NOBODY DOES, WHY SHOULD I DO?

Nobody does, why should I do?

If a survey is done then I think this dialogue would be the most spoken dialogue in India when it comes to the carrying out of duties and responsibilities.

Is there not a traffic rule to over take a vehicle from the right side? Is it unknown for some? No, it is not. Everybody is aware of this rule yet there are drivers do the opposite or whatever seems convenient to them.

Throwing rubbish, a used cup, a plastic plate, waste food materials on the roads are not allowed. Is it not known to all? Yes, it is very well known to all of us yet, some of us do it at ease.

Urinating on the street is not allowed. Is it unknown to all? No, yet people do it disobeying the rules.

Wearing a helmet for the bikers is a mandatory rule. And this rule is made to save lives… for the benefit of the rider yet people don’t obey it.

Be it objecting to open urination, be it opposing eve teasing/ molestation, be it pointing out violation of traffic rules, be it reminding the importance of clean surroundings and sanitation – we choose to turn a blind eye by proclaiming the same slogan, “Nobody does, why should I do?”

Civic Sense is nothing but the sense of responsibility which refrains us from misusing and misbehaving in public places. But why don’t I follow it? Because I don’t want to be the first one but I wait for everybody to do it then I can imitate them like an uncivilized monkey.

I remember once I approached one of our neighbors to turn off electric lights for one hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 pm on a specific day (I can’t remember the date) as a symbol of commitment to the planet celebrating “World Earth Hour“. His response didn’t astound me but made me feel sad about it.

Because he said, “Nobody does, why should I do?”

My former boss has a very good habit. Whenever he travels in the trains he collects all the rubbish around him thrown by his co-passengers and put it in a plastic carry bag to keep it under the seat so that whenever the rubbish collector comes he would hand over the same to him. Last week when I was travelling to Cuttack I remembered him and followed the same.  That definitely astounded my co- passenger because they have that attitude of repeating the same slogan – “Nobody does, why should I do?”

A good citizen makes every utmost effort to do what he/she can do at his/her level. There are well explained designated responsibilities defined by the Indian constitution. Simply following them would ensure that we are good citizens of our beautiful country. If I have to repeat then I would love to repeat that, if we want our government officials to be more responsible and hard-working, then we too need to strive hard. We need to follow guidelines and have to respect plans and reforms in order to maintain harmony and peace. 

Concluding this article as well as the current week, I would like to encourage all of you to  take an oath today to do at least what is required of us instead of singing our old song all the time.

I try my best to do what is required by the law of my land. Are you doing the same?

Stay Blessed!

CHANGE IS POSSIBLE – MUMKIN HAI !!

I stopped reading the newspaper long time back. With the news full of scams, murders, rapes and corruption, it makes all of us feel helpless and resigned. “Nothing can change this country” – we say and get on with our daily routines. This feeling of resignation makes us blind. It makes us somebody who is only ready to blame and not take any responsibility. It makes us blame the authorities, government, neighbors, schools, colleges and youngsters – basically everybody other than the people living under our own houses.

As a kid, I saw my father make a difference to a small community when he first started a waste management program. I saw him work hard, toil his days only in educating people about segregating waste. That step of his was a huge inspiration for me. Waste segregation not only made our colony cleaner but it helped those poor rag-pickers who got clean dry waste to be recycled. He changed a few lives and inspired many.

I grew up and came to Bangalore. I joined a couple of NGO’s and Landmark Education. I soon found that here work was being done even at a bigger scale. Providing learning skills to underprivileged kids, teaching English and Computers to underprivileged kids, working on waste segregation at a much larger scale, basic sex education to kids and working against child sexual abuse – I have largely touched these areas while working with many people. I realized that world is full of passionate and enthusiastic people who are not resigned but all ready to make a difference at their own scale.

It is very easy to sit at home, watch news the whole day and read newspaper which is anyways full of negativity and blame the government. It is not very easy to take up an issue that our society is struggling with today and make it a mission of your life. Fight it with all your might – like a soldier protecting his nation.

