|Missing in action :(
I have a confession to make. While it is true that I can be mawkish when it comes to national identity, feel a personal sense of pride when Hima Das rocks on the track or Manoj Night Shyamlan makes a film that isn’t ripped to shreds by critics and even get teary eyed during the odd Independence day celebration, the fact remains that I am my country’s harshest critic. The sheer rudeness and uncouth conduct of brothers and sisters from other mothers and fathers can always be counted on to ruin my day.
All of us can admit to having been at the receiving end of shockingly uncouth behaviour from our countrymen. Nowadays, nobody believes it is nice to be nice. Forget offering a seat to the elderly in a crowded bus, old folks and pregnant women can count themselves lucky if they are not jostled, pushed or kicked out. All of us are litterers who have forgotten moral science lessons stressing that cleanliness is next to godliness but don’t hesitate to assault waiters who routinely serve us food mixed with the contents of their nostrils and dirt beneath their fingernails. The great majority of the public is guilty of being a public nuisance. Garbled ‘news’ reports widely disseminated across social media randomly point fingers accusing innocent folks of child trafficking or beef consumption resulting in them getting lynched.
In another shocking incident, a man died during a Kerala mall inauguration by popular star, Dulquer Salman and the police, denying reports that he was killed in a stampede have registered a case against the organizers for bad planning and crowd control. Somehow, one cannot help but think that this sort of thing is allowed to happen only in India. It is a matter of national shame that the average Indian is guilty of god-awful behaviour, has zero civic sense and cares less than nothing for the lives of those who don’t have anything to do with him or her. We are the sort of people who hawk, spit, relieve ourselves in public, swear at and mow down folks on the road, treat any place outside our home as a trash receptacle, dry hump the mildly protesting if resigned person ahead of us in the queue and allow our kids to run wild in restaurants and public transportation while cussing out the government for allowing this deplorable state of affairs to continue. Pointing out that the PM failed to make Swach Bharat a reality with the aid of droll memes is hilarious but hardly helpful.
Of course, our government needs to get its pants on and get cracking on a dozen different things to make this country a better place, but the responsibility rests with us, the honourable citizens as well. We need to not only start showing a modicum of civic sense ourselves but ingrain this priceless commodity in our children too. What is the point of waxing eloquent about the neatness of the Japanese or the lovely folks in the USA who not only refrain from pooping in public but pick up their dog’s poo as well, if we are not going to bother to emulate the same decent behaviour? It is high time we cleaned up our act and begin cleaning up after ourselves. Perhaps then we really will have a shot at making India incredible.