In short, what is the civic sense?
Civility, the word has its origin in the word ‘civilization’. The very basics of the formation of civilization involved people following some agreed-upon norms for better living of all. But a strange and quite disturbing phenomenon that has grown in the last decade is civility breaking down in many parts of the world. It simply shows that people are less and less concerned about their counterparts and how their activities will affect them. The term applies more in my country, where at every instance you see some civic rule being broken, and that too, without any regrets.
India is one of the oldest civilizations of the world but one would be astonished to know how much disregard people have, for their own heritage buildings and monuments. Visit any of them and you would find people who have inscribed their names and the names of their loved ones on it. Sometimes, I think that the Archaeological Society of India must be having nightmares every day.
Now, if we consider the government offices and public stands, we Indians have adorned all such places with deep red stains of beetle leaves or betel quid. Any clean corner catches the eye of some of the people, they are bound to spit out red stains. It is as habitual as nature’s call. They simply can't resist it. Well, you may think that spit bins may not be there but that is not the whole truth. I do agree that in India the number of spit bins to the population ratio is one of the lowest but there are assigned places where people can spit out their sacred juices. These stains have become omnipresent in trains, railway stations, roads, and esteemed public offices.
Now let's take the second case of queues. My father used to complain about his whole life about people breaking queues or lines, the quintessential complaint of a Bengali. “ We will not stand in a line waiting for our turn”, that’s the mantra. To be a little humorous, I would like to state a dialogue from our famous star Amitabh Bachchan’s film “ Wherever I stand, the line starts from there”. A section of the people in our country has taken this dialogue to be their biblical commandment and would break queues at petrol pumps, ticket centers, and so on with complete disregard of the inconvenience caused. It doesn't matter whether you were waiting for some hour or so for your turn to collect tickets or forms, someone would be there to heroically fly or push you back.
Now coming to professionalism. Even in businesses, you would find it utterly low. A few days ago my sister dispatched an order of articles of clothing to Australia, well ahead of the agreed time of delivery. She had even taken payment against the order.
Today, she came to know that the courier guy had not dispatched it. When said of the loss, the guy took it casually, as if a minor mistake has happened. He didn't even care to say that he would be dispatching the goods immediately. Nor was there any intention of refund. For a guy like me who once worked in the customer service call center of Amazon, this was like the death of the very term called ‘ customer service’. Now, the client canceled the order and even intimated that there would be no further business with my sister. In other countries, you would have filed a lawsuit against the courier service and would have claimed your money and worth of your loss. Here, in our country, we don't think of this even in our dreams.
Now, coming to traffic rules. Remember the ‘ Tokyo Drift’ song by the Teriyaki brothers in ‘Fast and Furious’. Well, we have many cases in our country who remain ‘ fast and furious 24*7’. Anytime a car or bike is handed over to them, some traffic policemen would be put to shame as to how many rules they can break. Basically, road heroes are born every day here, and they are of a different kind. Even pedestrian crossings are risky.
Well, things have slowly started changing with uproar being caused daily on these issues, but for the good of this country, we need to catch up with civic sense fast or the cradle of civilization may be known for lack of civility.
At my workplace here at LexiConn, we debate these issues a lot and find them worthy enough to be posted.
As Nishika pointed out “ people tend to forget their duties for peaceful co-existence, but never forget their rights”. And that is neither democracy nor freedom, for sure.