When Worlds Collide, by Nalaka Gunawardene

Text of my ‘When Worlds Collide’ column published in Ceylon Today Sunday newspaper on 10 February 2013

Sometimes it takes a personal tragedy to open our eyes to monstrous realities.

A few years ago, 17-year-old Shivam Bajpai was struck down in a traffic accident in an Indian city. He lay bleeding on the busy road for more than 40 minutes and then died.

His cousin Piyush Tewari, a successful private equity manager, was horrified. “People literally watched him die…but nobody came to his aid,” he recalls.

This scenario unfolds every day and night all across India, where 15 people die every hour from road accidents, and 60 more are seriously injured. Road accidents in India are the leading cause of death in the age group 15-40, the most productive section of society.

“We have the dubious distinction of being World Number One in road accident deaths,” says Tewari, who…

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