Vijay K. Saluja
Last week, I did an article `DELHI IS CRYING-Points to Ponder`. In the said article, I, briefly touched about tortuous traffic jams, resulting in stresses of various kinds to the daily commuters of every denomination- ranging from very influential/ powerful politicians, bureaucrats, diplomats, businessmen, professionals, policy makers, media personnels, visitors from abroad to aam aadmi .
Though, the problem of traffic bottlenecks & snarls is all over Delhi, but to illustrate the anguish & stress of the daily journey, I gave examples of two stretches-RTR stretch & Mahipalpur stretch with a purpose, as these two stretches are invariably used by all the influential persons, who use the airports[national & international] & the aam aadmi.
In order to stress the need of planning for a livable city & thus the optimum size of any city, which could cater to the needs of the residents in a very comfortable & safe environs, I gave example of my personal experience of my life, in New Delhi area of seventies, eighties & nineties, where I happened to live. Though, life, then, in other areas of Delhi[contained city at that time]-Karol Bagh, Patel Nagar, Rajouri Garden, Tilak Nagar, Janakpuri, Chandani Chowk, Daryaganj, Civil lines, Model Town, then NDSE, Defence Colony etc etc was also peaceful& commuting to various places was delightful & safe journey, even on Lambretta & Vespa?!
One could easily go on scooter, to many parts of the city, with the wife on the pillion & little gawking son/daughter standing between your legs. Commuting was safe, then. Distances were small. There was not much traffic. Cars-Ambassador & Fiat were the primary vehicles of the Influential/wealthy. The Govt patronized Ambassador for many many years-even till now, because of its space-within , relatively bigger size & thicker steel plate, used for its body.
But now, that state of commuting & sight on Delhi roads is only in our wistful memories or in the imagination/ dreams of the younger lot.
After doing the article, I forwarded the same, to some of my dear friends & members of some of the e-groups of the alumni associations/civil society & a few other opinion-policy makers.
Purpose-To involve all the right-minded who are eager/willing to make a difference in various facets of the present Delhi which is now choked roads/parking lots, markets/malls office complexes colonies, spaces in various societies ,industrial areas etc etc. & many of them are trying already to contribute their mite in making the existing state of the city, improve.
To my very pleasant surprise-believe me, there have, been very very enthusiastic responses-very positive, too .A few responses also did educate me about the image, they[the readers, have in their mind/ perception[ not so happy, I am afraid to say] of the readers- about the govt. officials, politicians, policy makers etc etc?!
Though, many also did not respond/bother to comment, considering perhaps, the same[ my article] a trivial exercise & issues discussed, therein, did not bother them?!
Being ex-govt. officer, I also got the flak, too. Well. well.
We, the govt. officers are responsible for this image-building & need to urgently, do some thing to bring about change in their [ some of the reader` minds] & in the minds of the general public.
How to go about it, what needs to be done in simple manner to make a difference in your neighbourhood/colony/city, I will discuss, in the next part of my article.
Some can/may ask-Why I am doing it? Am I the` GURU` or a leader? What is my locus standi ? Some may even think-there must be some personal interests, that is why, he is writing, etc etc??!.
Well, Yes I have PERSONAL INTEREST & that is- let us make our colony./city a better place & roads-safer avenues.
This is the way-WE, ALL CAN GIVE BACK TO THE SOCIETY,TO THE [HAVES] HAVE NOTS & CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE, FOR THE POSITIVE.. Believe me- most of the govt. officials, the politicians, the media personnels , will give you all the support, for your efforts, which will be soul-satisfying, too.!! This is my experience. U all may be having similar/some experiences.
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Writer is a Senior Fellow, Institute of Social Sciences-New Delhi