Monday, August 29, 2005

It takes more than the weather to call a place home

It takes more than the weather to call a place home
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Bangaloreans were recently held hostage by a group of lawyers, protesting against “harassment” of a fellow advocate by a police officer. Innocent passers-by and motorists were targeted.

Once such victim, who was caught in the violence with his young daughter, writes about the terrifying experience and explains why a fine climate and beautiful gardens alone are not enough to make a city sought after.

My name is Rajan Warrier and we have relocated from Australia to India few years ago. On coming back, the decision was as to where to settle down. We chose Bangalore for three main reasons.

My wife, Prabha grew up here, Bangalore has the most temperate weather, which is closest to Sydney, where we lived and finally everyone said it is such a great place to live.

Today, I am forced to look at our decision again. Yes, thankfully the weather is still pretty good and Prabha’s family still lives here and that is the end of any positive points going for this city.

Taxes and prices are the highest, politicians are corrupt, roads are the worst and the worst of all, traffic is a nightmare.

The other day my son had a school project. Topic “Are Indians patriotic”. We decided, instead of saying Yes or No, to define patriotism. This is what we came up with.

Patriotism is all about standing tall and being proud of your country, caring for the environment, doing ones duty with selflessness and pride, is about caring about others and their property, is about compassion and clean politics, is about good manners and politeness at home and out side, is about kindness, truth, honesty, integrity and ethics, is about helping others rather than hurting them, is went on. In short, patriotism is all about being responsible citizen.

If I was not born an Indian with strong believes in Fate and Karma, I don’t know how many days or weeks or months I would have survived here. Everything I see is contradictory to the above patriotic test but we still march around by shouting and claiming “Mera Bharat Mahan”, and go about doing all the wrong things to our own motherland.

The terrible truth came recently. We were caught in a traffic jam created by lawyers who were upset about their friends being mistreated by a police officer. They blocked the traffic to protest without caring whether an emergency ambulance could be one of those vehicles or some one could be rushing for an important meeting that could make or break theirs and their family’s life.

After being redirected by the police thru the Martha Hospital, to mine and my 11-year-old daughter’s bad luck, we landed amongst the striking lawyers desperately trying to get back home.

What happened the next 10-15 minutes has totally destroyed my respect and faith in the lawyer community. We were surrounded by some very rowdy lawyers still in their official capes and uniforms. They started abusing us and kicking and punching our car violently. They wanted to get me out of the car and do what, only God knows!

My daughter was so frightened she was crying and telling them to let us go. This had no effect at all on those violent mobsters, who continued merrily to have fun at the expense of innocent citizens.

Now if this is how the officers who are supposed to protect the innocent and uphold law can behave, no matter what the grievances are, I have totally lost my faith in the system. Gandhi says, “An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind”.

He also said: “I will die for a just cause but I am not prepared to kill for any cause”. What is lacking in our country today is that in the last 50 odd years, with over a billion people, we have not been able to produce a single leader like the Gandhi, Patel or whoever else we consider as great leaders.

“If you don’t stand for anything, you will fall for anything and what happened at the lawyers’ agitation was a demonstration of this. A bunch of people with no passion or direction in life!

Where will we go and complain, how do I console my frightened daughter that humanity is still not all that bad and she is still safe on the road on the way to her school. How does one remove the scar that was created by this ugly incident yesterday!

What is worse is the fact that the police big brass were present when all this was happening and none interfered.

Thanks to some decent lawyers, finally we managed to escape from there and were driving home with my daughter sobbing and shaking away. What restored my faith in humanity little bit was another lawyer who came up to us on his scooter and apologised on behalf of his lawyer fraternity.

That was so heart warning to know that at the end there are still more good in this world than bad. I believe if the law fraternity has any self respect, they should take the few miscreants amongst them who bring shame and bad name to them to task.

They should not be allowed to practice law in god’s name ever, so that they cannot hide in those cloaks and get away with acts like these. It is always a few that bring disgrace and shame to all of us and we are better off without them.

Here is a letter that my daughter wanted to write.

Dear Sir,

My name is Anjali Warrier and I am 11 years old studying in the 5th standard in Vidya Shilp School. I am writing this letter because of what happened yesterday. Me and my dad were in our car and the road was blocked.

The police asked us to go thru the St Martha’s hospital campus and then my father took a left turn to get out of that place fast. Then we saw a crowd of lawyers. Not knowing what is happening, my father went through them.

At this point they started to kick our car and shout at us. It was so scary and I started crying and begging them to let us go. But no one did anything about it. I am so ashamed to see lawyers behave like this. I hope some one will take some action.


At Monday, August 29, 2005 at 11:39:00 PM GMT+5:30, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My apologies to the Warrier family on behalf of the "few" lawyers whose actions were definitely wrong an unacceptable. Right now I am in the US and I keep looking at things that happen in "my" city bangalore, but actions like these are certainly disturbing and bring shame to all of us who have the best intention to make bangalore one of the greatest places to live in.
Though they were agitating against the system, in support of their colleague who was a victim of the accident, the "means" was definitely not any sane person would opt for.I guess healthier awareness among the people is the best solution. Hope such things dont repeat ever again and tarnish images of a city that has already been taking a lot of abuses of lately.


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