September 05, 2011

postAnna, #2

The second in an occasional series.

Seen today on a narrow but car-heavy one way street: a grey Honda Civic, driving at high speed the wrong way.

Also today: somebody I know called a foreign exchange dealer to ask about buying some said exchange for an upcoming trip abroad. The dealer said: if you want it officially, X is the price, bring a copy of your passport and ticket and I'll give you a bill. But if you want it unofficially, Y (about a rupee less than X) is the price. No bill.


Previous: postAnna, #1.


Anonymous said...

The extra rupee will go to the corrupt politicians in the govt so why pay? As for the wrong way not-civic - the proper way is too long and congested due to road money eaten by ... you get the drift. It's the corrupt who made them do it!

Aditya said...

And you dear anon 3:55pm, hiding behind that anonymous shield are actually trying to defend get the drift.

Anonymous said...

Aditya: Well no - I am not defending the ... if you ketch my drift... I am tryin to get DDD to stop picking on the couriers alone and go after the kingpins as well. The corruption flows from the top. He is simply rounding up "the usual suspects".

As for being anonymous - as I have said before in this column, lots of things in real life happen that way so get used to it now if you haven't discovered that fact yet.

Dilip D'Souza said...

"Corruption flows from the top". Excellent way to evade any responsibility. Next time I see somebody jumps a red light, I'll go up to him and say "Don't worry, you did nothing wrong, because corruption flows from the top."

Anonymous said...

DDD: Thanks. Arresting the couriers does not stop the drugs from flowing. It only makes the police look good. How about aiming higher than light jumpers and ganga defecators? Or is that sort of stuff beyond the scope of this blog?

Suresh said...


During the heydays of prohibition in America, prohibition laws were broken casually, partly because the government did not enforce the laws very strictly. If you believe Wikipedia, there were between 30,000 to 100,000 "speakeasy clubs" in New York alone!

Were the American people "corrupt" during the prohibition era? Given what you say, the answer would appear to be yes: after all, there was a law in place which was being disobeyed. It then follows that the moral standards miraculously improved once prohibition was repealed in December 1933. I don't find this at all satisfying.

There may be a link between public corruption and the fact that people don't obey traffic rules, smoke where they are not supposed to, and so on. However, the link is far from clear, at least to me.

I am reminded of Kaushik Basu's statement to the effect that a law works best when it legitimizes a consensus already present in society. Otherwise, we can have a law which is ineffective simply because everyone agrees to ignore it. This is probably what happens to many of our laws. Let alone traffic rules, have we ended untouchability? Or dowry?

Radhika Misra said...

We as a society are unmindful of other people's needs.

at a simple level, the narrow car heavy one way street is one way to ease the flow of traffic. surely, most people want a hassle free commute? Surely, most people want to be safe and not be hit by a fast moving vehicle. The Honda person I am not so sure of. He/ she probably reached his destination quicker than everyone else (or not at all, given the speed...!), but what about the others inconvenienced by his grab and hog of the road?

this sense of entitlement and "i can get away with it" feeling encourages people to break more rules and engage in antisocial activities. Traffic rules or others.


Anonymous said...

Dear Aditya - one of the beauties of Anonymity is that it forces people like you to judge the comment/argument/idea on its merits rather than who is making the statement. The fact that someone named 'D'Souza' always goes after Hindu Nationalists, even if his arguments are sane and rational, will always result in the assumption of bias. If you really truly want to use the internet as a medium to discuss an idea, you wouldn't care if you were speaking to someone who was Anonymous, or even faking their identity - because it is the issue that counts. But clearly, you find it easier to accuse someone of being a 'coward' than to address their argument. It is an old attempt to evade debating. Furthermore, in a place like India, where freedom of speech is some mythical construct, it would be shame if someone got persecuted simply for speaking their mind on a web site. But I guess not everybody shares that mentality....

Anonymous said...

Yes Dilip your answer is precisely the answer that everybody uses to justify their actions, because guess what - Leaders are supposed to lead. But it is easier for you to target the usual suspects, as I already mentioned.

Anonymous said...

So let's see. If the law says that 'Dogs and Indians not allowed' inside a club, but we allow some Indians in - does that make us corrupt? What about a law that says the government has the right to seize your property and hand it over a large industrial concern. If we refuse to part with that land, does that make us corrupt?

Apparently, law-breaking = corruption in your utopian world.

DegeSMS said...

Politicians same like their public.

Radhika Misra said...

Anonymous Sahab, there is such a thing as common sense.

Driving the wrong way, when *most people* expect no speeding vehicle to emerge from the opposite side is not very clever. It is wrong, stupid and dangerous. The fact that the guy in the Honda does it indicates that:

1) S/he doesn't care about other people's safety or convenience and
2) S/he expects to get away with it (the breaking of the rule as well as the potential accident)

By not addressing these seemingly small misdemeanors, the state and the people send out the message that its ok to do stuff like this as no one will know / care / do anything about it.

I do believe that this is how it starts and will continue unless a shift in character takes place.

The list of stupid laws is long and heavy. But that is NOT the point.