Auto drivers in Bangalore are collectively known for their unacceptable attitude towards passengers. This is a one sided argument which portrays all auto drivers of Bangalore as “bad boys“. There is a huge gap between auto drivers and passengers. There is no trust among each other. This is dangerous as auto rickshaws in Bangalore are one of the major modes of transportation. In the past, many organizations tried to solve this problem by taking the side of passengers by establishing a complaint mechanism but it did not work as the auto drivers’ community became angrier and started seeing passengers as their enemies. There is no peace between them any more. Then came a 26-year-old author and an evangelist of peace, Anil Shetty with the support of Dr. Huzaifa Khorakiwala, founder of The World Peacekeepers Movement. He decided to make peace between auto drivers and passengers in Bangalore city.
Starting from June 2012 to June 2013 Anil used auto rickshaw for his local travel. Every day he interacted with 3-4 auto drivers while taking ride in their auto. After interacting with more than 500 auto drivers of the city for one long year Anil understood the root cause of the problem. To solve the problem with a larger impact he came up with the idea of “Peace Auto“.Â This unique initiative was launched on October 2nd, 2013 on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanthi.
The auto drivers who participate in this project are termed as “Peace Auto Driver” They are given a crash course on how to spread the peace message. They greet passengers with smiles and respectful words. They don’t charge extra and don’t refuse to give a Â ride to your destination. They believe in the idea of “passenger is God“.
The passengers while travelling can also pick up a few books and magazines to read through their journey from a specially designed mini library. The Peace Auto will also ensure that they do not violate any traffic and utmost care will be taken to ensure the safety of passengers especially women. In addition to that, the peace auto drivers are also trained to inspire people to resolve conflicts in a non violent manner. They also request the passengers to give feedback in order to furthur improve quality.
Anil believes this initiative will also help to shed the negative connotations associated with auto drivers. Launched with 7 peace autos for now, he is expected to have more than 100 in the next 6 months and 1000 in next 18 months.Â Currently, the peacekeepers team is working on installing women safety “panic button” and tracking devices in the peace autos.Â Anil is also planning to host an annual award show for the “best auto driver of the year” to inspire them to do more good. This is first of its kind award for the whole auto drivers’ community. The passengers who take rides in the peace auto can vote via SMS to select the best auto drivers of the year.
Peace Auto has a unique peaceful environment which can bring hope of peace to those passengers who are disturbed and make them feel good. This promotes the idea of community living and importance of human relationships. EveryÂ Peace Auto driver carries a quote which reads “I am the hero in my own movie. You are the hero of your own movie. Let us not judge each other”.
Anil wants to bring dignity to the auto drivers’ community who were earlier victims of some negative forces in the society.
He says “you can’t change anybody by complaining or by hating. It’s possible only through friendship and love “.
About The World Peacekeepers Movement
The World Peacekeepers Movement signifies the world’s mass grass roots movement of peace through the creation of the world’s largest army — The World Peace Army. It is a movement based on the enlightening concept of The World Peace Triangle, -Peace With Self, Peace with People and Peace with Nations. September 21st, 2011, it started as an online movement and built a momentum in the real world, gathered more than 7.5 lakh peacekeepers online and several thousands in the real world. In just two years The World Peacekeepers Movement launched several projects from peace clubs in colleges to peace walks and peace funds. It successfully conducted peace workshops for more than 2,000 students in Bangalore and touched several thousand via peace gifts. In Bangalore, the World Peacekeepers Movement hosted “Peace Candle Evening“, which had 1000 plus students participating along with prominent people of Bangalore. It had also conducted a 21 days campaign for “Bengaluru Peace” which ended with Bengaluru Peace Walk which had more than 1000 peacekeepers joined for celebration. It celebrated “International Day of Peace” on September 21st in association with United Nations in Mumbai.
Founded by Dr. Huzaifa Khorakiwala (CEO and Trustee – Wockhardt Foundation) and Anil Shetty (Bangalore based young Author, Social Entrepreneur and Peace Evangelist)