From a stinking corner of Shimla City
SHIMLA- I saw this guy sitting at one of the most stinking corners of Shimla City with a broken, edgy mirror-piece in his one hand and a blade in the other, with which he was shaving – just with the blade, there was no razor or any holder. Stuck in traffic jam I kept staring at this man in rags – a migrant laborer or beggar or a mentally unwell, perhaps, homeless fellow.
Of course, I pitied him as my first response, but then stumbled into the debate over karma, destiny and various faces of suffering in human form. This intrinsic debate was halted by another typical Indian character, but let me first tell you about the popular spot.
Panchayat Bhawan is now like a small-scale symbol of Shimla MC’s capability and capacity regarding development of the Shimla City. At the same time, it also verifies uncivilized conditioning of common crowd.
For past two or three years, HW published regular complaints, even forwarded those to the SMC, but it’s still the same old story, rather worse.
Even I have a previous story “The Life Beyond Mere Survival” set on the same scene.
It has been and is a popular open air pubic urinal near Old ISBT. Mostly, the shopkeepers and Dhaba workers have played a pivotal role to establish this convenience for their-self, which further attracted public in general to pee here.
The garbage bin there, it used to overflow with garbage that wasn’t collected by MC dumpers regularly and timely. The scene – smoke rising from the garbage set on fire – was a regular one. However, after regular complaints, at least, the garbage bin is regularly attended.
However, MC doesn’t wish to deprive the spot from the urine stink that is getting stronger after such encouragement.
For past many years, the Shimla MC could not provide a small public toilet neither it could prohibit public from urinating in open, and that too when some of the local shopkeepers inside the Panchayat Bhawan complex approached the Mayor himself and told them their grievance.
After some drainage repair work, now the urine flows directly into Panchayat Bhawan premises. Take a look above in the photo. That’s the entrance of the premises. One of the busiest places in Shimla City, such stink and unhygienic conditions are acceptable to Shimla’s people and the Govt.
I was confused to what subject and theme I should adhere to while clicking photographs; either, the man in rags or the issue?
Meanwhile, a man approaches me and asks whether I were from media. I had almost ignored him but he caught my attention when he mentioned he was waiting for the newspaper reporters to whom he had asked to highlight the issue of open air urination that flows into the complex, and whole day it always stinks.
I gave him HW card and appreciated for trying to raise the issues and get it fixed. He further said,
“I had complained to the Mayor of Shimla town and he had assured that a public toilet will be built here to solve it. He is nowhere to be seen after that, but now, I had asked newspapers to take up the issue, but no one appeared so far.”
We also have a number of complaints from readers too, which we always published. As both the Mayor and Deputy Mayor are actively present on social media and are regular readers of HW, most probably, noticed it, but never bothered to solve it. Shimla MC is out of budget, we already know that, and if it’s true then this story us dedicated to Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.
Our conversation was interrupted by a new character that entered the scene and introduced a new lesson on the decaying social and moral values among ignorant individuals like him.
This guy stood right besides this man on the ground and started peeing on the wall. He noticed him for a moment, but ignored like the man didn’t exist, like that soul is worthless, and it neither mattered nor had any clue about individual dignity.
Our society is hundreds of light years away from cultivating sensitivity towards our fellow human beings, especially people below poverty line or like the one sitting in a stinking corner behind a garbage bin. He isn’t the only unfortunate man. Millions of people live in condition thousands time worse than we are talking about here.
Now, we have multiple issues here – poverty, hygiene, poorly delivered or undelivered basic public facilities, corruption of Govt., and neglect that a common man’s complaints face from media.
What newspapers are focusing is spice and there isn’t much of it in public grievances. There isn’t a single Govt. department that works the way it must. The administrative officers are far away from common crowd, enjoying the nectar of privileges through the power of chair given to them by public.
The way the pubic in Shimla behaves or co-operates with the system, this city is going to see hard time developing, getting civilized and organized. Here, the public, isn’t ready to co-operate or to follow moral codes or to surrender even the minutest personal convenience for the greater good of the society as a whole.