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Thursday, 18 April 2013

Shimla - why can't South India be like it?

Things that stand out when one visits Shimla is the clean place and the discipline of individuals. There is no smoking in any public place, including in the open. No spitting allowed and we find that people hold their spit / swallow it (hear some gurgling at times collecting the spit, but not chucked out into any corner). There was not a beggar we could spot. Hence everyone goes about their lives in peace, though troubled occasionally by monkeys. With such narrow roads, people still are always trying to work out the quick way to go past each other and solve the traffic flow. People wait patiently in their own lane and no one jumps the lane to go in front. They avoid jams instead of creating and solving them!

Shimla - Ridge and Mall Road - Cleanliness everywhere
The British architecture in some of the buildings, especially on the ridge near the Mall, along with the open spaces and clean environment makes one think that we are in one of the European cities. There are no plastic bags, paper, trash in any spot. Monkeys are found in most places and probably contribute to people's discipline in not putting trash anywhere/ everywhere. It is extremely clean and well maintained, in spite of the horse rides available (no shit! pun intended). No beggars around to spoil the nice atmosphere. No smoking and no spitting, makes it easier to keep things clean. There are a few smaller roads / shopping areas, where things are a tad unclean, but is still better than most places in India!

People are very courteous and always eager to help or give information. No one is out to take advantage of the ignorance of tourists or visitors. They are quite happy to provide good service and self-assured that the fruits of their service would follow to them naturally. Attention to detail in their own jobs and courtesy to help others, makes them very affable and true human beings.

Road discipline is also amazing. Narrow winding roads all around, with no protection from a slide into the valley, does not deter the drivers from doing the right thing for everyone's good. No one flashes their headlights in any hurry to say "I go first," unlike many parts of India where "I, me, myself first" is the norm. Automatically people move to the side and try to work out the best and quick way to get past each other - even the big vehicles like buses and trucks calmly get past each other in the narrow paths.

Indian Institute for Advance Studies - Shimla

So, why can't rest of India, especially, South India be like Shimla? Amazing personal discipline is the root of this wonderful environment and cooperation. Respect for other individuals, as an equal to themselves, is automatic for them. No spitting or smoking in public spaces, keeping the whole city clean, etc., comes from within. Road discipline is also due to self-discipline and respect for the fellow human being.

Is the good weather for most of spring, summer and autumn (including monsoon), the reason for this level of discipline? Is it the realization that, if one puts the individual ahead of the public, then everything could break down quickly in this hill station? Would it be possible for the South Indian's change their discipline to improve the life for everyone? Is it just the hot weather all year round that leads to irritation and bad social behaviour? People are inclined to work hard and not beg due to their own will power?

Politicians and Bureaucrats don't need to go on foreign trips to see how to improve our own cities. A visit and learning at Shimla is sufficient for people to take as example and improve ourselves. We have an excellent example of community, society and disciplined individuals, right here in North India.

Jai Hind!

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