Few years back, when Aamir Khan (renowned Bollywood actor) premiered the show named – Satyamev Jayate, I was touched to the depths of my heart. The first episode was about female infanticide and feticide – a major problem in this country. I cried my heart out imagining how many girls are killed every day, either as an infant or in the womb.
Satyamev Jayate is not about the problems in our society, it is not about finger-pointing and blaming the authorities. It is about looking for a solution at the ground level. The way this team has got the heroes of this country in limelight, it gives a huge inspiration to each one of the viewers.

To believe in the fact that “change is possible”! Yes, there are burning issues but the solutions are also available. In a country of 1 billion people, even if 10% of us take up a cause and a mission to bring about a change, corrupt politicians will be weakened.
I don’t read the newspaper at all. I rather subscribe to Facebook pages of the organizations and individuals who have taken up the mission to bring about the change. They give me much more hope and motivation to continue my mission. I am not interested in reading about scams, murders and rapes; I am more interested in reading about heroes of this country who never come into a limelight of media.

For me, a good citizen is the one who is not resigned about the condition of his/her county. A good citizen makes every utmost effort to do what he/she can do at his/her level. Soldiers are not the only one who have the responsibility to protect our land. It is each one of us who needs to do the work at our level to protect our land.

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES ARE A PACKAGE

Last week I met with an accident. A speeding taxi rubbed my two-wheeler from the side, I tried to land my foot, my trouser got stuck on some pointed object on the two-wheeler beside me. The two-wheeler rider was obviously not expecting this; hence he couldn’t control his bike. My trouser got torn, there was a cut on my leg, a severely sprained wrist. I was in an utter shock and all the above happened in few seconds. Another two-wheeler behind me got stuck between my tire and the footstep.

I came home, crashed on the bed, by next morning I have developed fever. Unable to move out of bed, I wondered what was wrong. It was my leg, there were four bruises and one cut ☹ After a visit to hospital, got a bandage for hand, dressing to the wounds, injection and medicine, was limited to home for next few days. I remembered that petrol in my bike was on reserve. On the weekend I had to refill the petrol, if not in case of emergency it would be difficult to even go to nearby hospital. With this thought, I took out my bike and was on road.

I was driving at minimal speed of 5 kms as the road was completely jammed. There was a car behind me, he honked once, I looked in the rearview mirror and ignored it, he honked again this time I noticed that he has an “L” board on his car. One more honk, I parked my two-wheeler right on the road and gave my piece of mind to the driver. “Firstly, you have no emergency, Secondly, as you are aware the lane is single lane, Thirdly, as you are still a learner, learn to drive without honking, Sorry, I am not giving you way because there is none and I cannot harm people walking on the side”. Normally, no matter how much they honk, I do what is right, but I don’t resort to giving lectures on road. This is the first time, and I really felt good doing it.

People in India honk more than required, sometimes so much that they don’t stop it.  We don’t really care, our work has to get done. We make more noise than what the problem’s seriousness really is and do nothing about it.

Attitude is the biggest problem, there are two distinct and interesting attitudes “Chalta hai” (It’s ok) and “It’s not my problem”. Is it never our problem unless it happens in our own family? The same are the reasons why we struggle every day, it is not the government. 

Every role comes with responsibility. Being a citizen is a role and Indian constitution has defined designated responsibilities to us.

  • Indian citizen must respect their National Flag and the National Anthem.
  • They must respect, value and follow all the noble ideals used in the national struggle for freedom.
  • They must to protect the power, unity and integrity of the country.
  • They guard the country and maintain the spirit of common brotherhood.
  • They must protect and preserve the cultural heritage sites.
  • They must protect, preserve and improve the natural environment.
  • They must safeguard the public property.
  • They should develop scientific temper and spirit of inquiry.
  • They must work hard to get excellence in every area of individual and collective activity.

