Civic sense in our citizens

Ram Rattan Sharma
Civic Sense is nothing but social ethics. It is consideration by the people for the unspoken norms of society. A lot of people assume that civic sense is Just about keeping the roads, streets and public property clean. But civic sense is more than that. It has to do with law abiding, respect for fellow men and maintain decorum in public places. A lot of foreign countries function in a smooth manner because of strong civic sense amongst their people. But can anybody explain the reason of lack of such a thing in a nation? The lack of proper education is the major reason behind this. People are extremely reluctant to learn new things. They are very rigid to changes. The attitude : “I know everything” is the major cause of lack of civic sense in India. No stress is given on Learning civic sense in India . The self centred mentality of the individuals makes them unaware of several critical issues. India is known as incredible for a reason. Things that happen in India can only happen in the country of marvels. It is worth recalling the “Indus Valley” civilization about 5000 years ago, with no scientific aid, they maintained a very well drainage system both in the Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa cities. But when it comes to common knowledge, all we witness is a lack of civic sense in Indian youth. Nobody stresses on the need to learn civic sense in India and there are very few who understand the importance of imbibing it. Blame the lack of awareness among people and a self centered mind set among people that makes up for the basic causes of lack of civic sense in India.
Talking about the youth of the country just saying that there’s lack of civic sense in Indian youth won’t help improve the situation. Parents teachers and the society as a whole should take the responsibility of teaching kids the rights and wrongs from the very beginning so that they learn to mingle with people from various communities and appreciate the diversity around them. This would encourage tolerance towards people from other communities looking at the condition of the country, getting an understanding of the civic sense is the need of the hour especially in a secular country like India. The failure of appreciating others has prevented India from developing and is the lack of civic sense which leads to communal incidents. Basically its the failure of the realization of the fact that developing civic sense can make our country a better place to live in. We believe that since we pay taxes, we have the right to throw garbage, spit, urinate on roads and it is the Govt’s duty to clean it. During rains, our roads clog up disrupting everyday life, but we still blame the Govt for not cleaning the drains, though it is we who throw garbage on roads and in drains, which get clogged.
Good manners are extremely important in life, in school and at the work place. Without manners people in their world would be unable to communicate with anyone. Manners should be in stilled in a child at an early age so that when he grows up, he is well behaved and not problematic. All of us want our children to be successful, but not many make the effort to turn them into good human beings. We must teach our children to respect our planet and do his or her bit of nature. These are simple but essential means which can encourage our children to save the planet and as parents we must practice what we preach. If we do not teach our children about social issues, they may not able to take an appropriate decision, when confronted by that issue in society . For example, you need to teach your child about the ill-effect of drugs and addiction, what sort of people smoke them and what effect it could have on his life. In fact, you need to inform him that his peers could introduce it to him at school. This knowledge will help him take an appropriate decision, if ever confronted by this situation. With the exception of couple of lessons in school, not a lot of attention is given to civic behaviour. Schools and homes do not teach their children about the importance of civic sense and how it could make a difference to the country as well as the quality of their lives; let’s see why civic sense is so important. When civic sense is lacking in society, it leads to a lot of problems. Disregard for the law is a primary cause for lacking civic sense. A person who has high civic value does not resort to shortcuts and unethical tactics to get his work done, and being unethical in daily activities does not benefit any one, as the behaviour only gets emulated by other members of society. Ultimately, the situation will reach a point, where hardly anything can be done to restore it. For example, we Indians are personally very clean people. We brush out teeth and take a bath everyday and wash our hands before eating. We keep our houses clean, but when it comes to public places, as people we are simply unable to keep our streets, our railway stations, and hospital or places of worship clean. This is the state of affairs everywhere in India including hundred and thousands of villages, towns, mega cities as well as in the streets of the national capital New Delhi. We simply have very poor civic sense or social ethics.
There are few more aspects of the civic sense other than keeping roads, public places clean and behave properly on roads. Civic sense is also about following the rules everywhere and not only on roads and taking care that other people do not get hurt or feel inconvenience due to us. The long line outside ticket counter, booking window, ration store etc are often the place of attention because few persons do not want to obey the rules neither they think about others standing in line ahead of them. We do not feel sorry for even our neighbours, sometimes and for our small gain hurt them. There are a lot of social problems like female infanticide , alcoholism, drugs abuse, and superstitious beliefs etc. which are still a huge problem in India. It is vital that more and more people be made aware of these issues so that we can fight them as united country. Social awareness also make the individual more mature and considerate when it comes to making important decisions. We must lend on credence to this feature for proper and holistic growth. This shows we are much behind and we need to have civic sense.
Civic sense is all about having consideration for a fellow human being. It means being polite, showing consideration to the elderly, women, children and disabled people, driving in one’s lane without honking, throwing one’s garbage in dustbins and smoking only at designated places. The list can go on. Well mannered sense demands that one must have a feeling for others. One must not be callous person. One should live without disturbing others, whether it is home, schools, office, theatre or any other place. No one is born civilized and full of good etiquettes. We ought to learn to be a good citizen.
(The author is former Dy Librarian University of Jammu)