Lessons on the streets of Dimapur
The Speaking Mirror
[dropcap]I [/dropcap]am prompted to write this piece after encountering what I call a very significant incident which by all means may be an insignificantly daily occurrence on the streets of Dimapur.
Monday the 5th May 2014: Sometime late afternoon after having taken a turn from Bata Charali police point towards Nyamo Lotha road in a crowded traffic I felt a jolt on the right rear end of the car. I realised that our vehicle was hit from behind by an SUV. I drove on saying that this is part and parcel of another insignificantly daily occurrence in Dimapur’s daily rush hour traffic. But what happened next turned out to be one of the most significant incidents my family encountered on the familiar streets of Dimapur. As we drove on after being hit from behind we heard frantic honks followed by the SUV overtaking us from the left with a rashness endangering the lives of passerby’s and suddenly halting in front of our vehicle that was still in motion. Next the driver of the SUV gets out of his vehicle and begins throwing agitated angry words and asking us to look at the damage (in fact there was not an iota of scratch) that was caused to his imposing vehicle. Which in actuality was a result of him brushing us up from behind. What astounded us was that instead of apologising for having hit us from behind, this gentleman probably in his late forties or early fifties, goes on the offensive and portraying himself to be the victim, charged us to be the perpetrator. I expressed my displeasure in the stand he was taking and in the spur of the moment I decided that I am going to stand up my ground and not back down by the intimidations. A traffic police on duty approached the scene as the traffic came to a halt and crowds gathered up wanting to catch a glimpse of the scene just below the Naga Council office at NL road. The policeman making sense of what just happened noted that it was the SUV’s fault. However as traffic swelled up the policemen on duty standing around tried to make things right by asking us both to “let it go” in order to “avoid traffic jam”.It might be a coincidence or say “at just the right time and right moment” members of ACAUT were passing by. Taking cognizant note of the incident and the handling of the situation by the traffic police on duty, the ACAUT members stood up and reprimanded the policeman for not standing up to his duty. They were of the opinion that in the presence of any disagreement it is the duty of any officer present to take immediate decision and help settle the issue. A quick call was made to the Superintendent of Police by an ACAUT member apprising him of the situation and the way the matter was being handled. Meanwhile the driver of the SUV drove off ( I suspect he must have realised that he was at the wrong end) leaving us behind to deal with the havoc he created. However, by evening the policeman who was on duty earlier made sincere efforts and the SUV was traced and eventually the matter was amicably settled. Had it not been for the support of the ACAUT members, the eventuality would have certainly been very different.
This may just be a one tiny incident yet considerable enough to ponder upon issues of justice and fairness one faces on a daily basis. I believe the ACAUT team act was propelled not because of any reason but simply because they each knew that was the right thing to do. This incident concluded with a positive end but sadly such cases are one in a million. There are many others who never get to see positive outcomes just because no one stood for them for what was right or themselves did not have the courage or strength to stand up. There is a time to be silent (unfortunately this has come to characterise a vast section of our society). And there is also a time to stand up and speak for what is right. Yes indeed I raised my voice for what I knew to be right in that moment. And thankfully I was helped by a group who stands for what is right. We have been witness to countless instances where highhandedness, arrogance, nepotism, favouritism, money and muscle have talked their way into every strata of the society. The notion of justice and fairness has now come to be just an idea that the vast majority does not even have as part of their common vocabulary. I sincerely believe that NOW the time has come to stand up and speak for what is right, and not just let might have its way.
Can you and I be our own ACAUT team when we are faced with situations where we know we are wronged for what is right? Can we learn and stand up for what is right no matter what? Doing the right thing in today’s context requires courage. We are in need of courageous people, people of truth who will do the right not for any other reason but because it is right thing to do. “The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie. One word of truth outweighs the world” – Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Though the entire episode was an unpleasant one I have emerged richer in experience through this significantly insignificant incident. Moreover my respect for ACAUT members have only doubled by leaps and bounds.
To end with, a quote my wife penned down just a couple of weeks ago, “Do not think twice to initiate positive change, but think twice, if you do not”.