Updated: Sep 19, 2020
Once I heard someone say, India is a place where everyone is in a hurry but no one is on time. Well, that certainly can't be denied.
Just last week I was in the supermarket buying some eggs and some brown bread. Upon reaching the cash counter, I discovered a man checking out with his goods, and as one should, I stood before him in the queue, waiting for my turn, just to discover a lady breaking the line and shoving whatever she had into the hands of the cashier. Infuriated, I asked her if she needed to have an eye checkup to see the queue. Not expecting such behavior from a teenager, she stepped back, cursing me silently.
No matter how negative it might sound, the hard truth is that we Indians do lack basic common civic sense. Being the residents of one the most philosophically developed civilizations, a sense of discipline and mannerism is expected from us. But, from our metros to our central railways, from the supermarkets to our temples, we are nowhere near displaying this attitude, even in the goddamn airplanes we rush as if the plane is going to fly without us!!
DOES THAT MEAN WE INDIANS AS A RACE LACK DISCIPLINE?
My clear answer would be no! In fact, we Indians were the first to civilize; we had the first cities, the first garbage disposal systems and the first drainage canals.
I would like to extend myself here and say: There is no such thing as an uncivilized race.
For instance, inside the big, new malls, how often do we see people throwing garbage? They are quite clean and less chaotic. Aren't the people there Indians too?
Until late 1980s, New York was a really dirty place with a lot of graffiti on the trains and garbage on many streets. London in the mid 50s was no better either. Even today, many of the traffic laws are often flouted and honking is very common in these cities.
What I want to point out here that cleanliness and discipline are systemic things. What we do depends a lot on our surroundings. In the malls and gated communities, we are incentivised to be more disciplined & follow rules, while in trashy places we become trashy ourselves.
As already pointed out, the problem lies in our surroundings. Our surroundings prove to be inadequate in order to be able to handle the craziness and the culture of these 1.3 billion people. Thus, the solutions I propose are:
I do not think it is necessary for me to elaborate on this, a well educated and learned man is very less likely to display indiscipline than an uneducated one.
2. THE HABITAT
Have you ever seen anybody throwing a piece of paper in a 5 star hotel corridor? The same guy will throw a banana peel from his car on the road. Just make the conditions more welcoming. You are less likely to litter in Lutyens Delhi than in Delhi 6.
How many public washrooms in our country are well maintained? Keeping in mind the population density of our nation, there should be a dustbin in every 50 meters in public spaces. About a century ago, spitting was common in western countries. Then the cities came up with Spittoon, to provide a place for them to spit. Just with installations of stanchions we could phase queuing up into our society.
Just as mentioned above along with the installation of the spittoon, the laws were also strengthened to phase spitting out of the society. Also, throwing trash out of the car was common in the US until 2 decades ago. Eventually, a combination of tough laws and ingenious public campaigning reduced the problem.
The new Motor Vehicles Act would be the prime example of bringing up discipline with punishment and I am completely in the support of it.
Many would criticize it but keeping in mind the carelessness with which some drivers drive and the lives of innocent people who are many times quite dear to us makes me support this act.
Just the mere thought of my mother being involved in an accident with some drunk truck driver makes me support this act.
Yes, I've been blabbering for too long now, but I would finally like to conclude my write up by mentioning, the great sense of self discipline and control over ourselves that our culture provides us with , which dearly needs to be extended over to the public domain from just that of the personal one.