On August 11, 2016, a 32-year-old man was hit by a tempo in Subhash Nagar area of Delhi. Various news channels and websites were quick to report the incident not because the accident had any deliberate gruesomeness concomitant to it, but, because of the inaction by the public which passed by as Matbool was lying dreadfully in his own pool of blood and misery.
The Delhi state government was quick to respond by suggesting that the government will introduce certain incentives for the people who bring the accident victims to the hospital. We’re in a society which pays so much respect to cows that it can kill, beat, abuse, and disparage people for it. There have been various past incidents showing us the lacking value of human life in the Indian society. This isn’t about ‘Cow Vigilante’, society saviors or anyone anymore. This all boils down to the farce hypocrisy of the values that the Indian society system holds and portrays. More than 200 people passed by Matbool, looking, staring and moving on hoping that someone else, or probably the police will anyways arrive in some time. A rickshaw puller though did stop by, only to steal Matbool’s phone which was lying near him.
It cannot be about the public apathy of the 16th December 2016 case, when Jyoti Singh was raped and his friend brutally beaten, lying on the side on the road bewailing in pain. It cannot be about the 2013 Kanhaiya Lal case where similar indifference was shown by the public when Kanhaiya Lal desperately cried for help abutted by the bodies of his son, wife and an infant daughter, all covered in blood. It just has to be about the hypocrites we’ve become today. What morals or values can a society talk about if it can see an infant in such misery? Of course, it is totally not acceptable to watch anyone in misery, unless we’re a bunch of sadistic hypocrites whining and realizing only when the wheel of fortune hits us.
Ironically, we’ve been talking about the cow vigilant groups for a while. The so-called ‘Gau Rakshaks’ have attacked Dalits and Muslims in the country. The country has seen a lot of debates on a whole lot of news channels after the Prime Minister broke his silence condemning the actions of such groups, terming them as ‘anti-social’. The main motive of such groups is to extort money from the backward communities whose main source of income depends on upon businesses related to cattle. In a country where a cow is considered holy, the people on the other side are becoming the victims of these so called ‘protectors’ of cows. The audience always remains the same. There is no difference between the people who were watching and taping the senseless hitting of the two women in Madhya Pradesh, the lynching of Akhlaq by a mob of people in UP, stripping and mercilessly beating Dalit men on the street and the people who shrugged Matbool, watched Jyoti suffering in pain on the side of the road and passed by as Kanhaiya grieved. In all cases, there always has been spectators who choose to not intervene.
The day Matbool was hit by the tempo and was left to fend for himself, plenty of people and vehicles passed by him. The day Jyoti Singh was raped, his friend beaten, plenty of people passed that day too. Plenty of people passed the day Kanhaiya Lal was helplessly weeping for help around the bloodied body of his family members. Plenty of people just pass watching the voyeur of death. This is a strikingly dangerous pattern our society never noticed. These people which just ‘pass by’ defying all moral codes, these are people none other than us. The average Indian population not bothering to stop by and helping because they’ll get into legal issues, or the police might question their involvement in the case. We’ve come to a record low in the Indian history that the government is providing an incentive for those ‘Samaritans’ who help such victims. We need a bait to help another human in need!
We need to re-think the values we used to have and displayed profoundly. Is it really still there or we’re clinging to something that vanished years ago? Every matter cannot be left to the government and they cannot be solely blamed for every misery of ours. We share the blame equally if not more. Many of us have been blaming each other for a long time now, it’s time we act as a society towards the revamping of our value system. It’s time to find lost values. We not only need to teach our future generation the difference between what is right and wrong, we also need to tell the difference between conviction and bravery.
We are the second largest population in the world. There will always be one or more criminal cases, and there will always be criminals and miscreants. But there will always be the Samaritans outnumbering the mischievous, and the difference between righteousness and villainy will always be decided by action and inaction. We failed as a country when Nirbhaya died. We failed when Akhlaq was lynched and killed by the mob. We failed when the female Infosys employee was hacked to death at the Chennai Railway Station and lay on the busy platform for more than an hour after the attacker fled the crime scene. We failed when Kanhaiya Lal saw his wife and daughter succumbing to their injuries in front of him as no one came to help. And, we failed again when no one cared to take Matbool to the hospital. Lives could have been saved, dear ones would have been with us, if only, we cared to intercede.