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Discussion in 'Asia' started by bunny_punia, Nov 13, 2007.
how did they communicate their 'fine'?
It was pretty funny. They were set up at a corner with a hard left and there was so much traffic that there was no point in riding by while smiling and waving which had worked in the past. I stopped and was told "papers and pay 100 rupees". The officer took me behind a fence and pressured me for money. He spoke the local language and I spoke English and we both yammered at each other until I started laughing and he started laughing. I paid the rupees since the the bike was signed over to me by an Aussie, who had it signed over by an Israeli, who had it signed over by a German (not sure if I have all the nationalities correct). It'd been signed over to tourists for 9 years. I signed it over to another Californian who's there now. Plus I had no insurance.
After I paid and was leaving, the supervisor took the papers and started going on in about how crappy the paperwork was, but the bribed officer took the papers from him and told me to leave. Chala!
yes, i think i'm going to get on famously with the Indian constabulary.
This is another one of those little spoken of and very delicate issues.
To be honest it is one of the things I enjoy about riding in India. The constabulary know how to cut to the chase. Here in the US and probably in Oz the rules are all about "the children", "public safety" and "social responsibility". Horseshit I say. It's all about money just like it is everywhere else on the planet. For those of us encumbered by too many rules, too much legal rigidity and more and more social engineering initiatives being thrust upon us daily, its a refreshing change.
Still, the issue of Baksheesh is one of the things that for many Indians I know, makes living in India very difficult. Far from its application to traffic infractions, I am told that it permeates every aspect of life. Even those with no money are expected to bribe someone anytime they seek government or professional services. Ive heard tell that pensioners must pay bribes in order to receive their pension checks. The people I know are sick of it and I can see where one would grow weary of it in short order. Im telling you this just so you will be aware that one mans refreshing change is another mans hell.
Perhaps one of the guys on the list currently living in India could correct any inaccuracys or misconceptions that may be the resulted of my presentation/perception of the subject.
You are spot on
It's a royal PITA. The general attitude of law enforcement is one of the reasons why riding driving is so dangerous here. Because you can then get away lightly with things that ought to get you locked up.
Fortunately, (and created pretty recently) there is legislation called the RTI act (right to info) which can be used if one feels that some govt official is not doing his duty - the persons in charge are BOUND to reply and wrong replies attract fines and penalties. This forces them to make their muddy and opaque version of officialdom at least a bit translucent, if not transparent, if the question is focussed enough.
It is definitely a start. But it will take time
an ignorant question : I read that Hindi is the official language of India. And that there are 100's regional / tribal / group languages. But for some reason, I got an idea that English is also taught in school. What language would I expect in a random encounter?
Depends on the level of education of the person you are communicating with and the region you are in.
* Most * educated people will be able to communicate with you in some form of english. This means the average shopkeeper, business owner, at least. Many cops, too, sub inspector level and above. Most educated people will be bilingual at least, if not multilingual.
Hindi is also Ok in most places, except the Southern part of India, where it is looked upon as an alien language, forced on them by the northern majority, and where it is not in common usage. Even though most have been forced to study it, they may not have learned it, or want to use it.
In most instances you'll get by with english, and even in the interior/villages, there WILL most likely be one person who you can communicate with (and would be happy to help out a guest).
I had no problem. I learned a handful of Hindi (yes, no, fuel, how to count 0-12, o'clock and random important stuff) but still most was English. I met Indians who both spoke Hindi but with the dialects had to speak to each other in English.
I think it's 22 official languages and 85 major languages. Here's how almost all my random encounters went:
"Hello good sir! Nice mooch! (moustache). Have some chai, no need to buy!" (Hindi rhymes naturally and they love to rhyme in Northern India, I didn't get the rhyming through most of the middle and south).
"Married? No married?"
"Why no married?"
"Children? No children?"
"Why no children?"
"Please buy [whatever]. Good price!" and then try to sell me a one dollar item for 15 bucks.
