The second Meter Jam organized on the 12th of October, 2010, did not quite take off in its offline avatar.
The harried office-goers blithely ignored all entreaties to boycott the rude auto and taxi drivers.
Social activism needs to be planned and there seemed to be no plan B.
The commuters seemed to ask the question: “Yes, we know that the rickshaw and taxi pliers are cheats, rude and ill-mannered and have no or little consideration for their customer’s needs. But tell us why should we punish ourselves to punish them? Are we masochistic? Can you provide us some alternative mode of transportation? Do you think that reaching late to work is going to be excused by our superiors when we say we took the bus so that Meter Jam could be a resounding success?”
The only sliver was the Mulund drive which saw a dozen vehicles put into use for car-pooling. Now, that’s a plan!
Social activism that ignores the ground realities will be a dodo!
Lest, you think I am being harsh on the organizers, let me tell you that I have no liking for the rickshaw drivers’ autocratic ways.
I have suffered doctored meters, have been refused several times and have resorted to verbal abuse and complaints to book erring drivers.
But to expect just altruistic motives to win the day is unreal!
India is no utopia!
Quote of the day:
Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity. – Unknown
The latest news in the media is that Meter Jam made the state transport department sit up and take notice.
A drive has been launched in certain pockets of the city to ensure that auto and taxi drivers will face punitive charges if they are discovered refusing to ferry passengers for short distances.
This is despite the helpline – set up by the department earlier – meeting with limited or no success although there were quite a few disgruntled complaints (more than 3000 in 2 months) by members from the traveling public.
Drivers will be educated on how to treat their paying customers.
What can I say except that I hope that progress is continual and drives are not followed by periods of hibernation , and then more drives. Kicks in the butt should not just have you saying ouch but also propel you forward. Else it’s just an ouch , a band-aid and back to business as usual!
Have a great Independence Day!
Quote of the day:
I have often depended on the blindness of strangers. – Adrienne E. Gusoff
The Meter Jam – a boycott of rude, unruly autorickshaw and taxi drivers – organized largely online via a Facebook Fan Page and a website, was a tiny, minuscule success. In just a few pockets in the city were rickshaw and taxi drivers were seen seeking passengers,in vain. For the rest, it was business as usual.
One of the reasons was that the folks who use these modes of transport do not have any alternate means of transport other than BEST buses and local trains. Expecting them to take part in the protest was perhaps wishful thinking; it was more like punishing the would be punishers. As for the rest, who enthusiastically were a part of Meter Jam but used their own transport to get to work or anywhere else and also forgot to car pool, lest you think you struck a blow against the tyranny of rickshaw and taxi pliers, lest you pump yourself up with bloated self-righteousness, lest you feel that mere tokenism is going to win you brownie points, I am sorry to disappoint you and tell you vehemently, YOU DIDN’T!
Quote of the day:
We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language. – Oscar Wilde