all caution to winds and let our own greed overwhelm our sense and conscience.
Ours is relatively prosperous region. Yet material greed blinds our sense of living a life based on human and religious principles. That’s why when 9 passengers are due, we stuff 12 or more and where only 30 or so can be accommodated, we have passengers hanging by the exits of the buses. And this aggression is not limited to our transport only, you name any field and we let our greedy self take precedence over every other thing. This greed for more and more is making us slaves of money and ostentatious consumption. We will have a world class castle built for us but we won’t have a well built road leading us there. That’s where we collectively fail as a society. If we aren’t paying taxes, we are a party to the crime of accidents. If we encroach upon public properties, if we illegally construct our comfort zones on places and roads meant for public, we must share the blame of a mishap which occurs due to our greed and negligence.
It is very painful to lose precious lives in frequent accidents. It will do us a lot of good if we genuinely delve deeper and not call these accidents ‘accidents’ for they aren’t so if we don’t learn lessons and chalk out a course which results in minimizing and better still putting an end to these depressing mishaps.
—Anjum Husain <firstname.lastname@example.org