A harsh truth has come out to me today.
Fifty per cent of the time in a road accident in India, people die not of any ghastly injury but simply because nobody helped them. It’s true, as unbelievable as that sounds.
Almost every day these accidents make headlines in newspapers; new articles preach awareness to the bystanders on roads. Reach out to the inhuman society in hope of getting some humanity.
But my 13-year-old self couldn’t believe it. Even with my insignificant experience, I was sure it wasn’t possible. How was it that we learnt safety rules throughout school, and then later forgot almost a decade of education? It seemed inhuman to even see a person whimper and bleed in front of you and you did nothing. I didn’t believe it, at least at least not until I got a small dose of it myself.
Just the other day, I was taking the usual run on the road before tennis. As part of our routine drill, all of us took a long round back and forth on the road before we played on the court. I was sprinting at a steady pace when suddenly my foot caught on a loose stone and I crashed to the ground. Stones dug deep in my arm, scratching it and making blood spurt all over. Pain shot up in my leg, I couldn’t see clearly. Just a few meters ahead stood a fellow player, a boy of 14. There were adults playing cricket nearby, some sitting on the pavements, pavements. Nobody came to help.
I somehow dragged myself to the side and sat down. The moment seemed to have frozen, minutes passed, no-one came. I slowly got up and limped away.
I was in shock for a few moments. I looked back, the people behind were the same as ever. Not one moved to see the bloodied kid slowly walking by. The realization dawned upon me, what had seemed so inhuman to me was true.
People really didn’t help even when there was someone hurt and bloodied before them. My arm was going numb but my pain was immaterial now. This was still a relatively small accident, I thought.
What happened to the people who crashed cars, who got hit by trucks?
Who saved them?
Getting my first harsh experience on of road accidents, I decided to do some research. Most of the injured in road accidents die because they weren’t given medical attention in time. Dead just because bystanders ignored them. Many events like this have happened over the years, each more appalling than the last.
One of them was a saddening car crash of a couple with a child. The mother and her six-month-old baby lay bleeding and unconscious on the ground while the father desperately dried tried? to stand on his battered legs and screamed for help. Hundreds of people, in? and? cars passed the roads during that time but none stood up. It was hours before an ambulance finally passed by. But help had arrived too late, the mother and child were no longer breathing.
The funny thing in these situations, no comma is that, in big calamities like bombing, raids, fires or terrorist attacks, people are always the first ones to help. The hurt are immediately shifted to hospitals, police, ambulances and fire brigades phoned. The question aroused, past tense, arose but I think better to say arises if the same people were so compassionate and helpful in mass destruction, why didn’t they help a dying person on the road?
Fear. The answer finally came out. Fear of interrogation, police inquiries, court appearances, hospital bills. Fear of getting involved. The dilemma was that half the people who assisted the injured on the roads got in trouble for it later.
It was ironic, actually, that society punished you for saving a life. But even in our faulty laws, there still was is a ray of hope. A law followed by many foreign countries, the law of ‘The Good Samaritan’.
Practically, this enabled citizens to help other people outright facing problems like medical bills and questioning. With this, over a hundred over 100 lives could be saved on road accidents each year, saved by people who were no longer afraid.
This idea has already grown popular over the net and also appeared on the renowned show, ‘Satyamev Jayete’. Possibly, it might take some time before this idea comes in notice of the government and is passed as law. Happily, an amendment recently came out.
What seems so bizarre, the idea of not helping a bloodied person in front you isn’t what I am, we all assure ourselves. But the urge to turn away when we come on a bloody and disturbed scene occurs to us all. Blood and flesh, broken limbs are scary. This is the urge we need to defeat. We need to remind ourselves, our fears aren’t worth a person’s life.
This article probably might be dismissed along with the countless others preaching human values. Many of you might think, who is this little kid teaching us what to do? But once you experience it yourself, it will make you think.
I hope this small piece has made you have a reminiscence of humanity, the Samaritan that lives within all of us. That you now have the determination to help.
Go save a life.
Share this story if you support being a good Samaritan.
I hate to yell at you on from a soapbox on a good day… But you need it!
Take care buddy.