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 being respectfully law-abiding, respect for fellow men and maintaining decorum in public places. A lot of foreign countries function in a smooth manner because of the strong civic sense amongst their people. But, can anybody explain the reason for 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 rigidly opposed 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-centered 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 Civilisation’ about 5000 years ago. With no scientific aid, they maintained a very good 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 mindset 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 practice good habits like no littering, no spitting, using toilets and urinals, respect for teachers, helping elders and differently-abled strangers, follow rules of traffic and law of the land and help others do the same, respect different people, cultures and viewpoints etc. This would not only inculcate good habits at an early age, but help the child grow as a good and responsible citizen of the country and help other children around him to do the same. This, in turn, would be very beneficial to the country as whole.
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 it is the lack of civic sense which leads to communal incidents. Basically it’s 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 government’s duty to clean it. During rains, our roads clog up disrupting everyday life, but still we blame the government for not cleaning the drains, though it is we who throw garbage on roads and into drains, which get clogged.
Good manners are extremely important in life, in school and at the workplace. Without manners people in this world would be unable to communicate with anyone. Manners should be instilled 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 for nature. These are simple but essential means which can encourage our children to save the planet and as parents we must remember to practice what we preach.
If we do not teach our children about social issues, they may not be able to take an appropriate decision when confronted by that issue in society. For example, you need to teach your child about the ill-effects of drugs, tobacco, alcohol and addiction, what sort of people consume 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 a 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 absent in a 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 values does not resort to shortcuts and unethical tactics to get his work done. And being unethical in daily activities does not benefit anyone, 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 our teeth and take a bath everyday and wash our hands before eating. We keep our houses sparkling clean. But when it comes to public places, as people we are simply unable to keep our streets, our railway stations, hospitals, or places of worship clean. This is the state of affairs everywhere in India including hundreds 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 and 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 lines outside ticket counter, booking window, ration store etc are often the place of altercations 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 a very small gain hurt them.
There are a lot of social problems like female infanticide, alcoholism, drug 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 unitedly. Social awareness also makes the individual more mature and considerate, when it comes to making important decisions. We must lay emphasis on credence to this feature for proper and holistic growth. This shows we are much behind and we need to have civic sense. Being civilised is much more than just living in cities, having computers at home or cell phones in our pockets. To be civilised is, above all, to know how to live in peace with our neighbours and peers. Many people are still not ready to live in a community. As a general rule, people learn the manners which pertain to their particular social, economic and cultural situation, and travellers must learn specific rules of conduct to fit in as they visit other societies.
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 feel for others. One must not be a callous person. One should live without disturbing others, whether it is home, school, office, theatre or any other place. No one is born civilised and full of good etiquette. We ought to learn to be a good citizen.