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Commodification of road accident deaths: The hidden health hazard of motonormativity

By Chandra Vikash* 

Jahnavi Kandula, an Indian student from Andhra Pradesh, studying in America was killed in a road accident by a police motor car in January 2023. Now, 8 months after the accident, a bodycam video of Daniel Orderer, who is the vice president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, has gone viral on social media. He was laughing at her death and saying that “she was 26 years old, anyway… she had limited value… just give her $11,000 (ie Rs 9.13 lakh)”.
It is not a common thing to laugh off road accidents and normalize them. According to the research of Ian Walker, Professor of Environmental Psychology at the University of Swansea, Wales, it is being considered as a social psychosis. This has been termed carbrain or motorormativity. This leads to an unconscious bias against motoring in society. Instead of preventing deaths and damage to life and property, the problem is avoided by declaring compensation amount in certain cases and publicizing it in the media.
Questions were asked on the incident of making fun of the death of an NRI student. Which should be asked everywhere.
‘Is this the value of an Indian immigrant student in America?’ says a tweet on #JusticeForJahnaviKandula. On this question, let us look at the market value of yesterday’s accident in India.
Every hour 18 lives are lost in accidents on India’s roads. That means 422 people die every day due to road accidents. It is not that this figure has decreased in the past years. In fact, it has been growing continuously over the last 15 years except the 2020 Covid lockdown. Along with this, crores of people fall ill and die many years before their age due to the combined effects of harmful, life-threatening pollution and wastage of time due to traffic jams, stress and being stuck in a polluted environment for a long time.
When the government lists, flaunts and boasts about its achievements in front of the whole world in lavishly decorated programs like G-20, it does not tell how much the deaths due to road accidents within India’s borders have reduced. Or what was the reduction in pollution and traffic jams.
Shouldn’t a permanent lockdown be imposed on the motor vehicle factories, banks and insurance companies responsible for misleading the public and luring the public with cheap and convenient loans – auto loans?

As for a far less harmful virus, the lockdown was imposed in a questionable manner, causing huge losses to small and medium entrepreneurs. Crores of migrant laborers had to endure severe hardships and due to their livelihood being snatched away and their state of helplessness, the government could not even make arrangements for their return to their home areas. Let’s look at a recent news of tomorrow 13th September.
A recent news headline said, "11 people died, 15 injured in Rajasthan accident, PM Modi announced a package." Expressing grief over the deaths and condoling the families of the victims, Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the kin of the deceased.
This is a quarter of the paltry compensation awarded for the death of a 26-year-old Indian immigrant student in the US. That means, if four Gujarati NRIs die, they will get the same compensation as is given in America on the death of one NRI.
This compensation is also separate for rail and air accidents occurring in India. 5-10 lakh INR for rail and more than 50 lakh for air accidents. From the point of view of commercialization, the cheapest and worst deaths are due to road accidents in India, for which the Prime Minister gave Rs 2 lakh to the dead in Gujarat in the election atmosphere, but the accidents in other states do not even get this. Due to their misfortune, their families have to run from door to door, first to hospitals and then to insurance companies.
The question has to be asked, what is the value of human life? Why is the life of a common citizen so cheap for government leaders who spend lakhs and crores per person every day on their own security?
Could Maas Movement Transformational Approach for Mobility-as-a-Service remove this health hazard?
The central idea of MaaS Movement is a user-friendly multi-modal mobility-as-a-service with an array of innovative features ranging from seamless trip chaining with flexible modal choice, pre-ordained trip routing, choice of speed, cost, favourite co-traveler, driving proficiency rating, turn-by-turn navigation and speed assistance, green corridor to real-time incident management and more direct and indirect benefits.
MaaS Movement offers demand-responsive value plans as Platinum, Gold, Silver and Economy class of mobility services with further personalised choices that are far better than private ownership in the emerging scenario of ‘climate and ecological emergency’.
This fulfills of the long pending demand of New Urbanism of grade separation of motorised and non-motorised modes (more appropriately ‘eye contact’ modes- light, quiet, self-governed speed limit of 35 kmph that do not severe walking and cycling). This is based on the ‘think rail, use roads’ principle that includes motorway stations for modal transfer like railway stations, ramp bridges for walking, cycling and NMTs across roads and Land Traffic Control for pre-ordained trip routing and assured ETA – Estimated Time of Arrival services.
Our unique proposition is based on a pathbreaking innovative platform called LACE-Gaia Model. LACE is localised abundance and circular economies and Gaia is a truly representative grassroots to global governance system for Earth as a whole.
LACE model has 5 verticals and 5 horizontals with MaaS as the pivot based on a dynamic triple bottomline approach of economic, social and ecological benefits.
As the pivot of LACE model, MaaS unlocks ‘perishable inventories’ of space, time, attention and trust that exists in the present privately owned automobile-dependant human habitat based on ‘growth economy’ paradigm that violates ecological limits. This opens up new possibilities for other verticals of food and water abundance, zero-to-landfill, materials library and universal housing and livelihoods solutions and horizontals such as holistic approach to education, health and energy needs.
In this, MaaS Movement carries forward the idea of ‘steady state economies’ with stable resource consumption and stable population to create human-appropriate and human-scale habitats that harmonise economy with the ecological limits and create upward progress that sublimates material constraints into cultural and spiritual abundance.
Gaia model classifies human population on Earth, of presently 8 billion, into 80 territories and 50 districts in each territory. Based on principles of new urbanism and indigenous town and village planning, it advocates city limits (max 0.5 million population and max 1000 people per sq km population density) and towns and cities as hubs that must be supported by requisite number of villages as ‘spokes’.
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*Founder-Mentor, MaaS Movement Pvt Ltd

