The fear of getting involved....

September 13, 2010

We had a lovely trip to Daroji and Hampi, and during the trip we had a sudden problem. Four of us were birding along the Tungabhadra high-level canal, when we found a group of youngsters (who had been busy taking each others’ photographs) rushing across the road, where one motorcycle lay, hit by another. They brought one of the men and laid him under the shade of a tree. Uma immediately went to see what was wrong (she is a dentist) and checked his pulse, which seemed to be steady;

helping accident victim 120910 daroji

but the man was not regaining full consciousness, and we decided to put him in the JLR van, and take him to the nearest health centre, about a kilometre away. Luckily, there was an ambulance there, and the driver was available, so even though it was a Sunday, the man was taken to the hospital at Hospet, and hopefully (there seemed to be no external injuries) he is now recovered….we don’t know what happened, as after we put him into the ambulance, we returned to the resort.

However, when the man was put into the van, none of the people who had carried him to the tree-shade, or into the van, wanted to come with us; and I was musing on why this was. Perhaps, people are worried about getting involved with red tape, or worse yet, being accused of causing the accident. This certainly happened to me, long ago. A cyclist fell down on the road as we passed, and KM and I put him in the car and took him to the health centre. I did see someone noting down the number of our car but thought nothing of it…until we received a summons as the “victim” had registered a hit-and-run case against us! It took us three years (and a let-us-be-rid-of-it settlement of Rs.2000) to be finally free of the lawsuit, and certainly KM commented that the next time he saw someone injured, he would not run them over to the hospital, he would just run over them! The “victim”’s father, when we met him, was very cool..”What’s your problem?” he asked. “There’s nothing personal about this, it’s your insurance company which is going to pay.” Truth, apparently, did not figure in his calculations.

In today’s legal scenario in India, can one blame anybody for turning their face away and walking off, and not wanting to get involved? Uma said, “I might do that, too, but I feel how it would be if it were me lying on the road….I hope that someone will come and help….!” If only we could all put ourselves in other people’s shoes, we might save many more lives in traffic accidents…and perhaps, have lesser accidents to begin with!

But meanwhile, thank goodness for civic-minded people like Uma!