Received by email from Mahmudul Sumon, Dept of Anthropology, Jahangirnagar University.
Conversation between a traffic police and a public in Dhaka (2012)
Police says: this car is parked illegally …you are fined
Public says: (the care owner) But where is it written that this is a no parking zone (also indicates that a ministry car was just parked here; you didn’t say anything to that car)
Police says: Oh …you seem to know no law…all roads are no parking, parking is only when it is written
Public says: Really? Where is that law? Can you tell me?
Police says: I am not bound to tell you the law…
Public says: Why not? no, no .. you must tell me what is exactly the law, under which you intend to fine me…show me the law and I will accept the ticket..
Police says: I am not your servant
Public: In fact you are a public servant … you are supposed to give the public security in the road but not harassment…
(A group of other police joins the conversation)
Police says: you are creating a scene madam… tell your guardians to come
Public (close to forty years of age, female, tall): what do you mean by guardian? I am my own guardian
Police: I mean the one with whom you just talked over phone…
Public: How do you know I am talking to my guardian? I am my own guardian … I am also the owner of this car
Police: ok I will let you go… will excuse you this time!
Public: No… no…. I will accept the ticket as long as you can tell me the law
Police: We cannot keep all the law books in hand…
Public: You should know by heart…
Police: ok … the fact is no one asks like that to us… so we don’t know
Public: But you should know and we should ask
End of conversation; Public refuses to be ‘excused’ by the police and accepts the fine and leaves the scene in a relaxing mood!