An inspiration – 16 year old traffic volunteer from Indore
We are the youth of this country and we are the ones who have to work now, in order to serve our country. Believing this and living by this, Priyanshu Chouksey, a 16-year-old boy from Indore has been working as a traffic volunteer for a few years now. He has been brought up with the ideology of serving the nation whatever way you can.
Q. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you exactly do?
A. Hi, I’m Priyanshu Chouksey, I’m 16 years old and I am working as a traffic volunteer for the last few years. I’m a believer of the saying “Real change starts with you.” Bringing about real change in our country is going to start with us. Individually. Apart from the time that give in my school studying, I have also been volunteering with the traffic police in Indore.
Q. How did you think of becoming a traffic volunteer?
A. In 2019 alone, over 151 thousand fatalities were reported due to road accidents. Traffic police are out there trying to do their job every day. They are serving our country. I have also always wanted to serve my country any way that I could. But I’m still young and don’t really have a lot of other resources that I can serve my country with. So, when I found out that there are other people who are working as traffic volunteers in Indore itself, I decided to sign up for that. I stumbled upon this when I was surfing through the internet about what I could do as a 14-year-old, to be of use to my country.
Q. So after finding out about this, what steps did you take to becoming a traffic volunteer?
A. When I found out about this on the internet, I immediately contacted the people who handle this and tried to find out how to sign up to become a traffic volunteer. That’s how I met Jayesh Kataria, a fellow traffic volunteer. He was the one who encouraged me to join and told and helped me get the jacket of a traffic volunteer. For the first couple of years since I signed up, I would sit in the closest police station of a particular area and handle giving out announcements from sitting there. I was still very young and was not allowed to go on the street and in the middle of traffic. But now, when I just very recently turned 16, I was finally allowed to go on the road and work on field.
Q. Can you share your experience of the last couple of years as a traffic volunteer?
A. From the time that I have spent with my peers, I have realised that the traffic police who work day and night to keep us safe are not respected and appreciated enough for all the work that they do. They are out on the roads without caring if it is too sunny or if it is raining too hard, for the sake of our live, because we stubbornly refuse to abide by the traffic rules. My colleagues Shubhi Jain (fellow traffic volunteer) and Ranjeet Singh (traffic police) have been mentoring and inspiring me along my journey as a traffic volunteer. Along with them the DSP of Indore Police, Mr. Umakant Choudhary has also helped me through my time with them. Working with these three very inspiring people and Jayesh in the Special Traffic Group, as we were called, has been one of the best experiences of my life.
I remember reading and feeling really happy and proud about the statistics of when I joined two years ago, that said that only 40% of four-wheeler drivers use a seatbelt, but since then, with an increase of 30%, about 70% of the same demographic of drivers use seatbelts. Until at least 80% of people in Indore don’t start following the traffic rules, I have decided that I will work as a volunteer, for two hours every day.
Q. What were the obstacles and judgements from people that you had to face? Did you get any judgements from your school friends?
A. In the beginning, a lot of people used to keep telling me that I was too young and inexperienced to be working on the roads. Not just that, people still tell me that I shouldn’t be working for free and that should be getting at least a little amount of money for the work that I do. I don’t really listen to them because I didn’t really care for their opinions. I always wanted to do something for my country. Besides all, I have complete and unwavering support of my family. Volunteering, by definition, means working out of your goodwill for something that stand for. I am very happy working the way I do and it gives me an immense sense of pride and fulfilment. When it comes to my school friends, I never got any backlash from them, in fact we formed a group and would all work together as traffic volunteers in the initial days.
Q. Is there anything you would like to tell your peers and the kids your age?
A. I would like everyone to understand all the hardships that traffic police have to go through on a daily basis. In countries in Europe and America, there is a lot less need of traffic police officers because everyone abides by and follows all the traffic rules made by the judicial system of their country. But in India, there are over 150 thousand road accident cases in one year only. I would like to tell people my age that stop wasting your time on your mobile devices and dedicate at least a little of your time towards serving your nation. Along with this, I would like to say that instead of risking your lives by showing off your driving skills on the road, why not risk your life for your country and maybe join the Indian Army? It will not only gain you fame and respect, it will also make you feel proud of yourself and you will get a chance to serve your own country.
Q. What are your plans for your future?
A. I am still a student in school as of now, but I am also studying to grow up and become an IPS officer. I want to fight the battles that come my way and rise through my ranks, so that I can bring about real change in my country. I have been brought up with an ideology of patriotism and I want to make the most out of it. I want to serve my country that I love and respect so much.