Indians are some of the nicest and greediest people on earth. You have enough money to vacation on another continent so therefore, you must be a millionaire. BUT PLEASE DON'T consider people who post on lists like this to be that way. There's a middle class of 300 million and it's middle class who post here. It's amazing how many people post on sites like this and assume the people they meet will be salesman and treat them as suck. Still, I did run across a few on-line folks who wanted to lighten my wallet. Not off this site or the HUBB but from couchsurfing.
There's a book about learning pidgin English. Probably an on-line version of it as well. I need to get that book because Indian English isn't American English and isn't English English. Maybe with a bit more pidgin it would've helped. Not that I didn't enjoy India. I plan on going back.
Not sure about the situation in other states but in Delhi, the Traffic police has become more effective. They have been handed out faster bikes to give a chase. I have often seen them chasing and catching the signal jumpers and such. They do not accept bribes (?) because if caught they will lose their jobs. The anti-corruption department loves to get their hands on such people.
I think the situation is changing as fresh blood is entering the system and young guys are getting into the department.
Haha.... a smile and a cheap camera can get your through most of the situations.
neither of which i am inclined to have. baksheesh? i like it
anyone here can speak to me about, say, 5 days in delhi and its environs (some cultural/touristy musts), followed by a 1 week down goa snooping around, vegetating by a pool/beach, shopping, eating etc.
I need to add some perspective to this so that people don't get the wrong idea. Certainly Indians are some of the nicest people in the world but I would not use the term greedy. I would say of the class of individuals you speak of that they posses the same entrepreneurial spirit, keen understanding of their target market and ability to size up their clientele that can be found in many regions of the world were people forced to eek out a living absent the social safety nets, government services and strict enforcement of the law that we in the west have become dependent on (emphasis on the word dependent). There is a certain strength and purity to it that in many ways I find to be admirable and I personally do not find it objectionable. Should the vast majority of people living in the west to be dropped into their environment and forced to fend for themselves many would not be able to cope and would probably starve to death. When people attempt to optimize their revenue stream (as I would characterize it) based on the market for their services in places like India and China I try to understand where they are coming from and I negotiate accordingly. When people attempt the same thing in places like Chicago or London, I want to choke the life out of the greedy scamming bastards
This is from the perspective of someone who has had the pleasure of being screwed many times and in many places around the globe
Optimizing income stream is fine for somebody who is miserably underpaid for his legit work like a tourist guide, for example, or a guy selling souvenirs. They HAVE to sell their stuff at what I consider UNFAIR rates because that IS the market price, and it's human nature to try make an extra buck.
However that is not the case with corrupt law enforcement/ govt officials who, in addition to having recession proof jobs from which they cannot be fired except under extreme circumstances are paid handsomely by our standards. Maybe not by western standards, but they do not live there, and do not purchase services and goods there.
Attitudes are changing, but it takes a generation or more for things to happen.
Coming back to Shmerel's query:
May I suggest you hire a car in and around Delhi, with a day in Agra? Lots to see in the limited time you have and you don't really want to cut into that by learning the "rules" of the road here. As regards what to see, it depends on what you are looking for. You already have a contact in Delhi, whom you have helped not so long back - Indianboy
Goa, yes, a bike is a good idea, and Goa being a touristy place, there is no shortage of shopping and such like. However, if you want to go to really clean unspoilt beaches, Goa is not the place to be - it is South Maharashtra, just North of Goa, and less than 200 km away. There are some tourist facilities there near Malvan and Ganpatipule (pull that atlas out!), but mostly clean unspoilt beaches with not another tourist in sight, at least 25 of them.
I've actually seen dolphins 50 meters out from the shore at one of those beaches.....
I would agree. The people who sell their goods and services for a living are the people I was referring to. Those who are employed by the government do not operate under the business models or have the need that would justify optimizing their revenue stream. Id call the former good business sense and the latter graft.
It makes me feel a bit embarrassed in having said that dealing with police through graft is one of the things that makes travel in India simpler for foreigners. It does do that but then we dont have to deal with it on a full time basis. If we did, our indignation would at least equal yours and yours is wholly justified.
i'm frantically studying the maps and lonely planet.
is mumbai worth a look in?
Given the very limited time that you have, it may not be worth it. Sure, there are things to see, but not on the scale of say, Rajasthan/ Goa/ Kerala / Leh.