Sorry but we lack civic sense

Lata Jain

Touching e- mail from my sister in US. “A very small issue, didi but there is a sense of responsibility and civic sense among these people. May sound trivial to u but felt like sharing and you can pen this as an article..” I was taking a walk in one of the suburbs of California near my hostel and there was this teenage girl ahead of me taking her pup for a walk. As is its wont, the pup decided to use that moment to relieve itself. The girl took a paper bag from her pocket, cleaned up the mess and then walked on to the nearest bin to dispose of the poop!I stood there watching the incident and was moved”

What would have happened in our country? Not hard to guess! What specially impressed me was that this was a young girl may be around 12 years of age. This is an age when there is a natural tendency to rebel but this civic sense was so deeply ingrained in her that she didn’t think twice about acting the way she did. But why was a sense of community living not inculcated in us since a young age and why is it still not seen in curriculums that claim to be building futures of India?

The Ganesh nimamjan near Tankbund and other lakes in the state was litter left behind by careless and unfeeling visitors, an overflowing gutter that bore mute testimony to an apathetic and incompetent administration and a general disregard for a public space that we could all be so proud of.

However the water of tank bund was sludgy and smelly, choked with weeds and spread across were discarded water bottles, chips packets and more inexplicably, broken slippers and shoes along with the Murthis of Lord ganesha.

Needless to say, this experience was only symptomatic of the deeper and far more endemic malaise– the uniquely Hyderabadi disregard for anything that is not personal property.

Civic sense or rather the lack of it has been widely discussed and somehow it is an undisputed fact that we Indians don’t seem to care much for it. This attitude cuts across all ranks and sections. We don’t think it deserves much importance in our busy life. People today are so driven towards their personal goals that civic sense as an ethic has become a low priority, almost nuisance. We do not believe in helping our children learn these great manners.

The attitude is this: “So long as my house is clean I really don’t care about the neighborhood”. This same “clean-aangan” syndrome comes into play each time we carelessly chuck a pet bottle out of a car window and are less hesitant to use the road as a spittoon Or dump an empty packet of chips out of the window of a speeding train or the butts of cigratte. We don’t care where the garbage goes, so long as it is removed from our own property or immediate vicinity. Women throw sanitary napkins in open in theatres and in the toilets of their hostels least bothered about hygiene.

Why does the rich, educated,page 3 indivual  in a swanky car think nothing of rolling down his window to spit a large disgusting stream of red, masticated paan anywhere he deems fit? And why do we feel that it’s OK to make things worse? The excuse readily offered is this: “There is already litter around – adding to it won’t really make a difference.” and with this, we quickly and effortlessly absolve ourselves of the guilt that we refuse to feel. It is the same individual who is heard giving a lecture on cleanliness in one of the NGOs charter night in a posh 5 star hotel.

Sorry but we lack civic sense and we are equally good at playing blame games…………………

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