The killing of a man under the wheel of a BMW car speeding recklessly on the wrong side of the road made news in some of the newspapers. But it did not create more than a few ripples. The man who was crushed under the BMW wheel returned to Bangladesh from as far as Italy, where he had been living for long, to attend a wedding party. The killer driver and also owner of the car is habituated to go on long drives with his Chinese wife -often driving on the wrong side of the road and in a drunken state, reports say. Son of a leather trader, he also has stepped into his father's footsteps.
The BMW-wallah is not only rich but also arrogant. When he was accosted by a policeman on duty for his driving on the wrong side and striking a few of the motorcycles used by the police, he had the daredevilry of assaulting the constable and even entering the police station to continue with his rowdy behaviour there. It was then that the man was arrested.
Had he not picked up a quarrel with the police, what chance was there to identify and arrest him? His BMW was his status symbol and he has been using it for violation of traffic rules. Of course, pots of money he possessed served as fuel behind his indiscipline and craziness. He failed to spot where he should have drawn the line. Men like him consider the ordinary people of no values, rather a nuisance. They cannot tolerate botheration but are accustomed to getting their way -come what may. Or, else no one in his right mind can drive a car on wedding guests. The Italian immigrant was killed and there were others who sustained injuries in the incident.
Now part of his mentality has been fed with the idea that a man of his standing should not wait at traffic signal; rather he is privileged enough to skirt around this cumbersomeness. This mentality has an echo in the concept that there is a need for a separate lane for the VIPs (very important persons). Now who are the VIPs? An answer to this intriguing question is not easy. Apart from the ministers, MPs, secretaries and judges of the High Court and Supreme Court there are other high ranking officials who deserve the status. But then the judges maintain a low profile when they move in their cars. There is no blaring of hooter and whistle. Also there are more eminent and respected people in society. Writers, artists, eminent university teachers, journalists and many others may be left out. Will they be given the VIP treatment when they are out on the street?
Some categories of VIPs have developed a habit of going by the wrong side of the road like the BMW killer. There is no difference in the mentality of the BMW man and those who take to the wrong side of the road. It is difficult to say who has taken a cue from whom. But there is one thing about which there is no dispute -unbearable traffic jam is the root cause of this law-breaking mentality. Now if a lane is earmarked for VIPs, the space to be left for the movement of common folks will be even narrower and in some places next to nothing. Commuters will be forced to undergo greater ordeals than they have suffered so far. The BMW-wallah has killed a person, creation of the VIP lane will be the cause of extermination of mass people in a slow but sure process.
The Orwellian vision is making a mockery of the fundamental human rights: All animals are created equal but some are more equal than others. Bangladesh society is bearing the brunt of this more than ever before. VIPs will prosper at the cost of the ordinary.
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