Let me start by saying: I have nothing against “we the people” ensuring that errant citizens are brought to book or forced to comply with the laws of the land. That is worth commending. But I’d just like to add a caveat: Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones at others.
Meaning, dear fellow citizens first learn to wear the helmet, drive in lanes, not jump traffic lights, not unnecessary blow the horn, not over speed– you know follow basic traffic rules, (that you are required to be aware of to get a driving license) before trying to force autos and taxis out of the roads. That the recent attempt to keep taxis and autos off the road in Mumbai failed miserably, no matter how people like us choose to spin it, is an entirely different matter.
Which brings me to the more important point. Autos and taxis aren’t the "villains” and autowallahs aren’t “chors”. The fact that the problem was framed in these terms is the reason why the solution offered was inappropriate, if not downright silly. In another India, educated (and might I add civil) citizens would first attempt to understand what does public transport mean? Then go on to wonder why don’t we have good public transport and instead have so many autos and taxis on the roads in our cities? Then find out who are these people who drive these autos and taxis, where do they come from, and why do they leave from wherever they have left?
When we have asked and sought answers to these questions we would (I hope) not come up with "protests" that only widen the gap between “us” and “them”. Instead we would concentrate our energies in ensuring that the real errant citizens obey the laws of the land and the real “chors” are bought to book. Okay, maybe simply start a social media campaign and get enough “likes” to make it to the pages of the mainstream media. But at least then it wouldn’t all have been so vain.
Meanwhile an educated and enlightened take on auto-rickshaws and the life of those who drive them can be found here.