Civic sense and social engagement

Karanvir Gupta
This is probably the toughest thing to do, to instill in public the sense for common cause and make them act in unison for bigger betterment. I wonder how Swadeshi and boycott movements would have instilled in public that sense of oneness and moved them in masses for the one common cause! Surely, the leaders of that time had a big stumbling block before they could take to the real cause. The point that added to their advantage then was the people/masses were being affected at individual levels and everyone was disgruntled and dismayed at the behaviour of foreign rule and their atrocities. Things have NOT changed much till now in the public behavior. They wake up to act only when they individually feel against something, otherwise the tendency to get up and do something as a whole for society is still missing from our DNAs. Probably we have become quite too individualistic in our approach.
It is sad to know that after 65 years of independence and 63 years of constitution formation, big numbers indeed, things are moving at a snail’s pace, there is something wrong that is happening around and we are not able to find it out. The fingers which are itching to point out leaders and government, I request them to keep their fingers down. The brains which are moving fast to find fault in policy structure, laws and judiciary, I request them to switch the polarity of their brains. At this point of time the thought that hits my mind is “Be the change you want to see in the world” by Gandhiji. Coming directly to the point, I would like to point out that what we really lack is the Civic Sense and the tendency to engage in Social activities as one singleton.
You tell me why is it so that houses inside are clean and the very road outside sloppy. The malls and shopping arcades well decorated  but their parking lots and the roads leading to them filthy. You can have an antiquity worth thousands in your house but then you shirk giving 50 bucks to the guy who comes to clean the road! You do not want someone to park in front of your house but you only park on roads wherever you wish. Please tell me how would you react when I come and spit on your house’s wall? Quite a scene it would be! But then it seems absolutely fine spitting on the road. Is it really that tough to instill in ourselves The Civic Sense?
In the month of December, 2012 it was the first time ever I witnessed in my life when the masses; older and younger, middle class and everyone came forward to support for a cause. Probably it was the fear of something untoward happening to our dear ones that made us get up in unison. But that is the spirit needed of us today and everyday!
I will go on asking questions because you are the only one Dear reader who can tell me if it is possible or not. Will it be really tough to stop asking for a polythene from the grocery store or vegetable vendor and thus leading ourselves to be a total plastic free zone? We can very well use cloth and jute bags that can be used over and again. It’s even more easy for people buying from the people coming at door step to sell vegetables. You can use baskets or utensil. It feels awesome going to places like Mclodganj, Patnitop, Khajjyar, Simla for their serene beauty and cool atmosphere. But what we do is go there and screw those places by all sort of human disturbances. Alas! Why go far, tell me as citizens of our state, what do we do to keep Dal lake and all the baghs in Kashmir intact; the very nature that is our pride?
Why is it so tough for us to wait for two extra seconds from light turning to green from yellow and instead rush on the signal? They say common sense is not so common among common people. I say civic sense is even more tough to find among us. The irony is had it been we more civic prudent, things would have been much more better. Why you hesitate to stop others from doing wrong? Probably because you are not sure when you will be in his/her shoes. Right?
Do you think if there will a common demand for public urinals, it wont be fulfilled? Do you think if we   complaint about some public servant not doing his duty to the mark, it will be not be well taken care of? Why do you wait for someone to act first? You be the one. I strongly believe Actions speak louder than words. Start doing, others will follow suit.
Civic Sense is an important aspect needed of us today. Next time when you praise foreign locales for their beauty and cleanliness, remember it is not just the govt. alone that works but the people also who contribute to the whole thing. This is more a matter of habit rather than implementation of laws! More you practice, more you will be better at it. Engaging ourselves in building up of society is yet another thing we need to learn.
There are many houses which would have domestic helpers. Frankly answer yourselves, how many of you have ever bothered to get them or their children educated? There are many a people who sleep hungry but if you enter into a hotel kitchen, you would realise how much food goes waste every day per serving. There is no waste food management policy in our hotels, even the good ones. I am not asking you to go outside and start planting trees but atleast make sure that you have ample greenery in your houses. Give environment a chance to grow and breathe. Will it be really tough to make the highway running across hotel Asia a green zone with trees planted on both sides of the road?? I NEED ANSWERS!!
I particularly liked when some two-three months back schools in Jammu organised awareness campaigns for traffic signals. Lets us begin with something like Jammu Marathon or Kashmir Marathon or better it would be if we call it a J&K Marathon. Let us always choose a theme for a marathon and work towards it. Be it happen once in three or six months and we dedicate the proceeding months for a particular cause till we achieve it. Only when we will feel for the cause, unanimously work for the cause, we will be able to achieve that.
From the theme of compulsory education to children till the age of 14, stopping female foeticide, educating female child, promoting agriculture, health and hygiene campaigns, cleanliness drives, unification of religious forces, we can do everything if we believe in it. The government will keep on making policies and regulations and at the same time relinquishing them, It is us who have to keep them active and spread the word around. It is only when WE-the citizens will realise the importance of such social engaging activities, we shall unify ourselves into a better place to live. And all this has to come from you and me and not from some political party. Not as a means to harness vote bank. Let us make our state as an example for rest to follow. The day we become civilised and engage in activities causing social concern, there will no force which could stop us from becoming ‘The Superpower’ and bear the fruits of it.