These responsibilities are not just for the best interest of the country but of the people. Abiding to those responsibilities would bring prosperity to us and the nation. Simple changes to our behaviors, follow the rules, vote to choose who is going to give us a good direction, pay taxes on time, participate and encourage others for community work, keep our premises clean, help the government to perform their job better.

As a good citizen it is our duty to be responsible for the welfare of society and in turn our country. We have to change our thinking and act to see the positive effect it can make on the society. Let’s collaborate and work together.

 

“The power of the people is much stronger than the people in power” 
― Wael Ghonim

CITIZENSHIP OATH

When my eyes are bold
to identify
the
good and bad

When my ears are

keen to listen
to stories unheard

When my mouth

dares to
speak the truth I see

When my hands

break open free
to fight for justice

When my legs

never complain
to walk the miles
to support a cause

The day when I
scrub off the
impeding dirt
of my body clean
I pronounce
I am a
good human being
and
When I am able to
fulfill these
I am
a good citizen!

ARE WE REALLY GOOD CITIZEN?

Who is a good citizen? The one who keeps on criticizing and blaming government for all the issues or the one who believes in retaining laws and rules and effectuates his/her responsibilities. All of us might have gone through certain articles depicting what should and should not be done in order to be a good and responsible citizen. But how many times we really followed them? We want government to introduce new policies and plans for the sake of development. And eventually government does so. But do we really take care of those plans and reforms?

Okay I am not going to give you the list of all such reforms and plans. Instead I am going to talk about what does it means to be a good citizen. For being a good citizen first of all we have to understand the fact that, all  those laws, rules, plans are made for our welfare. Government imposes them so that we could be benefitted. If people don’t really follow them or show disrespect, then these rules and reforms won’t work. I accede it’s the responsibility of government to work for people and think about their welfare. But we people also have some responsibilities for our nation. And we can’t ignore them. Some of you may ask what are those responsibilities and duties. So, I am going to tell you about an incident.

In the year 2014 Loksabha Election was held. And in school we were taught about election and importance of casting votes in election. My hometown is in a village. And villagers were not so aware about the importance of voting. Therefore, me and some of my friends, we decided to spread awareness about how important is to cast our votes. Initially it was a bit tough to convince ladies and old men. Because, ladies thought they are illiterate and are busy in household. Old men thought they are old and young people are meant to cast votes. They thought their votes don’t count. But we explained them that, it is through their votes a new government will come into power. And that government has to be the one who will meet their expectations. Eventually they understood and everyone casted their vote. This really made us happy. And that day I understood it is very important to take part in nation’s welfare. Now, there are many fields in which we can contribute. We can work for ensuring or spread awareness in the field of education, health, sanitation etc.

We have been given the freedom to express and to do many things. But our action should not be in the direction of violating rules and regulations. Rather, we should discharge our duties and responsibilities towards our nation with honesty and zeal. A nation is said to be prosperous only if it’s citizen are cautious and responsible. We have to keep in mind our actions are somehow affecting our country in some way or the other.

If we want our government officials to be more responsible and hard-working, then we too need to strive hard. We need to follow guidelines and have to respect plans and reforms in order to maintain harmony and peace. Instead of being a critic, we should contribute in our country’s development. Some people think, why should they poke their nose in it? And this is called as ignorance. Ignorance can never make you a good citizen. But understanding your roles and duties and executing them can surely make you a good citizen.

STOP PASSING THE BUCK

What is the national game of our nation?  It’s not hockey or cricket.  But “Passing The Buck“.  We enjoy it to the core as there’s no referee in this game other than our conscience which we seldom refer to.

Since the day when our country has attained the status of an independent nation we have gained the expertise in the aforesaid game.  The lightening speed with which we point out fingers starting from neighbors to authorities to government is unmistakable.

