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Humanity a social prerogative; can’t be forced by law

Monday - October 1, 2018 9:05 am , Category : WTN SPECIAL

WTN- Recently in an incident on train, a pregnant woman was denied a lower berth by a fellow passenger despite repeated requests, which forced her to climb up and spend the night on an upper berth.

Such incidents are very common on trains. Several elderly persons complain that fellow passengers don’t allow them the minimum privilege of having a lower berth, which compel them to face grave inconvenience during the journey.

Climbing an upper berth becomes impossible for the crippled, old and women. While young able-bodied men should be cooperative and accommodate such genuine requests by leaving their lower berth for the needy, this ideal situation doesn’t always happen.

The aforementioned pregnant woman reached the MP high court with the issue and pleaded with it to do something so that pregnant women and the old traveling on trains could get suitable seats which would ensure their safety. The HC took note of the serious matter but at the same time said, and very rightly so, that it was not possible for the court to teach decency to people. It rather asked the railways to induct provisions in its system so that such vulnerable sections got the seat of their choice.

Decency is a personal bearing of an individual and it comes from the cultural mores in which he has been brought up. Decency comes from refinement of one’s thought that in turn comes from education and family values. Civility is an abstract premise which spans various domains of  human psychology and society and therefore, no one can really ‘teach’ someone decency or force it by law.

It comes from one’s conscience and his approach towards humanity. In India civility and social ethics are premises which have not fully evolved. The ideas are inchoate and inconsistent, and even illogical. There is no critical questioning and why one is doing what he is doing and whether he should or should not do it are not thought and asked about. The baggage of tradition and staunch adherence to redundant or obsolete beliefs often guide our sensibilities.

The spur-of-the-moment goodness of action is scarce in the public spectrum. We often calculate our gains and losses before stepping out for someone. We are reluctant to sacrifice our little comforts and facilities for the benefit of others. We cannot paint all humanity with the same brush, but it is apparently a dominant trend today that defines our public behaviour.

Here it is the elders in society and parents and teachers who should instill the values in children and youth to adopt a more accommodative spirit. Railways on its part has said that the lower berths are for leaders and judges and such other prominent category people and thus they cannot be reserved for pregnant women.

This is a flawed premise the railways is arguing on and as per the court’s suggestion, it must include pregnant women and old persons too in the privileged list to allow them the set of their choice. Humanity is more important than protocol. If the rules are not supportive of the common man’s needs, such rules need to be revisited.

-Window To News
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