Close to 10 years after a reversing dumper truck ran over and crushed a 35-year-old sleeping on a Mumbai road in November 2007, a motor accident claims tribunal last month held that the victim was equally to blame for the accident. It held that the deceased was also “negligent” as he dangerously chose to sleep on the corner of the road.
Early on a winter morning at the Chuna Mandi labour adda near Paharganj in Delhi, the capital’s “dispensables” were gathering to scour for their day’s work, as they do every day. The fog was yet to set in, and the air had a sharp nip. The mood among the casual workers was visibly downbeat.
India’s classrooms today mirror, produce and reproduce the disgraceful inequalities that scar the country. It is here that the children of the rich receive the best education that money can buy. They rarely if ever rub shoulders with the children of the poor, of working-class parents, and of socially ostracised castes and discriminated religions.
Winter is upon us once more. Pollution, smog and plunging temperatures transmute sleeping into a formidable daily challenge for the most dispossessed of city residents – people without homes.
One more blood-drenched road accident. Another soul-numbing statistic. A drunken man, driving at night at crazy speeds, loses control, lunges on to a road divider, crushing 13 sleeping men. Newspapers report, the driver is arrested but released on bail next day.