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The better part of valour is discretion
The adage "The better part of valour is discretion" is almost forgotten. It seems to be ignored by young India. Young men and women are constantly pushing their luck and risking their life and limb. Young men and women may feel that life is to be enjoyed and risks are a part of everyday life. But the pain suffered by their parents, family and friends when they die or are disabled is very real. Young India must learn to asses risk and take only acceptable ones.

Coping with ragging

Every year a few instances of suicide, death or injury due to ragging are reported. In most cases the raggers are punished with expulsion and even jail terms. So, why do seniors, sometimes in their final year, torture their juniors in the name of ragging? Every year, almost 10 lakh students join professional courses. Almost all of them face some form of ragging. Only a few face extreme ragging, but why? To my way of thinking, extreme ragging takes place when the fresher is arrogant, abusive and threatens the seniors. My suggestion to freshers joining professional courses is to bear with a little ragging. But if red lines like sexual abuse or monetary demands are made, be polite but firm. Do not threaten seniors. Escape, discuss with parents and then lodge a complaint from a safe distance and if possible through a media house. It may be advisable to change college if possible.

Picnicking on shores of water bodies

Every year we read about students on picnics drowning in the sea or being swept away during flash floods. These are totally avoidable tragedies. Avoid bathing in unknown waters. The water depth and current can change at every step. Never venture into the sea after high tide as during low tide the swimmer is likely to be pulled into the sea. Do not sit on the edge of tidal rivers or streams during monsoon after heavy rains or bathe at waterfalls. Never try to rescue a drowning person by extending your arm. He could pull you down. Throw a rope or cloth like sari, dupatta, shirt or trouser and pull him out, preferably with help of friends.

Coping with road rage

Road rage or simply uncontrolled rage is a new menace in our society. In Bihar, a minister's son shot dead a young man for over taking his car. An army major was shot dead in Gurgaon over a parking dispute. An auto-rickshaw driver was beaten to death by a group of young men for objecting to their urinating in the open. Such cases are happening every day. Try to remain cool in face of irritating acts of indiscipline, particularly by young men in expensive cars, motor cycles and SUVs. They are likely to be spoiled brats of politicians or senior government officials or wealthy businessmen or professionals or criminals and positively dangerous. Always talk politely and if necessary request with folded hands.


It is natural for young men and women to fall in love or simply go out together on a date. Even this has become dangerous in light of moral policing by the Hindutva Brigade and local goons. Even the police, who are expected to protect, harass the young couples for extortion. This is particularly so if the girl is a Hindu and the boy a non-Hindu. Meet in malls and other crowded places like college canteens. We used to tell our daughter to bring her friends home rather than chat on the streets. Avoid secluded places. What will the boy do if a number of goons attack the girl?

Women moving alone

The papers these days are full of reports of molestation, rape and gang-rape. I am simply amazed by the way our young women venture out alone at night or in the afternoons in deserted streets in search of an auto-rickshaw or taxi. We know that near empty compartments in trains and empty buses can be equally dangerous. But they do not seem to care. Some trips may be unavoidable. But many are recreation related and can be avoided. I earnestly request our young ladies to be as careful as possible. Learn to move in groups. Cut out un-escorted late night movements. Have help lines on your mobile and call police and home at first sign of trouble. Young male friends and relatives can also be a source of trouble. Do not neglect stalking or other signs of danger. Keep parents informed. If alone in the house, do not open the door even if the person is known to you.

Drunken driving

We all know that driving after drinks is dangerous. But we still do it. Even if we do not, others do. So, how can we avoid accidents? Let your wife drive or hire a driver if you are going to a late night party. If your wife does not drive or a driver is not available, drink slowly and moderately and drive slowly. Taking a cab to the party is also a great idea.

Travelling by road at night

Some of our highways are among the most dangerous in the world. Accidents are common. Instances of robbery and rape are on the increase. I have read about hundreds on instances when families returning from pilgrimage or marriage functions have died in late night or early morning accidents. I recommend that you avoid driving or travelling by road at night. If that is not possible, make sure that the person who is driving is not drunk. Follow a bus or a group of vehicles. It provides security and protection against a head-on collision. Drive slowly.

Speed thrills but kills

Speed thrills but also kills. The story of Azharuddin's son remains fresh in my mind. Azhar bought his son a racing bike. Next day, the boy and his friends left early to race their bikes. The boy lost control, crashed and died. He was about 18. In another case, the boy went into coma after receiving head injuries and remained in that state for a long time. The family had to sell off their house to meet the medical expenses. Bikes and cars of today can be very powerful, but our roads are ill-designed and ill-maintained. No one observes traffic rules. Hazards such as stray animals, cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians are abound. Please drive slowly and keep distance. Wear a helmet if you are on a two-wheeler.

Late latifs

Some people are fond of leaving things for the last minute. They are always rushing against time to catch trains, planes and attend meetings. When you are in a hurry, you take chances. Sometimes this can be fatal. Get into the habit of being an early bird. Do things at a leisurely pace. It keeps stress levels low and also keeps you in good health.

Relationships and breakups

Knife and acid attacks, rape and murder of women trying to break a relationship are becoming commonplace.

The attitude: "If you are not going to be mine, I will not let you be anyone else's" is sickening. But that has become quite common. Dear young ladies! Your life and safety is in your hands. Do not make male friends on Facebook and go to meet them. Nothing can be be more foolish and dangerous. Do not rush into relationships and repent later. All that glitters is not gold and smart men often turn out playboys out to have some fun. Few men, even if married, can refuse advances from a woman. If a man proposes, do not slap him. Say you are honoured but that you need some time to think and talk to parents. Move to a different city if possible. If you are in a relationship and want to breakup and marry someone else, be careful. If the boy makes a threat, take it very seriously and go out of town for as long as possible. If a boy breaks a relationship, do not rush to commit suicide. I know a girl who attempted just that and was saved. She moved to a different city and got over the trauma in two years. She is now happily married with two kids.


"Incredible India" is incredible for its history, cultural heritage, diversity, natural beauty, flora and fauna. India is also incredible for its corruption, lawlessness, lack of civic sense, VIP arrogance and indiscipline. TV serials promote an unrealistic and perverse picture of man-woman relationship which cannot be happily replicated in real life. The combination of extreme selfishness, criminalisation of politics, vigilantism and VIP arrogance makes our cities and roads some of the most unsafe places on Earth. Under the circumstances, "Discretion is perhaps the better part of valour".

I am not asking you to be a coward. Save your courage for a worthy cause. Fight to protect your family, friend, a damsel in distress, for your country and your values. But fight to win. Fight with a strategy, with assistance of like-minded people, police and technology. Your are more useful to us alive and ticking rather than dead or maimed.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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