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Spreading literacy... sort of!

by Shailendra Gupta

Posted on December 14, 2015 at 11:25 AM

Reading is a luxury for many.
A major chunk of Indians cannot read and or write. That's one part.
There is another segment that can read but stays away for a variety of reasons.
Long haul truck drivers fall into the second category. Not that they are lazy but due to inaccessibility.
For them, dhabas or roadside eateries they halt to bathe, eat and rest does not provide dailies to kill time. All they do in their spare time is gossip: talk about their mundane life on road and little else.
Don't they have hunger for news? Of course, they do have. Their a la carte consists of road blocks, riots, accidents, and highway vultures (corrupt highway authorities belonging to various states they pass through waiting on their wings to collect their illegal earnings from hapless drivers).
“Given a choice, would they love to read newspapers in their mother tongue?” thought we at TransportMitra Services.


Thus born the novel idea of making available some vernacular dailies and check the appetite for reading among resting long hauliers.
At the Chaudhry Dhaba where TransportMitra runs Driver Development Lab (DDL) at Sonepat-Meerut Road (8 km from NH 1), they began circulating Amar Ujala, Dainik Bhaskar and Punjab Kesari (in Hindi, of course).
Balram Singh and team consisting of Praveen and Naveen - managing DDL - ensure those wanting to read newspapers, do get one.
Reader-drivers are punch pleased that there is someone - TransportMitra in this case - who shows interest to ensure drivers get to read what they would not have.
Noble cause? Not at all. Just to ensure information dissemination.
Having tasted success in making resting long haulers to assimilate some news as well, TransportMitra is exploring some more novel ideas.
It is a fact of life that the new crop of drivers one notices at this dhaba are youngsters and certainly sheltered in classrooms somewhere in their past and to that extent they can read.
Unlike the elderly hauliers who were just angoota chapps (thumb impressionists!), these youngsters are a different class!

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