Thursday, October 20, 2005

Mulgi Shikli, Pragati Jhali...

Since I'm poor, and to complicate matters, aaram-pasand...... I almost always travel in Bombay by autorickshaw. Therefore I'm about as qualified to have as many posts on Auto's as Annie, but my aaram-pasand nature doesn't allow me to ponder long on such things or get up & blog them.

So what's causing me to resurrect myself now...? Well, recently I've noticed a movement that's motivated me to contribute to the cause.

These days, almost every autorickshaw I see has "Mulgi Shikli, Pragati Jhali" written neatly (and sometimes not so neatly) at the back of the hood. Literally translated from Marathi that means "Girl Educated, Progress Happened".

I'm excited at the humble auto's use as an advertising medium to drive this very simple but extremely crucial social message.

Perenially curious, I made some enquiries with various rickshaw drivers until I got my answer two nights ago. Apparently, the RTO doesn't "pass" any new vehicle that doesn't have this social message emblazoned on it's back.

The best part of this drive is not that every commuter on the roads in bumper to bumper Bombay traffic reads this message & is aware of it's importance. That is only a fringe benifit. The best part is that each poor, semi-literate autorickshaw driver now knows that this is an important message!

The results I guess will be seen only 20-25 years from now, and maybe at that time no one will be able to pin point the stimuli behind the sudden change in India: Literate people, staying away from trouble, creating intellectual & material wealth for their country!

All the more reason to applaud this very noteworthy effort right now. Whoever has initiated the idea needs a sound pat on the back. And if there is a Social equivalent of the Nobel, that as well!