Sunday, February 25, 2018
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AIR Radio

I recall with clarity what tips were given on the radio in the Children’s Programme that used to be broadcast from AIR Delhi – much before Allahabad AIR came up. The guest speaker clearly mentioned: ‘Children before crossing a road, look towards your right and left, front and back. Then cross the road.’ I distinctly recall the speaker telling the listeners: ‘If you are walking, keep to your right because then you will be able to see the vehicle coming from the opposite side on its left.’

  I also remember clearly that after that the children were told, ‘Don’t throw banana peels on the roads because someone may slip. And then they would present a child singing a song, ‘Ik larke ne kele ka chilka, bas beech sarak ke phainka, ik burrhiya udhar aa nikli, paon foran us ka phisla’  (One boy threw a banana peel on in the middle of the road.  An old woman who was passing that way stepped on it and slipped). This song, made for promoting traffic consciousness  became so popular that it was also staged during drama presentations as a sidelight in Delhi.  Incidentally, the tune of  ‘Ik larke ne kele ka chilka’ was based on Saigal’s  evergreen song from film ‘President’ – ‘Ik bangle bane nyara, rahe kunba jis mein sara’

I will say that the tips given by the Traffic department were very useful. But they needed to be given to truck drivers and tempo drivers. The authorities admit that maximum road accidents took place at night with highest casualties. Obviously the villains were the truck drivers or others at the wheels.  That is why I have been insisting that the drive should cover truck, bus, tempo drivers too. They are the majority of the men  in the driver’s seat both  in day and night, Their counselling is very essential.

But counselling alone will not help if the drivers are under the influence of liquor. You just cannot reform a drunkard. He will always promise, ‘I will never touch the bottle again’. And he does it even more passionately. When I once asked a drunkard how he could go back on his promise, he replied, ‘I might have made that promise when I was dead drunk. How do you possibly expect me to remember a pledge made under the influence of liquor’. He thought I was drunk too and would believe him!

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