Be it the safety of women in the country, the corruption levels, the lack of cleanliness, hay-wire situation of law and order – name it and we have a standard reaction “This government is ineffective”, ” This government failed to deliver on its promises”, “Nothing changes in this country“. We are in continuous habit of whining but not even once we are ready to accept our failure as responsible citizens of a country.

Let me give you few instances:

Few months back (24th October, 2017 to be precise) a rape case came to light. Well, don’t be astonished, it came to light not because of any formal complaint or investigation but the fact is that it was committed in broad daylight on a pavement,  hustling and bustling with crowd. It did happen and the repelling truth is no one from the crowd were empathetic enough or had courage to stop the heinous crime. Rather it was filmed to be reported to the police. I wonder what signal is this incident sending to those who have an inclination towards crime? Carry a knife, do the crime, threaten  and get away with it, if at all charged things can be taken care of – isn’t it? And after every such crime a bandwagon of “Culture” caretakers jump in to pass judgements holding women responsible without realising that it is only preparing grounds for a volatile and an unsafe haven for our future generations.

We are responsible for the “Corrupt” image country have:  Do you know that India has been ranked 79th among 176 countries in the Corruption Perception Index 2018 released by the Transparency International organisation?  Now don’t be surprised by the statement that “We” are responsible for it. To save time from appearing before magistrate in case a traffic rule is broken or to get a driving license without clearing the test or to move a requisite file quickly up the ladder one thing that we retort to is “Pay Something and Get Anything“.  For us it’s a petty price we are paying to get things done swiftly.  But when scams worth billions come to surface we thump our chests saying all politicians are fraudsters and corrupted.  Don’t realise they are following the trend set by us “Pay us and bend the rules”. The only difference is in the figure on and in paper.

Comparison of Convenience: There’s a certain laid back attitude to which we are habituated to.  Whenever a comparison is drawn with other countries in terms of safety, corruption levels, pollution, law an order, GDP, infrastructure – every possible aspect which is counted while referring to the development index of a country we chose the mid way of “Convenience”.  We hate it when compared to the countries which are on top ranks of positives and have a default answers like:

  • Every country has its positives and negatives.
  • No country is problem free.
  • We are on right track of development.
  • Look at the countries whose ranks are worse than us, we are still better.

Common sense says comparison is always with the better to bring forth the best.  Alas! That’s too hard to understand for us.  To put it simply I would like to quote few figures:

India is on 102nd place with 46.9 points (more the better) when it comes to the safe countries to live.  So would it be right to compare with countries which are placed up in the point index (Denmark being on the top with 94.7 points) or  advisable to take it easy comparing ourselves with the alarming zones.  Isn’t it a matter of deep introspection that countries like Mongolia, Honduras, Ghana (as per the numbers) are doing better than us?

And the above mentioned ranking is based on studies of global terrorism, just one aspect and something beyond control of citizens.  But my point is to highlight how our mechanism of comparison works.

This is not a biased rant against my country but a genuine concern.

We Fear Law:  We are peace-loving people to the extent of not getting involved in any altercation involving law and executive forces of law namely Police.  Be it helping an accident victim or standing as a witness to the crime or raising voice against an injustice, we develop cold feet simply because we don’t want our peace to be disturbed by the long judiciary procedures and abrasive nature of police (there’s a reason to their behaviour which we don’t want to understand).  We want someone to take the initiative and we are happy to follow.  And when everyone waits for someone, no-one comes forward.  That’s a hard truth we need to accept and digest.  Until and unless we stand unitedly for supporting the law and order we can’t expect it to be any better.

It’s high time that we start reacting to the issues concerning our nation and its image however petty they might seem to be.  We are ironically very sensitive and react well to the social media posts but mind our own respective matters when our interference could actually make a difference.  Be it objecting to open urination, be it opposing eve teasing/ molestation, be it pointing out violation of traffic rules, be it reminding the importance of clean surroundings and sanitation – we choose to turn a blind eye because they (many of them) seem  to be quite trivial to be questioned or even not punishable under IPC (Indian Penal Code).

