Yesterday, this paper carried two reports about how rules are being flouted with impunity. The first report stated that slum dwellers have been playing loud music inside Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Locals claimed Navratri celebrations within the park perimeter had DJs, a music system, dhols and loudspeakers belting out music late into the night.
Another report stated that the Borivli police had registered three FIRs against the organisers of the famous Kora Kendra Garba and its Disc Jockey (DJ). Three cognisable offences were registered for playing music beyond permissible decibel limits.
Noise pollution is only one small part of the larger issue, which is about the tendency to flout rules. How many times have we seen notice boards showing swathes of areas near hospitals and schools as silent zones? Still, one can hear music blaring in the vicinity, or car drivers honking furiously — sometimes for no good reason — as they zip past.
‘No litter’ signs stand above mounds of garbage. ‘No spitting’ posters cover walls that are streaked with red paan stains. A majority of people have little concept about standing in a queue for public utility services. Many times, we see government servants absent or taking longer breaks than stipulated from their posts, despite rules stating they have to be present at that time. We are not even touching upon the rule for wearing seatbelts or helmets, which for so many exists only in letter.
There is an ingrained culture that has little respect for rules or for those that make them. There is a school of thought which does have some truth: people will only follow rules if it pinches their pocket and fines are imposed.
Mindsets need to change for us to respect rules, develop a spirit of empathy and realise that rules if made, are only for the good of the people. Let’s make it so that to flout is out, to obey is the way. This should be our new credo starting this festive season.