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हिंदी आलोचना जैसे पिछड़ चुके अनुशासन की जगह हिंदी वैचारिकी का विकास जरूरी

- प्रमोद रंजन*   भारतीय राजनीति में सांप्रदायिक व प्रतिक्रियावादी ताकतों को सत्ता तक पहुंचाने में हिंदी पट्टी का सबसे बड़ा योगदान है। इसका मुख्य कारण हिंदी-पट्टी में कार्यरत समाजवादी व जनपक्षधर हिरावल दस्ते का विचारहीन, अनैतिक और  प्रतिक्रियावादी होते जाना है। अगर हम उपरोक्त बातों को स्वीकार करते हैं, तो कुछ रोचक निष्कर्ष निकलते हैं। हिंदी-जनता और उसके हिरावल दस्ते को विचारहीन और प्रतिक्रियावादी बनने से रोकने की मुख्य ज़िम्मेदारी किसकी थी?

ગુજરાતના સ્થાપના દિવસે યાદ કરીએ ભારતના વિશ્વપ્રસિદ્ધ ગુજરાતી પુરાતત્વવિદ્ ને

- ગૌરાંગ જાની*  આજે કોઈ ગુજરાતી એ કલ્પના પણ ન કરી શકે કે વર્ષ ૧૮૩૯ માં જૂનાગઢમાં જન્મેલા એક ગુજરાતી વિશ્વ પ્રસિદ્ધ બની શકે! પણ આપણે એ ગુજરાતીને કદાચ વિસરી ગયા છીએ જેમણે ગિરનારના અશોક શિલાલેખને દોઢસો વર્ષ પૂર્વે ઉકેલી આપ્યો.આ વિદ્વાન એટલે ભગવાનલાલ ઈન્દ્રજી. ૭ નવેમ્બર, ૧૮૩૯ ના દિવસે જૂનાગઢના પ્રશ્નોરા નાગર બ્રાહ્મણ પરિવારમાં તેમનો જન્મ થયો હતો. જૂનાગઢના એ સમયે અંગ્રેજી શિક્ષણની સગવડ ન હોવાને કારણે તેમને અંગ્રેજી ભાષાનું જ્ઞાન ન હતું પણ પાછળથી તેમણે ખપ પૂરતું અંગ્રેજી જાણી લીધું હતું.

नफरती बातें: मुसलमानों में असुरक्षा का भाव बढ़ रहा है, वे अपने मोहल्लों में सिमट रहे हैं

- राम पुनियानी*  भारत पर पिछले 10 सालों से हिन्दू राष्ट्रवादी भारतीय जनता पार्टी (भाजपा) राज कर रही है. भाजपा आरएसएस परिवार की सदस्य है और आरएसएस का लक्ष्य है हिन्दू राष्ट्र का निर्माण. आरएसएस से जुड़ी सैंकड़ों संस्थाएँ हैं. उसके लाखों, बल्कि शायद, करोड़ों स्वयंसेवक हैं. इसके अलावा कई हजार वरिष्ठ कार्यकर्ता हैं जिन्हें प्रचारक कहा जाता है. भाजपा के सत्ता में आने के बाद से आरएसएस दुगनी गति से हिन्दू राष्ट्र के निर्माण के अपने एजेण्डे को पूरा करने में जुट गया है. यदि भाजपा को चुनावों में लगातार सफलता हासिल हो रही है तो उसका कारण है देश में साम्प्रदायिकता और साम्प्रदायिक मुद्दों का बढ़ता बोलबाला. इनमें से कुछ हैं राम मंदिर, गौमांस और गोवध एवं लव जिहाद. 

