Thursday, January 31, 2008

Civic Sense: Whats that ???

While coming back from a trip last week to Goa, I saw a most heartening, and at the same time, a depressing sight. I was coming back from Goa to Mumbai by train (AC chair car in the Shatabdi Exp). On the other side of the aisle were seated two young women, foriegn tourists (mostly European) who were probably coming back from a holiday in Goa. One of them took a plate of Idli-Chutney and after finishing it, kept the paper plate on the train floor. A sudden gust of wind caused the plate to turn upside down, with the result that the left-over chutney spread over the floor. Now the spilled chutney was quite far from her seat and hence could not have any discomfort to her or other passengers. But to my amazement, the lady took a couple of paper napkins and began cleaning the chutney on the train floor (and we all know how dirty our trains are anyways, although it was an AC compartment). It took her a good couple of minutes to clean the mess caused, following which she dutifully took the plate and went in search of the nearest waste bin and promptly put the plate in its rightful place.

The fact that someone would actually clean the plate on the floor was something that amazed me. What depressed me was the realization that not many of my own countrymen would have bothered to do it. We would have just shrugged it off saying 'the railways will clean the mess'. Which is why our trains are so pathetic in their appearance today. Getting to a bigger question that bugged me, and always does: Why dont most people in India have even basic civic sense ? The sense to keep their surroundings clean. What could be the possible reason ?? Initially I used think poverty was it, but then you find well-to-do people happily throwing their litter in our public parks and gardens. Similarly, civic sense does not automatically come from good education, though there might be a strong co-relation there. Then what causes us to not have even an iota of civil sense ??

Would love to know the answer.



Anonymous said...

I would like to raise a Red Flag about this -- daddy

Dhananjay said...

Nice one Gokhale.
It has probably got to do with our atitude that someone else will clear up the mess.

Monsieur K said...

good observation amit.
guess thts the difference between "sushikshit" and "susanskrut" - we have probably spent the last 60 odd years since independence on education - lets hope, we spend more time on educating ppl on civic n social responsibilites - and we are included in 'ppl' also.