Progress,Prosperity, Social responsiblity

Am a proud owner/driver of a BMW in the States but I simply don’t get it…
why own a BMW or any expensive car in Kochi or anywhere else in India. The beauty of owning such a car is the ability to drive smooth and fast….so tell me, where is the advantage outside of displaying wealth, consume precious energy,add to the congestion and pollution of a city that is exploding at the seams with no sustainable infrastructure.

I grew up in Ernakulam/Kochi in the 60’s  when it was a sleepy, provincial town, with horse driven carriages and human driven rickshaws, sights of beautiful parks, clean waterfronts uncluttered by plastics/trash, policemen in their knickers guiding traffic from their central platforms, when Sealord was the talk of the town as their first 7 story high rise building…imagine…

What happened…progress and prosperity?

Whilst the rest of the advanced western world is thinking of ways to reduce pollution, consider alternative energy, smart cars…are we heading the exact opposite? Where is our social responsibility? Are we really a rising nation?

With progress and prosperity comes social responsibility…does it make sense to own a fast or a large expensive vehicle…I can think of better ways to utilize my wealth! Can you…

By najmeer

A Mallu, a practising Physician in Family Medicine and Urgent Care in USA, resides partly here in Kochi. Passionate about human dignity and respect for the environment.


  1. Najemeer is right when he expresses his concern about driving a BMW through the roads of Kochi city. I too have thought what it would be to own such a car and use it for daily life in the city, used as I am too to driving a MBenz in Dubai and Sharjah. I too am nostalgic of those days when Sealord was the talk of the town and the small but beautiful childrens park with those little toy vehicles to drive around etc. Bruised and battered roads were still a reality of those days, but yet it was motorable! The situation now is pathetic.

    But have we not seen any progress? Theoreticallly lots of ‘progress’ we do see – cluttering of tall buildings, traffic lights instead of the ‘trousered’ traffic constables, export zones, IT parks and the glitter inside those, amidst the suffocating infrastructure outside, low-floor buses etc.

    I remember Abdul Kalam, our erstwhile President, (who was also my super boss at one time), talking on the implications of becoming a ‘developed’ nation. No amount of external development is going to make us a developed nation, unless and until there is an internal attitudinal change in the citizenry of the nation. Can we wait with patience outside a lift to let the people getting out walk out smoothly and then enter?, can we give way to the pedestrians trying to cross a road while we are the wheels?, Can we have universities and colleges where ‘learning’ and ‘knowing’ takes precedence and not the convoluted politics of the corrupt ruling class, can we have serious students of the universities engaged in thought provoking discussions on nation building and/or on ‘idea building’?, or in general, on developing a fibre of ‘creativity and innovation’ as against the general trend of getting mired in blind beliefs and superstitions?

    Basic building blocks to construct a ‘mind’ fertile for innovation and creative pursuits have to be introduced to children in the age group of 6-17 years and seeds of positivity need to be sown. Techniques of mind-mapping, developing visual intelligence, creativity etc. are required to be imparted. Thereby, after 20 years or so, we can hope to have a society of socially responsible Kochinties who will be in positions of decision making to make changes.

    In a little way, personally, this self is conducting such workshops and classes every weekend for a couple of scores of children in and around Dubai and Sharjah. This is a passion.

  2. Hey Najmeer,

    What do you suggest as an alternative? Infact i’d say use that Beamer coz its low pollution defntiely lower than the indian / Japanese made cars.
    I think before getting in to social responsibility and sustenance of the world etc, we need to look in to baisic things like cleanliness, Hygenie etc.

    Guess we are on the right track, except i think we need to take it slow and step by step!

    1. Ayaz, how can it be low pollution when it is adding to the congestion of stalled traffic, not to mention consumption of precious fuel while stuck in traffic.
      As an owner of a beamer, I can reassure you BMW’s are high maintenance, particularly if they are not driven the way it is meant to…they are sport cars which are engineered to be driven fast on highways and race tracks. As it is advertised, they are the ‘ultimate driving machine’! Where is the joy in driving a BMW if the roads are terrible at best and stuck in stalled traffic for hours.
      And the BMW’s I see here on Kochi roads, they are driven by drivers of their owners…

      If you are so bend on wanting to drive a fast luxury car, the country needs to invest in better sustainable infrastructure, otherwise, it is simply a waste!

      Though I love my BMW, I am looking to replace it with a smart car in the future. There are already active efforts to come up with smarter cars using alternative energy, more efficient and sexy public transport systems. Look out for these new means of transportation!

      During my stay in Kochi, I usually walk, take the auto or hitch a ride with a friend who has a motorcycle during congested hours. I simply do not have the patience to be stalled in traffic for hours on end in A/C 4 wheel vehicle of any type.

  3. Yesterday, I was turning into Variom Road, off MG Road when I was stalled at traffic for about 30 mins. Decided to get off the vehicle and walk to my destination. The stalled traffic was about one kilometer long with horns going off out of frustration. I reached the beginning of traffic jam to find a large luxury mercedes sedan barely enough to fit the width of the road trying to pull out of a parking space. The driver clearly was having difficulty maneuvering this large vehicle on a narrow road barely wide enough to fit the car with a very impatient stalled traffic behind….surely, it is comical not to mention frustrating…so tell me where is the advantage in driving a luxury car here in Kochi?

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