Friday, 03 July 2015 10:50

The Civilised Citizen

The Civilised Citizen

By Renuka Soraisam



I am not an environmentalist or even call myself an environment freak, but whenever I see people throwing around garbage and plastics everywhere, it bothers me. It bothers me to the core of my heart. People walk around in fancy shoes, drive around luxurious cars, pretending to be the most civilised and educated species on earth. But what you will never fail to notice is that even the ones in the most luxurious cars will roll down their windows to throw that piece of plastic wrapper on the road. It doesn’t matter whether they are at a fancy area or near the slums. They just don’t have enough space in their sedans to keep that piece of plastic and wait till they find a proper place to dispose. The most common example of uncivilised behaviour or let us say the act of neglecting civic sense is leaving the toilet without flushing. We have plenty of time to sit and complain about dirty toilets but a major chunk of the population believes that if the toilet is not ours then why taking an effort to flush it when we are done. So, these kinds of acts come under the negligence and violation of civic sense. I am not saying that I am out to clean the world’s garbage, and make everyone well mannered, but for me I believe that responsibility starts from small levels. Whether big or small an action may be, if what one does is towards owning up to a responsibility then it is always counted as one step ahead. It really matters that you do a right thing. So what I always do is that I never throw plastic or garbage in the middle of the road or anywhere inappropriate. I make sure that they go inside the dustbin. If it happens that I do not find one then, I carry it with me till I find a proper disposal unit. So ya, I do my bit.


Once I had the chance to conduct a little research on civic sense, as a part of my college assignment with a team of friends from my class. The sample size was small and we had a very limited time frame. We were five in the team so each of us took 100 questionnaires and started the survey. We did what we can and gave our best to get genuine results. I was fortunately living near marine drive and since the place was always crowded with all sorts of people from various socio-economic backgrounds with different age groups. The 100 questionnaires became an easy task to complete. I was surprised how people happily filled up my questionnaire and gave feedbacks on the issue also.


In our research we included the following activities under civic sense-

  • Day to day decency.
  • Road manners.
  • Living in condominiums.
  • Keeping government offices clean.


The analysis was pretty surprising as some people did not even know the term “civic sense”. While a good amount of people think that civic sense is the manner a person should behave in our social environment. When asked about giving examples, most of them gave examples like no spitting in public place, no littering on the roads, destroying the public properties, behaving with manners to everybody etc. Everybody thinks that it is really bad to do all the above mentioned behaviours in our social environment. But when it came to acting upon it, the opinions became weak. An overall view of the all these people clearly stated that each and every individual shall be responsible for behaving civil in the society. They do not blame the government or the system, they think it is one’s own duty that we behave well and follow the rules.


In spite of all these, India still lacks civic sense in general. When we asked people about this, the most answers we got was the illiteracy and the population being the main reason for this. Some also feel that the implementation of rules is not strict enough which lets the people take it for granted. Talking about bringing awareness about civic sense, people think that the best way is to hold community meetings by any strong personality of the locality and door-to-door visits. They think that even advertisements and media is not an effective measure because people watch it and just conveniently ignore it. Talking about media being an ineffective approach to bring awareness, people on the contrary to what they are saying have also not seen much ads or short films anywhere. Most of them haven’t come across any ad or short films which talks about civic sense. Therefore, it is ironic when they say media is an effective medium of communication.



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