Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Where are we headed?

The Times of India reports:

Techie bleeds to death on road, city doesn’t care

Kolkata: A city that prides itself on its warmth let a young techie bleed to death on the road to the IT hub on Wednesday morning. Bijoy Dey (25) lay injured for 30 minutes after being hit by a bus in front of the Nalban complex, but no one stopped to help. Hundreds of office-goers — including many of Dey’s fellow techies rushing to beat the clock at the 24x7 Sector V, government officials and families heading for the fun zones (Nalban, Aquatica and Nicco Park) — merely glanced at the bleeding body and sped on. Even the person who dialled 100 to inform police did not care to stop. “There has been an accident near Nicco Park. The victim is lying on the road,” was all the anonymous caller said. When help finally arrived, it was too late. Dey, a software engineer with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), was on his way to his office in tech town when the accident happened. A mentally deranged woman apparently rushed on to the road, forcing Dey to hit the brakes hard. The rear wheel skidded and the bike careened into the middle of the road. Trapped under the skidding motorcycle, Dey did not have a chance. He was run over by a bus coming from behind. There are reports that he was run over after lying on the road for some time because no one bothered to cordon off the spot and protect him from rush-hour traffic. The accident site is one of the busiest stretches in the city. At the time Dey was run over, a stream of vehicles head for IT and ITeS offices at Sector V, as well as government offices at Karunamoyee. In fact, minutes before the accident, industry minister Nirupam Sen had passed that way to attend a function at the IT hub. At a conservative estimate of 30 vehicles a minute, at least 900 buses, cars, taxis, autorickshaws and two wheelers would have passed Dey. Even if the average commuter count per vehicle is pegged at four, at least 3,600 people would’ve rushed by Dey without stopping or calling the police. “The insensitivity is frightening. Dey’s colleagues must have among those who passed by. Everyone’s in a rat race, rushing to beat the clock and log in on time. It is sad and inhuman,” said Bidhannagar South officer in charge Bimal Kumar Pati.

You can read the full report on the first page here. Be careful, for the efficient reporters have put a photo of the mangled body of the victim lying on the road.

I started writing this as soon as I read the news, but now words fail me. I’m shocked, horrified, disgusted. I feel ashamed. I feel ashamed for being a human being. Ashamed for being a citizen of Kolkata. Ashamed because I work in the same IT industry in Salt Lake Sector V where these despicable specimens of mankind come to earn money everyday. In exchange for money they have sold off all human values, all sympathy for fellow humans, all sense of right and wrong.

What’s the big hurry everyone’s in? I don’t know how the victim’s colleagues can live the rest of their lives knowing that they passed by a co-worker while he lay dying on the street. Will their conscience allow them to live in peace while knowing that they could have saved a life but they didn’t? Do these people expect the same treatment from others if they lie sprawled on the road after an accident?

Or maybe I’m over-reacting. Maybe they think it’s all part of the rat race. Maybe their conscience will rest in peace once they get a raise for coming early to office. Maybe they had to attend some meeting yesterday morning at office, and it was important enough to justify abandoning a dying colleague on the road. After all he was just a colleague, not a friend. The same applies to the people working in other companies as well. Maybe I would react the same way in a similar situation! This really foretells a bright future for our country, for what can be more important than punctuality and dedication to work?

A few days ago I was reading the book “Hope for the Flowers” by Trina Paulus. There the main protagonist is a caterpillar named Stripe who ruthlessly steps on his fellow climbers to climb to the top of a “caterpillar pillar”, until he realizes there’s nothing at the top, and his pillar is only one among thousands. I feel this IT industry is in a similar condition. Everybody is climbing to the top, without caring for others. I am also one among many caterpillars moving towards the top. Nobody has time to see who falls off the pillar, or who dies on the way.

I just wish I could get off this pillar soon. I’m feeling sick of all this.


  1. Sugata, thanks for sharing such a wonderful article. Each of your post has a great sense of social awareness.

    Unfortunately people are so engrossed in their own INSECURITIES and are under wrong impression that only money will secure their life. In Mumbai the situation is not different. But in case of calamities like earthquakes, blasts etc, I have seen Mumbaikars help each other going out of the way.

    Thanks again for sharing this article.

  2. Situation at pune is even worse. Weekly one death in road rage. Nobody cares to stop or inform police. In one case even pilion rider also disappeared when the rider was dead.

    I agree with abhijit's comment about mumbai. May be that is the reason they receive honors.

  3. Its truely frightening to hear this article...i agree with you...whats the big hurry..ppl shud stop by and help other ppl.....i mean young boys .....i just dont get it how ppl can be so insensitive????...the other day i got a fwd mail with ppl dozing in the Cognizant Kolkata office ....are those ppl in a hurry to get back to sleep????ridiculous!

  4. This is really shameful for mankind.


  5. I believe the situation is similar everywhere. Even Delhi/Gurgaon experience the same. I guess with growing social insecurity, people tend to be confined nin their own world, rather than go out and help someone. What nobody realises is, that they can be in a same situation.

  6. @everyone: Thanks for visiting and commenting. Yes, it is indeed shameful for mankind, and the problem is not localised in Kolkata alone. It's the same situation everywhere. And it's worsening every day.