Drunk Driving is Hazardous. And so is Sleeping on Roads.

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Though Salman Khan fully deserved the punishment he got from the court, pavement sleepers can't be entirely freed from liability in the infamous accident case.


One needs to decide what was the case about - Salman Khan killing someone or Salman Khan driving drunk.

What if Salman Khan wasn't drunk. What if it had just been a brake-failure or steering-jam. If you have driven a car, you'd know, jamming you car into the pavement is the safest way to stop an out-of-control vehicle.

Though it didn't happen like this, that could have happened too, to somebody else, possibly to a non-celebrity. Probably somebody could have tried to avoid the pavement sleepers and rammed the vehicle into a boulder or a pole, and had gotten seriously injured, or dead.

When people sleep on the pavements, which by the way, aren't that large, or that high, accidents are just waiting to happen. And all Indian cities live with such hazards everyday.

Just because you're poor, it doesn't give you a right to own the pavement. It's not your personal property. Singer Abhijeet may have presented a crudely put argument on twitter in most insensitive words - but he did make this point right.
Across the world, the pavement is considered a cushion for an uncontrolled vehicle. Drunk driving is a crime everywhere, and rightly so, but when you drive at night, hundered different circumstances can cause an accident. At that time, what nobody needs is people sleeping on roads. It's a practical argument, not political.
City life can't always successfully tip-toe around those who refuse to follow the rules. Yes, even for the ones without means. You can't argue against laws using guilt.
Sleeping on the roads is hazardous behaviour. Not just for themselves but others too. Salman Khan deserved more punishment, sure, but that is just one side of the coin.
There're many who'd bleed (only in words) and argue, what else would they do? Where would the gareeb aadmi sleep? Well, first, not on the road. May be in the parks, on the beach, stairs of a temple - or better, back in the village, where they can afford a roof.

Secondly, to the bleeding hearts, would you appreciate if random gareeb aadmi, jump your fences, in your lawns, start sleeping at nights and shitting in mornings? Compassion becomes useless when it becomes a roadblock to governance.
Shelter homes is an answer. But government response has been less than satisfactory in running sheltor homes for the poor. But the counter argument holds water as well - there's limit to which the population of a city can grow. It can't be supported indefinitely. A city can't become just a large shelter home. Nvertheless, 'shelterhomes' still need to be worked upon, with added effort. 
However, one big cause of failure for such steps is that poor who sleep on the road, also work on the road. It's a means of earning too, and it's convenient to sleep where you work. But should this convenience should be a hurdle for basic road safety?

All cities work around rules and boundaries. 

You put enough such rule breakers, and you can break any city beyond repair. And no amount of guilt would change that. In India such scenario is very real - ask those who are running the metros.

No matter how many dole-outs you give, and free houses you construct to rehabilitate, they keep coming. New slums keep popping up, with it comes more crime, more chaos, more poverty.
I know, it's an arrogant argument. At least prima facie. But when you vote people to solve real world problems, they have to think of practical solutions, and not just what sounds fair in a TV debate.
It's an argument of turf-war. Those with means, those who pay taxes, to claim their share of space.

You may say, Why must they not feel the guilt of asking such a thing? Ofcourse they're blessed to have means to talk like this? Where would the poor man go?

But wait a minute.

This is not the only turf-war we know of. It happens every time, when the city-dwellers step into the rural world too. From culture to economical, rural India, tribal India, doesn't yield easily either.

One should visit relatively new cities like Gurgaon and Noida - city dwellers, still walk in the shade of fear, they know they're encroaching. Cultural collision, economic collision is not silent. It is loud.

I think we should drop the pretense.
Drinking and driving is hazardous. But so is jaywalking and sleeping on the roads. Accidents do happen when drivers are non-drunk too - human error, night time, low visibility. Sidewalk is never a safe place to sleep - when you're on road and road-adjacent, you're supposed to be alert, and not asleep.
A more responsible society would discipline the pavement dweller too. It is not a question of mere convenience, but safety on road and road adjacent, for the poor man too.

PS: And as far as drunk driving is concerned, why wake up after an accident? Why not handle driving-under-influence more strictly, even when there's no casualty? 5 years should be the punishment for driving under influence alone, that's how you put a strong deterrent.

Written by Ishaan Mohan Bagga

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Indian Exponent: Drunk Driving is Hazardous. And so is Sleeping on Roads.
Drunk Driving is Hazardous. And so is Sleeping on Roads.
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