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There is a very clichéd’ line which is often spoken when we talk about common sense – common sense is not so common. In the context of India, we can add one more sentence – civic sense is not so common here. Though we live in a civil society, education standards are lot better than the third world country and we are an emerging world power. Even then, when it comes to civic sense, we fare very poorly. Before moving to other aspects related to civic sense it is better to first understand this term. What is Civic Sense
Civic sense is nothing but a common sense in general. It means that that our behavior at certain places and in certain walks of life shouldn’t create problems for others. In other words our behavior should be what is expected from a civilized society. Writing on compound walls, on buses, trains, monuments, rash driving, smoking in public and throwing garbage on the streets – all these things indicate a lack of civic sense. Where do we lack civic sense
Our countrymen lack civic sense at almost every place but roads and public places are favourite spots. Traffic conditions have been worsening in India in not only metros but many other large cities. The purchasing power of Indians has increased in last one decade but nothing much has changed in the infrastructure and condition of roads. But even then the huge no. of road accidents and incidents of road rage can’t be attributed to this fact. The apparent lack of civic sense is the major reason behind it. Most of the people do not drive keeping other drivers in mind. They view the road as a race track and other vehicles as either obstructions or mere spectators.
Rash driving has killed many people in India in past few years. Add to it blatant ignorance of the safety measures as well as traffic rules and you get a complete picture of the sorry state of the civic sense of the people on roads. In the smaller cities drivers do not care a dime for safety equipments like helmets and seat belts. As if this alone was not enough, road rage is increasingly making its presence felt on the roads. Small altercations on the road, often due to traffic rule violation by one of the parties or both, lead to bigger fights which end up in some casualties. This is another dark side of the lack of civic sense.
A freedom without discipline leads to disorder. Our freedom fighters wouldn’t have imagined that the people would so soon forget their sacrifices and care the least about the places of their own country. The public places, whether it is a park, a zoo, a bus stand and even roads, become the worst victims of the lack of civic sense. Irrespective of the class of the society they belong to, people tend to throw garbage on the road, spill waste water, spit on it and treat it as a place owned by them. We often question the administration on the issue of the garbage and dirt in the various corners of the city, but fail to remember our role in keeping the city clean.
We try to keep only our houses clean and care least about the others. We don’t even make use of the garbage bins to dispose of the garbage. The parks are the favourite places for the people to ignore the basics of civic sense. Making it dirty, plucking flowers in spite being warned by a board and spitting on the plants is some of the misdeeds we do. In the smaller cities people do not a spare even a place like a hospital or nursing home where hygiene is of utmost importance.
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 & 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 neighbors sometimes and for a very small gain hurt them. How lack of civic sense is bad for the society
Lack of civic sense is definitely awful for the society as a whole. Often the clashes, varying from a couple of persons to large groups, emerge out of the lack of tolerance and it is nothing but the lack of civic sense. The resources like roads, parking places, water, gas cylinders etc haven’t increased in last few years but the population of the country is getting increased day by day. The small altercations today on petty issues can take a bigger shape tomorrow. If we do not have tolerance for each other now when the situation is not that bad then only God can save us when it goes out of control.
Tourism is another industry which is affected due to lack of civic sense in our country. The garbage of public places, the sorry state of historical places, and utter disregard for the rules definitely paints a bad picture of India in front of the tourists coming from the other countries.
Lack of civic sense often comes back and haunts us when we face problems due to our own disregard for the system. During 2006 floods in Mumbai, many areas got flooded because the sewerage lines had choked due to polythene bags which hadn’t been disposed. Similarly in another city, the water supply system to a whole area ruptured when few miscreants deliberately broke down the pipe lines for their own purposes. These are very few examples of how lack of civic sense in longer run creates a trouble for us only.
Civic sense is not something that you learn or can make someone learn in a single day. It takes time and should begin at one’s home only. We should not wait for our kids’ school teachers’ to impart them the basics of civic sense. Instead, we ourselves should serve as an example in front of our kids. Then only the society can improve.