Zindagi Ek Safar Hai Suhana…

                              (Road Safety Day: Let’s Make Streets Safer!!!)

Movie- Andaz…Handsome Rajesh Khanna riding a bullet with beautiful Hema Malini on the back seat, crooning this song by Kishore Kumar along a zigzag road!!! Whosoever has seen the song cannot miss these scenes clearly showing the mood of the song!

However, one also cannot miss some other things either …no helmets…showing risky stunts in the middle of a busy road…overtaking of other vehicles!!! In short, violation of all road safety rules and throwing all the precautionary measures out of the window!

But, it is a film after all and such acts look cool on the screen hence, are pardonable. Life is not a film and such acts can and do cost one’s life because as they say, “there are no retakes in real life!” In 2019 itself, India (1.51 lacs.) topped the list of deaths caused due to road accidents across the world. Most of these deaths occurred due to over-speeding and involved mostly two-wheelers.[1] Such deaths are tragic and painful indeed but more painful is the fact, that notwithstanding these mounting figures every year, people keep ignoring and violating road safety rules with impunity putting the life and limb of others and that of their own at a severe risk. Causing deaths due to rash and negligent driving is treated as culpable homicide not amounting to murder in India and is punishable under the Indian Penal Code (S. 304 A). Moreover, the Motor Vehicle Act, too, has been amended, time and again, to increase the punishment for violating road safety rules. However, even these stringent laws have failed to have the desired deterrent effect on vehicle drivers, who keep turning a blind eye to all the rule and regulations, which are in their own interest, for a momentary thrill and excitement.

One must not forget that law has its own limitations and cannot be of much help if people themselves prefer to remain deliberately unaware of it or keep exploiting the loopholes in the law for short-term benefits.

Zindagi (Life) is indeed a suhana safar (pleasantjourney) but only if it is lived and enjoyed without taking undue risks. It is an invaluable divine gift and deserves to be respected and preserved. Even if it is to be sacrificed, it should be for noble and highly justifiable reasons. It is never ever meant to be wasted on the roads!

[1] Megha Sood, “India had most deaths in road accidents in 2019: Report”, The Hindustan Times, Oct. 25,2020, available at: https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/india-had-most-deaths-in-road-accidents-in-2019-report/story-pikRXxsS4hptNVvf6J2g9O.html (Visited on January 11, 2021)

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