Disrespect for Rules

I was visiting the International Airport last night at Mumbai to see someone off.

There was, as usual, large crowds of people and a long queue of cars in 3 different columns proceeding towards the gates in the departure area, and as is to be expected, chaos reigning all around. Any newcomer would be taken aback with the mess all around and would be nonplussed. Finding the queue one has to join after locating the appropriate gate to enter, is itself, an art. And those folks who go to the wrong gates and join the wrong queues, would invariably find that they got to repeat their experience elsewhere at the right gate and queue !

While there are a number of CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) personnel manning the traffic and the gates, it is easy for anyone to see that their presence is not very impactful, not because they are not doing their job, but because almost everyone ignores them or their guidance/mandates. Ignorance as well as disrespect for rules are built into every Indian’s psyche. Indians either do not understand the need for rules in public places, or they think (obviously) that any existing rules do not apply to them.

What was shocking to witness last night (at least for me) was the sheer disregard to a rule which was applied in someone’s case.

At Gate No. ‘D’, a bloke has parked his rather old sedan car and gone away for quite some time. This is a strict no-parking zone, with atleast half a dozen CISF folks manning the area, given that Gate ‘D’ marks the end of the passageway in front of the Departure area, and then the road leads one down to the exit. There is a premium parking area adjacent to this point and usually it is always full.

Now this bloke’s car was not towed away, but the authorities put in a clamp so that he could not drive away without paying a hefty fine. But did that deter the bloke and his boisterous friends (I was just standing close to this parked car, waiting for my car to come and pick me up). They all came, observed the clamps, determined that the clamps can be broken or pulled away as they did not appear to be huge ones, pulled the clamps out (don’t know how they managed to do that !), and drove their car away in the process climbing over one of the dismantled clamps. The CISF folks and other parking attendants observed the whole thing but did not even attempt to do anything – may be they were scared !

But I can understand such an event happening in Delhi, but in Mumbai ? I was really surprised. This was an outlandish act against the rule of no-parking in a high-security area with heavy monitoring by CISF who carry big guns.

What to say ?

Such behaviour is despicable and totally disregards the law of the land.

But we seem to be tolerating such behaviour with no action being taken against the perpetrators. The bloke’s car raced past the others – pedestrians and cars – and rushed towards the exit with no one daring to stop it.

This act characterizes what is wrong with society, and its utter disregard for rules and laws.

Let us think ! We need to then act !!


Vijay Srinivasan
3rd January 2013


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