Why We Need Good Samaritans On Roads Rather Than Video Directors

Posted by Shivom Sharma in Society, Volunteerism
January 12, 2018

It’s 2018, and all of us live in a world surrounded by smartphones and laptops. On one hand we laud our science and technology for their contribution towards making our lives easier and better, but on the other hand, we tend to remain oblivious about the demonic effects that this technology has induced over the years, in almost all of us.

Let’s start with some basic questions. Although the answer to all the questions is a clear YES, I’d still like to ask them, only for you guys to realize what I’m gonna talk about.

Have you ever watched a video of a person crying for help?

Have you ever watched a video of a woman being bullied?

Have you ever watched a video of a man being beaten in full public view?

Have you ever watched a video featuring a victim of an accident or violence?

Have you ever watched a person beating up an innocent animal just for fun?

YES, you have. You may have laughed over it or joked about it or even condemned it but the point, here, is – why do these videos even exist? Why have people become so insensitive that they, instead of being of use, start to record stuff? People nowadays, be it any country we’re in, have one thought in common – record whatever unusual thing you see and get famous. This lust for getting famous or viral has only led to the death of humanity, the detritus of which can be seen all over the internet.

The Psychology

This whole thing has a psychological side too. According to psychology, in case of an accident or something similar, there’s a phenomenon called “Bystander Effect” according to which people are less likely to help the victim when others are present. And when technology is blended into the Bystander Effect, those who don’t help, now record the stuff without wasting a minute.

Now before I get into critic mode, I just want to state as to what provoked me to write about this very serious issue that our society faces today. It’s not a thought, it was altogether an experience that changed me from the inside. I’ll be cursory with the storytelling though.

I was in my college days, and we used to have chai every evening. Like every day, I was sipping my cup of tea sitting outside Chacha’s multipurpose outlet when I heard a BANG! It was so loud that the cup almost slipped out of my hand. I ran towards the person. A bike had just had a head-to-head with a Chotha Haathi truck.

People gathered around the injured biker but nobody touched him. It was the first time that I was in a situation like this in my life, and I don’t know what struck me – I made the move and moved the man. He was unconscious and bloody. There were no eyes, limbs were crushed, the face had a big diagonal cut from eye to the left part of the chin.

I still remember even the trivial details of the incident. I picked him up with a senior of mine helping me. No one was ready to stain their cars with blood, so an auto wala agreed. I literally screamed,”Bhai koi insaan ka bachcha hai toh please help (If any of you were born of human beings, then please help)” but no one literally gave a fuck about it.

I took him to a hospital which was around nine kilometres away, and the auto took almost 20-25 minutes. The hospital confirmed that he was brought dead. On my way to the hospital, I knew he was dying but it was on that day that I saw the real face of humanity. While everybody condemned, no one cared to even give a hand. He was a 33-year-old with a four-year-old daughter.

I went to the police station and gave my statement. To my surprise, the cops were very generous. They thanked me, appreciated the whole thing, and they promised to take every possible action. But this whole time, I got to see the real filth that we people have brewing inside us.

We may not have saved the guy, but in any case, the question here is, “Why have humans gone so inhumane?

There’s actually one more perspective to it. People like to watch other people get hurt. Accept it or not but this is human nature and adding fun to someone’s misery makes it even worse. Whenever I see such a thing, I literally feel dejected and futile, not being able to do any freaking thing.

I don’t really have an idea about the other nations, but in India, people generally hesitate to help accident victims due to some common reasons. The Law Commission of India observed that over 50% of people killed in road accidents could have been saved if timely assistance had been rendered to them. People hesitate due to a few reasons such as fear of legal processes, intimidation by cops, unnecessary internment at hospitals, never-ending legal formalities,  “Court-kachehri ke chakkar (court hassles)” etc. The people cannot be held responsible for having this type of mindset, for not all cops are like the ones I encountered. For some, it’s a chance to earn some quick bucks.

Although standing and watching the whole thing is an act of cowardice, but recording it instead of helping is sickening. Awareness has to be spread about this.

My Message

I came to write about this because my worst nightmare is lying on the road in a pool of blood with a bunch of people making videos. It’s time for us to wake up, to see ourselves in the mirror. We are called “Social Animals” and we need to bring back that social element in us.

The Supreme Court of India, in regard to a PIL filed by an NGO, stated that it’d pass a judgement on the recommendation of that NGO, and then on March 4, 2016 (which coincidentally also happens to be my birthday), the panel appointed by apex court made many recommendations. I’m listing some of them for you so that you become aware and spread the awareness as well.

  • The people helping accident victims be treated with respect without any discrimination on any grounds.
  • The person who calls the cops or the hospital has full right to keep their name anonymous and even the police can’t compel them to reveal it.
  • It’s the person’s own choice whether they want to be a witness or not. Further, if they want to become one, they are ensured that they’ll not be harassed and will be protected.
  • The person, if they agree, will be examined or questioned in a reasonable and time bound manner.

So I guess nobody should have fear of anything before helping anyone, as these guidelines are in every police station procedure and all the SOP’s in other concerned departments. And even if anyone instigates the person or harasses them, they have the law with them and a single tweet can result in swift action. So one does not need to fear any legal – or other – procedures.

Also, the wannabe directors who pull out their phones every time they see an accident or something barbaric need to be taught a lesson. There is no need for force, as the tongue is sharper than a sword. We have to make them realize what they are doing. Once they realize their insensitivity and inhumanity, I’m sure Indians are people with hearts of gold and they surely will understand. All we have to do is make small contributions to make a difference. Not to wait for others to make a move, but be the change instead.

What Else Can Be Done

Furthermore, if state and central governments move a step further and announce some monetary benefits or special privileges for the people who contribute towards this cause, I’m sure the people will start helping. The government can come up with numerous ways to attract and motivate people to be of help. In my knowledge, announcement of cash prizes, felicitation on occasions, discount on train/air tickets to Samaritans, or even publishing photos of Samaritans in local newspapers will definitely make a huge and notable difference in the present scenario. The civil society and NGOs can also come up with such schemes to spread the awareness.

It can be your son, your brother, your sister or anyone you love, lying on the road – and imagine how it’d feel when you see the video of the whole thing but see no one helping. So, take a pledge that next time you see something like that, you’re gonna help, be of use and try to tell the video directors about all of this. You’ll feel a sense of satisfaction, trust me on that.