Well, we all are aware of a saying “drop by drop fills an ocean” and needs no explanation.  But the irony is that we fail to imply such a simple logic in our actions especially that hold importance for the society and the nation.  Silence of every deemed “Responsible” citizen is strengthening the determination of offenders of law ultimately shaming the image of the country.

This post as I told you earlier is not a rant but a heartfelt concern about my nation.  And when I said “We” that clearly includes me as well.  I shall not shy away from accepting the fact that I might have exhibited flaws as a citizen.  Acceptance is the key to betterment.

Next time before criticising the system or government just pause and ask “Have I done enough?“.

Speak up and help bring a change  OR  Remain silent and surrender to the injustice.  Whatever it is learn to own rather than simply Passing The Buck. 

(This article was Originally published in Kalpana’s own blog World4Womencom)

FEAR OF BEING BLAMED

Lately life has taught me a lot in ways that I wouldn’t prefer.

It was 14th Feb, while everybody was busy wishing Valentine’s day to their loved ones – I was sitting in the hospital with my 3 year old son who had 103 degree fever. Unaware of what is causing the recurrent fever spikes, I was getting really tensed. He has had on and off cough since almost a month which I was not able to get rid of. I thought I had tried all possibilities to get rid of his cough but little did I know what lay ahead.

After 3 hours in the hospital I was in the doctor’s room. With the X-Ray report on her screen, the doctor looked at me seriously and said he has lung infection. We need to start him on antibiotics immediately. I was shocked. Lung infection? Again? Why? I had done all that the previous doctor had told me. What did I miss? He had a serious case of pneumonia when he was 1.5 years old and now again when he was 3. What did I do wrong?

Well 2 days of antibiotic did no impact on the infection. We had to admit him for 3 days. I cried to my pillow like crazy on the second night. Not just because I was worried but I felt horrible that I could not take care of him enough. It was only me and Joey on the third day in hospital because all other family members had to go attend a family wedding (which I and my son missed because of this unwelcomed infection).

When we came back from hospital, his immunity had dropped considerably. I had to leave my dog at the dog care center because animal hair would make his situation even worse. I called in Aastha to stay with me for those few days till my family would come back and she was a great help. He seemed to get better in a couple of days and I restarted his school – scared and worried.

Though things were getting back to normal, a couple of weeks later we visited a pulmonogist because it is not common for 3 year old to get pneumonia twice. I was literally hoping that he doesn’t give me any bad news regarding the anatomy of his lungs. He did not. But he said something worse – you cannot ignore even a single cough after a case of pneumonia. He needs to eat healthy, avoid dust, no pets, no junk food. Well, all this is something a mother generally knows isn’t it? Where did I miss it? Why didn’t I take him to pulmonogist when his cough wasn’t going away with cough syrups or anti-allergic? Why did I wait for the infection to reach his lungs? Am I not educated enough or do I not have common-sense?

Well, these are the thoughts that run into my mind now and they kill me every day. But initially I blamed everything apart from myself to run into this situation. I blamed my husband for staying away from us, and everybody else in my support system for not taking care of him enough, my work for keeping me extra busy, the circumstances, the doctor who told me that it is common cold and will go away with cough syrups. It took me time to see that I was standing right in middle of all this and all fingers are pointing at me. Every time I would talk to anybody about it, I would try to get defensive and say “You know that doctor doesn’t know anything” or “You know ginger honey really doesn’t work on cough” or whatever.

It took me almost a month of misery to take the responsibility of the situation. And I know that I was fearing getting blamed for all this. Well the fact is that I could have avoided him a lot of pain and whether I get blamed or not – I need to take responsibility of it. The sooner I accept the responsibility, lesser is the fear of being blamed. Blaming others is always easy but that is just one way of not accepting the responsibility.

Like they say – life sometime teaches you a hard way, especially when you resist learning something.