Concerted, organised civil rights stir is lacking against Operation Kagar

By Harsh Thakor*  The entire country has been engulfed with barbaric oppression, with unparalleled destruction of constitutional organs for the past ten years. The emergency of 1975-77 has been more than ressurected by the present regime. and more repressive than the post-liberalisation period ushered in by PV Narasimha Rao. Neo-fascsim has been on ascendancy, as never before.

આપણા સમાજમાં દીકરીના માતપિતાનો દરજ્જો દીકરાના માતાપિતા કરતાં નિમ્ન કક્ષાનો કેમ?

- તૃપ્તિ શેઠ  થોડાંક દિવસ પહેલાં એક દુકાનમાં ખરીદી કરવાં ગઈ અને એ બહેન જે દુકાન પર બેઠાં હતાં એ ફોન પર વાતો જ કર્યા કરતાં હતાં . હું કંટાળીને આગળ જવા ગઈ તો એ મને કહે , "સોરી !  મારી મમ્મીને હું રોજ આ સમયે ફોન કરું છું કેમ કે એ મંદિરમાં રહે છે અને ત્યાં ઈલેક્ટ્રિસિટી નથી. એ પાંચ રૂપીઆમાં ફોન રોજ ચાર્જ કરાવે અને મારી સાથે વાત કરે." મે પૂછ્યું તારી મમ્મી કેમ એકલી રહે છે, તો એનો જવાબ હતો કે મારા બે ભાઈઓએ મારી મમ્મીને એના ઘરમાંથી કાઢી મૂકી છે એટલે એક ગામના છેવાડે આવેલાં મંદિરમાં રહે છે અને ત્યાં કામ કરે છે . મે કહ્યું ,” તું કેમ તારી મમ્મીની બોલાવી લેતી નથી ? “ તો મને કહે, મારી મા કહે છે કે છોકરીને ઘરે પાણી પણ પીએ તો  પાપ લાગે. 

Laxmanpur Bathe massacre: Perfect example of proto-fascist Brahmanical social order

By Harsh Thakor  The massacre at Laxmanpur-Bathe of Jehanabad in Bihar on the night of 1 December in 1997 was a landmark event with distinguishing features .The genocide rightly shook the conscience of the nation in the 50th year of Indian independence. The scale of the carnage was unparalleled in any caste massacre. It was a perfect manifestation of how in essence the so called neo-liberal state was in essence most autocratic. 

हीट-एक्शन नीति में अनौपचारिक व खुले-में-कार्यरत मजदूरों को शामिल नहीं करना निंदनीय

- नेशनल अलायन्स ऑफ़ पीपुल्स मूवमेंट्स  पूरे भारत में 'चुनावी गर्मी' ज़ोर पकड़ चुकी है, जो हम सभी को साफ़-साफ़ दिखाई भी दे रही है। हालाँकि, एक और गर्मी है जो नागरिकों, विशेष रूप से करोड़ों खुले में काम करने वाले श्रमिकों को प्रभावित करती है, यह न तो 'चुनावी मुद्दा' है और न ही इस पर सामाजिक रूप से पर्याप्त ध्यान दिया जाता है। भारत के ग्रामीण और शहरी दोनों हिस्सों में मेहनतकश लोग, जो चिलचिलाती धूप में भी हमारे गाँवों और शहरों के लिए अनाज पैदा करते हैं, हर तरह का निर्माण कार्य करते हैं, शहरों व गांवों को चलाते हैं, हमें विभिन्न प्रकार की सेवाएँ प्रदान करें, लेकिन इसी वर्ग का अभी तक 'मुख्यधारा' के जलवायु न्याय और नीतिगत विमर्श में पर्याप्त रूप से प्रतिनिधित्व नहीं किया गया है।