Friday, February 8, 2008

Are we responsible citizens?

When I was in school, we were told that we were the future citizens of my beloved motherland & had an important role to play. We were told to be responsible in playing that role. We are all still very much Indians, don’t get me wrong, but only on paper.

We all rise each morning, go to our MNC jobs, or to our businesses, put in countless hours, on our way back we relax at some restaurant, café, lounge, bar or some such place & retire for the day. Most of us dream of leaving the country & settle elsewhere, which is not a bad thing as long as you continue to contribute to your motherland (not necessarily financially). You can share your learning / experiences so others can benefit. Of course, not everyone follows this itinerary.

In leading such a life, what do we contribute to our nation? Most of us just lend lip service & do little about anything. We do get frustrated about a lot of issues, but there hardly is any action on our part.

I recently polled my colleagues. The question was, how many of you voted in the last election? The result showed, merely 2 people carried out this important civic duty among all of those on my office floor. Worse yet, most of them believe it is futile to do so. We owe to our nation to perform every civic duty that is expected of us. If we don’t, we have no right complaining about anything. We must participate actively for we have a stake in our nation’s development. It is up to us to contribute all we can towards the betterment of our nation & the least we can do is to get out & vote. We have had the opportunity to get good education, good jobs/businesses & good lives. We must get to the fore & set an example for all our fellow citizens. The Indian middle class tallies in great numbers & our collective vote can make a huge difference. We should imbibe a culture of being socially responsible. We complain far too much. All the ranting will not help. If we are unhappy with our leaders, we should participate & elect a leader from amongst ourselves.

Most of us don’t even know who are current political leaders are. Some of my colleagues couldn’t name our President or her deputy, or our defense minister. This is a clear indication of our lack of interest in our nation. A major part of our life is spent is worrying about our pay hikes, annual returns, our investments & all things related to our own selves. We are not a socially responsible society. We expect the government to do all for us, but we won’t do anything ourselves. If you think about it, the government does do it’s bit, but we exploit it or the officials abuse it. And we have come to expect it. The one most common question thrown at such arguments is, what does out government do for us? The counter can be, well, what have to done to your nation? Do we do our bit to question the government?

We do not. A lot of today’s problems are our own doing. Be it the flouting of municipal rules, or not following traffic rules, or not behaving responsibly towards our environment. We are all guilty of it. If we, as a society, behave responsibly, our government & our nation can improve. We need to be active in our duties & ask questions when something’s not right & hold our leaders accountable, we need to get out & vote, we need to develop basic civic sense. We, especially the educated ones, need to participate in nation building. Our education allows us to be in a position to influence change. Let’s use it good effect. Let’s use it for the betterment of our fellow countrymen. Our nation needs it.

1 comment:

g said...

this has been an old refrain: ask not what your country can do for you etc...One of the banes of socialism has been the self-obsession of people and hoarding tendency. Civic duty such as voting during every election is a far cry, you should ask most folks what they do that doesn't directly benefit them, and actually benefits someone else who might need it. I promise you will draw a blank, the only solace being little forced charity done once a year.
TV, fancy dinner, and Bollywood is pretty much the limit of personal forays for common Indians. The results are there to see.