Friday, July 30, 2004

Joonu and civic sense

Indians do not have civic sense! Sorry, I have to correct that. Indians do not have civic sense when they (I mean we) are in India. That is just a plain and simple fact. Outside our country, we are the best-behaved people.

I want to relate an experience I had a few years ago. I was travelling with a marriage party from Bangalore to Mysore. My aunt had prepared snacks and put them in small plastic covers for all of us to eat on the way. All of us ate them, and I saw that everybody was throwing the plastic covers out of the window of the moving bus. Now, I was and still am, conscious about such things. One reason is that it is dirty, and I will presently relate the second reason.

We were two neighbours in a not-so-populated place in Bangalore. There were two puppies of a dog, and both of us adopted each. After a while, our neighbour stopped keeping the dog in their house because they thought that it was somewhat dirty. Now, I am fond of all kinds of animals (a bit scared of them initially, though). I used to visit my place in Bangalore every few days, from Madras. Our dog and this dog (Joonu was his name) used to rush to welcome me when they saw me at the corner of the street. Once, when I came home, I realized that nobody was home and that everybody had gone to a relatives house. All this time, Joonu was with me. He was already kicked out of his owners' house and had nowhere to go. He walked with me while I was looking for an auto. All stray dogs were picking fights with him and he would respond to them. He desisted only when I called him off. I was feeling very sorry at his state. The breaking point was when I got the auto. He tried to get in. I told him to go away, and gave him some bread. Nevertheless, he still wanted to come with me. All he wanted was some company! Unfortunately, I could not, or thought I could not take him in an auto to my relatives' house! It is one instance when I have felt very emotional. Anyways, sometime after this, Joonu died because he ate a plastic cover thrown by somebody.

I was planning to make this a blog about civic sense, but look what I did! Anyway, getting back to where I deviated. I saw people throwing plastic covers, and collected them. Then I had an argument with this person, an educated and well-to-do man. He asked me why I was doing what I was doing. I told him that it was not right to throw plastic everywhere and that I would collect them all and dump them in a dustbin when we stopped. Then, my shortsightedness made me tell him that a dear dog of mine died because he ate plastic, and that many cows die every year because of the same reason. Then he said, "Look, it was the dog's karma that made him eat the plastic. Why should you worry about it?"...!! I did not know what to say. Now I can think of at least ten retorts, but I was just tongue-tied then!

We stopped at a place some two hours from Bangalore. I, with all the collected plastic covers and with a great sense of achievement, went to dispose of them in the way they were intended to. But I could not find a dustbin! There just was no dustbin! I just had to dump them on a garbage pile next to the road.

The question is whether we start collecting plastic, or arrange for dustbins first. If there are dustbins, people will dump garbage in the bins. But on the other hand, unless people start collecting plastic, there is no reason to have a dustbin! It is the chicken-and-egg problem.


Karthik said...

ಬಹಳ ಸತ್ಯ.. ನಮ್ಮ ಜನ ನಮ್ ದೇಶದಲ್ಲಿ ಎಲ್ಲಾನೂ taken for granted ಅನ್ನೋ ರೀತಿನಲ್ಲಿ behave ಮಾಡ್ತಾರೆ. ಆದರೆ ನಿಮ್ಮ ಪ್ರಯತ್ನಕ್ಕೆ ಕೇಳಿ ನನಗೆ ಬಹಳ ಸಂತೋಶ ಆಯ್ತು. ನಿಜ chicken-egg problem ಅನ್ನೋದು.. ಆದರೆ ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಸಮಸ್ಯೆಗಳಿಗೂ ಉತ್ತರ ಇದೆ ಅನ್ನೋದು ಬಹಳ ಸತ್ಯ. ಅದಕ್ಕೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಪ್ರಯತ್ನ ನಾವು ಮಾಡುತ್ತಲೇ ಇರಬೇಕು.

I think we youth can chance several problems in our nation. Lacking is awareness in Youth. Youths think to freak out and enjoy life is what is important... rather to bring some changes.. There should be a great force to drive youths to achive something. Another example for this dirt is 'corruption'.. All these things can not be handled single handedly. We need to do it as a whole. If you start collecting plastic or decide from now onwards you won't pay any bribe to anybody, that is good.. but not enough. We need a force not from Govt side but from withing Youths to do these things. I am not sure how this would start, but I am foreseeing such a force in near future. We all will do it together. As a revolution.

We wont Hope for Better Bhaarat.. but We Make Better Bhaarat..

ಕಂಕಣ ಬದ್ಧರಾಗಿ ಕೆಲಸ ಮಾಡೋಣ -- ಜೈ ಹಿಂದ್

Vallabhi said...

hmm, that's right, its an chicken and egg problem. People are yet to get civic sense in all aspects, not only throwin' plastics on the road, but also spittin' all over the places, sometimes even thru a window of a bus. They just don't realise that it might cause problem for the passer by.

Once I was walkin' towards my home from the airport road. One guy was walkin' just ahead of me.I was standin' at one side of the road, waitin' for the traffic police to halt the vehicles, just to cross the road, one road-side elderly person did spit out (without even lookin' if there are any passer by at the other side)and that dirtied the guy's dress who was walkin' ahead of me.This was such a shameful act on his part.Luckily I was spared just bcoz I was back of this guy, else I would have gone thru this!

These people don't have the courtesy even to apologise or say sorry.There should be some hard and fast rules. People who make public places dirty should be fined. Thats what I feel. Else we would witness such incidents quite often, or sometimes become a victim too!

Karthik said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Karthik said...

Yes.. Rightly said Vallabhi.. Though the politeness and sincerity should have come within our people, alas it is not the case. We might have to enforce certain things by rules .. I guess that's the way to begin with..

Thanmay said...


It is true that we indians don't have civic sense. But, i will argue that not only in India, but also in other countries we don't find that. Do u say US has civic sense. I say No. Civic sense includes behavior also i guess right? If that's the case, then just observe how US civilions behave. They don't have any courtesy towards people. They sometimes behave just like RAKSHAS. Ofcourse, I do aggree with civic sense regarding neatness. But, to do that, we need a strong law and rules for that. Otherwise, we can never achieve it because, we have a large population and people never think alike. Or else, we have to just ban that plastic stuff. If u don't laugh at me;), I prefer to use pots(Mannina madike) instead of plastic :)


Sri said...

joonu's fate was disturbing.
it will be good even if at least a handful of people learn civic sense by reading this post. may be we have to start civic sense training camps all over for the general public.
another best example is the way we change our attitude/mannerisms, the moment we get on to an Air india flight

Kumar said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kumar said...

I can assure you that a few - at least a few - people around in India do make sincere attempts to avoid such shameful littering, thought that number is small. On a similar note, I hope everybody in India does get access to clean civic amenities, even in the remotest of villages.