Manju Thomas: A messiah for Bengaluru pedestrians and adversary for motorists
Manju Thomas: A messiah for Bengaluru pedestrians and adversary for motorists | Credit: Manju Thomas

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Manju Thomas: A messiah for Bengaluru pedestrians and adversary for motorists

Mar 19, 2018

Bravery is a virtue that many do not possess. It is an incredible trait to exhibit a daring feat that is heroic and inspiring. Indian women today are breaking the shackles of oppression and are fighting indiscriminately to protect their rights. One of the stellar examples of this bravery was exhibited by Manju Thomas from Bengaluru.

The incident happened on 13th March at around 7.30pm. It was near Corporation bus stop, with buses plying towards Lalbagh. Bengaluru witnesses a peak in traffic at these hours with commuters taking to all notorious means – overtaking through nightmarish jams, violating rules, and doing anything possible to avoid delays. Manju Thomas was standing at the footpath. A footpath is for the pedestrians to walk on. But in Bengaluru, motorists scoot up on footpaths, endangering lives of people walking on it. Manju was stubborn not to give any chance to any motorist to ply on the footpath at the cost of running down people.

She wanted to enforce the purpose of footpaths which are built for pedestrians and not two-wheelers or any other transport. Her stance convinced a few who accepted their mistake and got off the footpaths. But there were also few crooked ones who objected her stand and started an argument. Two motorists in a white Honda Activa KA 51 EF 7695 picked up a fight and wanted their vehicle to be passed. Manju was inflexible in her stance. She kept on conveying what is the purpose of the footpath and for those who had forgotten the meaning, she told them that it is wrong.

But Honda motorists were not the ones to listen to her. They started abusing her in local Kannada language. Manju didn't know Kannada and was unable to fight back in the language. Pawan Kumar, who had posted this video on Facebook, was the witness to this incident. To save the women from harassment, he along with his cab mates got down from the cab. They supported Manju on her standpoint which preceded a heated argument with the Activa owners. Ultimately they had to budge and took the vehicle off the footpath.

Credit: Pavan Kumar

Manju says that when she walked on footpaths, she saw that motorists would often keep honking at them as if they had done something wrong! Her decision to stand up to this injustice started when she was left cornered by a biker on the footpath. She decided that she would not tolerate this anymore. She simply started stopping motorists on the footpaths whenever she saw one and started telling them that this is wrong.

Manju Thomas is an incredible example of bravery and what she demonstrated is the duty of a true Indian citizen who is open to fighting for their rights. She did this not for herself but for thousands of Bangaloreans who walk on the footpath. For a cause, she adamantly stood up against the motorists who put the life of pedestrians on the footpath at stake and made them realise the importance of riding on the road. She has been doing this practice after work every day for an hour, patiently, stubbornly and as a social responsibility to guides all two-wheelers to take the road instead of the footpath. We salute Manju for exhibiting such fortitude. For all the people reading this - BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE.

Bengaluru Traffic Police are facing a difficult time managing violators, motorists parking their vehicles on the footpaths beside hundreds of them riding their vehicle on the footpath. They honk incessantly from behind expecting the pedestrian to move. There are also hawkers encroaching the footpath leaving little or no place for the pedestrian to walk. This is a threat on the life of pedestrians as it forces them to walk on the road making them susceptible to accidents. There are many good initiatives taken by the Traffic Department in this regard. They have launched an app called 'Public Eye' on Play store and App Store through which you can click pictures of violators and send them.

Footpaths are for pedestrians. Footpath encroachment by motorists using them for parking and riding the vehicles may cost their license, also paying a fine if caught red-handed. Even your vehicle may be seized by the traffic inspector, says Vijay Kumar from Bengaluru Traffic advisory.