Reclaiming the common space
I st example
(On the cross road, four women are seen standing. One harassed woman is coming with her daughter, daughter’ ankles are bleeding)
The first woman: hey sister, what happened, why your daughters ankle is bleeding?
The harassed woman:she was playing on the road, a motorcyclist hit her and sped away.
the second woman: but why was she playing on the road? what happened to the wee litttle park by the side of your home.
The harassed woman: the wee little park has been turned by some persons in the big car park.
The third woman: how come, how is it possible?
The harassed woman: I donot know. they say that a common park has now become a common car park.
Forth woman: we can have this discussion later, first let us take this girl to some doctor.
(All agree.They do to the doctor and they get the girl’s bleeding ankles bandaged. now they are on the road again).
First woman: Noew the girl is at ease. Now we have to think as to how to reclaim that common space and convert that bog car park in the wee little park as it once was.
Second woman: that is easy. Let us go to the municipal officers and lodge the complaint.
All woman: yes, yes. Let us go there and make some noise.
(All the five woman and the wee little girl are before the municipal officer)
The first lady: there was a wee little park near my house. Now that is no more!
The municipal officer: what, what happened to that park, that was the common space for all of us. How can it be no more?
The second lady: Now that has become the common private.
The municipal officer: what does this mean? I never heard any phrase like this?
The third lady: all the car owners have together grabbed the park and turned that into a collective private park for their cars.
Municipal officer: how can it be done.
The fourth lady: yes they have come up with anew definition of common space. They say that park is still the common space, albeit for the car owners.
Municipal officer: I think it cannot be allowed.
The fifth (harassed) lady with her wee little daughter: Now see, the result of this new philosophy of common private, my wee little daughter has injured herself while playing on the road. She has to play on the road as there is a car space in the park, but no common space.
The municipal office: Now, I understand the case. But what can I do in this fight between two kind of commons.
All the women in unison: then who will resolve the issue. This new definition of common for the cars also robs their children also of the play ground. So, our claim is for them also.
The municipal officer: So, what do I do.
The wee litlle girl: simple, uncle. Put a gate so big in the park that only little chilfren and their parents may enter; no animal, no car..
The municipal officer: right my little daughter. Very smart solution, indeed.I will do so right now. Come, show me that park.
( later, the same day, all the cars were put outside the park and a big gate was put in and it was locked also, so that no car, no animal may enter in the car. In the evening, now, many children can be seen playing and singing and dancing in the park)
the above story is the real story of my street.(L- Block, Mahavir enclave, New Delhi-45) But what happened afterwards was still more amazing and it keeps us amazed all the time even now. After vacating the park, the car people started parking their cars on the roads and now there is a permanent jam on the street and for the people walking on the road, getting tick off by some vehicle and getting their clothes torn is a real occupationa hazard. The children still live dangerously as now there ios very little space left on the road. We have complained to the municipal authorities but they say that this is a national problem, may be in Delhi, it is more deadly. So, nothing can be done and the jury is still out. But our fight continues. Perhaps, this problem also needs a new smart idea by some other wee little girl. But, we do not want any other wee little girl injured again. So, take care of them well. Hence, the problem remains as unsolved all across the nation as it is in the national capital. By the way, I would like to put this also on record that one other pastime of us Indians is to encroach upon the pavement and footpath in all the market, so that the buyers and customers re forced to spend as much time as possible in the market; so that the GDP of the nation grows leaps and bound.
So, I think people and the government will have to work hand in hand in order to restore the commons to the COMMON.I my self did the same and in case of restoration of the park to the COMMON, I was successful but as far as restoration of the commons like pavement and footpath to the COMMON is concerned, the fight is much bigger and the struggle goes on.
Now a couplet by me encapsulating the essence of this write up.
:The more the common space and the wealth,
The more the private happiness and the health.