“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence” – Helen Keller
When Mohammad Abdullah, was just seven years old, he lost both his legs in a terrible train accident, but today this Bangladeshi boy is known for his impressive football skills.
Abdullah was raised by his father and stepmother after his mother abandoned him in his early childhood. His family would abuse him, and it made Abdullah run away. After months of begging and living on streets, he started to live with his grandmother.
In 2001, Abdullah slipped from a moving train when he was trying to reach another carriage. His legs got trapped under the wheels of the speeding train. He was hurriedly taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital where he was treated and eventually lost both his legs below the thigh. No one from his family made contact with him and left him at the benevolence of the hospital. After the treatment, the hospital authorities sent him to an orphanage. For next 18 months, he studied in Barisal Yusuf School and at last ran away.
“I had no hope, and I didn’t know where I belonged to. I was afraid of being trapped so I preferred living on streets. People always gave me money because of my condition. But I was not happy and wanted something better for myself, so I decided to work with my strong arms. I became a newspaper hawker and saved a meagre amount of money I earned. I would see boys playing football on the streets, and it reignited my passion to play football, but they wouldn’t allow me.”
Abdullah was then sent to Aparajeyo Bangla, an NGO where he learned to move around on a wheelchair but he was determined to make the most out of his life. He started to walk without the help of the wheelchair.
“Ï feared I have to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair so I decided to walk without it. I was determined to be independent and began trying to walk. Initially, it was difficult but eventually I succeeded. I can now walk, work and play football like other people.”
A football coach at Aparajeyo Bangla encouraged Abdullah to practice and pursue his football passion.
“People gets surprised when they see me play football. They wonder how I play football with no legs! But I show them. I am not afraid now. I am ready to compete against any player. It feels good to hear people comment on my skills.”
Apart from refining his skills with the ball, Abdullah also works as a porter at a ferry station to pay for his meals.
Abdullah desires to compete professionally one day. Abdullah is a conglomeration of courage, hope and innate optimism. His story is an inspiration never to give up in life.
Have you ever spotted a speeding car without a care for the traffic signal? Ever spotted a person rushing to the other side of the road when the traffic light is green? Ever seen bikers use pavements as roads to save a few minutes? Ever seen cars change lanes on highways or rush hour traffic on a whim? Well, so have thousands of other Indians.
Road safety in India is a serious concern. For a country that boasts the second largest road network in the world, it is inarguable that we need to pay more attention to our safety on roads – a place where we step out every day, spend a handsome amount of our time.
The government has come up with several regulations on road safety, but is this enough? Not if awareness around the topic is still lacking.
The intention behind the initiative is to bring together lawmakers, local authorities, traffic police and citizens under one umbrella.
The cities will be rated on parameters such as Pedestrian Rights, Road Lighting and Maintenance, Motor Laws and Traffic Control, Emergency Services, Road Cleanliness, Connectivity, Road Transport Infrastructure, Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management, Road Safety, Differently abled friendly, Road Quality and Road Safety For Children.
Here are the ten cities that were chosen for Road Safety Index 2018 and the reasons that make their roads safe or unsafe:
Mumbai has facilities for the differently-abled like reservations in public transports, special train compartments, concessions on fares, etc. The city that never sleeps scored the best when it comes to citizens’ participation in making the city accepting and warm toward the differently-abled. It won the category ‘Differently-Abled Friendly’.
However, there are areas of improvement – illegal hawkers, pavements and footpaths need to be fixed or reconstructed.
Anyone who hails from the capital of West Bengal knows about its recreational parks and brightly lit streets. Its traffic police deserve special mention for redirecting rush traffic every day as Kolkata roads are narrow and many are one-way streets.
During Durga Puja, the city tries to make Pandals differently-abled friendly by installing ramps.
It won the categories – ‘Road Lighting & Maintenance’ and ‘Road Safety For Children’.
But the City of Joy needs to work more on giving its residents #HappyRoads. Issues of waterlogging and numerous street hawkers, roadside vendors in busy areas need to be solved.
There’s no one who’s been to Delhi and not praised its excellent connectivity. Delhi prides itself for broad roads, top-notch metros, pavements and foot over bridges. The national capital surely serves as an example for cities across India when it comes to road connectivity hence, it won the categories ‘Connectivity’ and ‘Road Quality’ in the Road Safety Index.
While Delhi has made many of its public places differently-abled friendly, the areas that need improvement are long hours in traffic, fixing of roads that pose a hindrance to daily commute and rash driving by bikers.
The city boasts well-marked zebra crossings, adequate footpaths for pedestrians, underground SMART dustbins, reduced encroachments. Raipur fares well in almost all parameters of road safety. It won the category of ‘Road Safety’ and ‘Pedestrian Rights’.
However, the city could do better with stricter fines for traffic violators and awareness about road safety and garbage disposal.
Other cities can take inspiration from Chennai on how to ensure good road safety. The city has wide, well-connected roads that are lit properly. It also boasts rigorous night patrolling where traffic rules violators are fined. One of the best initiatives taken by Chennai is the separate parking space on city roads that prevent traffic from accumulating. It came out on top in the category ‘Motor Laws & Traffic Control’.
Areas where Chennai needs to improve are street lighting and cleanliness.
Indore is one of the few cities that has used plastic waste for construction of roads and covered garbage disposals, which explains why the city won the ‘Road Cleanliness’ category. Indore also has adequate zebra crossings, visual signals, street lights, footpaths.
But areas where the city needs improvement are – strict action against traffic violators, public spaces more differently-abled friendly.
There is a lot to learn from the road safety measures implemented by Ahmedabad – sound medical facilities, separate lanes for local buses, special cab service for differently-abled, wide roads. Ahmedabad won in the category ‘Emergency Services’, ‘Road Transport Infrastructure’ and ‘Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management’.
If the Heritage City improves road safety awareness among citizens, it’s bound to fare even better. Better street lighting and lesser encroachments will work in favour of Ahmedabad.
The other cities shortlisted were Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad but they didn’t win any category.
Maruti Suzuki’s initiative to rank cities will encourage citizens and administration to do better and emerge on top.
The Logical Indian community wholeheartedly appreciates the various initiatives undertaken by Maruti-Suzuki in this direction. Not only the government but we, as citizens of this country, should also pledge to make our roads safe. One of the first steps towards this is that we understand our duties.
We hope the authorities take a note while we pledge to do our own bit towards happier, safer Indian roads.
For more information about the Maruti Suzuki’s initiative and the Road Safety Indexclick here.