Civic Discipline

I think we as a people lack civic discipline.

Where we need to queue, we rush. Where we need to walk on footpaths, we walk on the road. (Of course, that may be my habit since most urban areas suffer from a lack of walkable footpaths.) Our driving is more like weaving in and out without any regard to lanes. We don’t hesitate to spit or otherwise dirty public areas.We don’t respect other people’s time – being late in professional and personal lives is taken for granted.

This needs to change. But I don’t think it will happen easily. We should have had this civic discipline built-in to us when we were much younger.

8 thoughts on “Civic Discipline

  1. You are asking for the impossible… that is too from fellow Indians.

    Before this happens… we will already be in the wonderland 🙂


  2. I think attitude and discipline (or the lack there-of) are not innate in our psyche; they arise from socio-economic conditions. We can’t ask people to behave in an organized manner if we can’t provide proper infrastructure — if we can’t promise a seat in trains to everyone, people are going to jostle.

    The best remedy is to improve, for instance, the literacy rates (currently 61%), urbanization (currently 30%), and providing stronger infrastructure (currently in a poor shape). These are the root causes, in my opinion. Not the selfishness or immorality or the lack of civic discipline in the Indian psyche.

    We can’t enforce civic discipline on people (not in a civil, liberal society), we have to facilitate it.

  3. Guess vishal is partially right, a bit of well maintained infrastructure and I would add a bit of policing, goes a long way. Like the famous Infosys toilets in Bangalore, I hardly see anyone pee on the roads, at least the major ones, a major accomplishment considering that Bangalore is generally chilly and humid too.

    Another major problem is immigration, I dare say the chauvinists, Kannada or Mumbaikars could be partially right. People coming across from villages, and small urban town, where they are apt to spit and …. everywhere, coming into a neat town and creating a replica of their home conditions. It can be really painful for a native to digest.

    And time, rubber time is robber time, well what can be said. There are pros and cons to it. Ask Ceasar or Grant.

  4. At my school where students come from all over the world, I saw that the repect for time is totally driven by the urgency and enforcement associated with the event (academic, professional, social etc). If the event strictly enforces a deadline for entry, then the attendees will certainly arrive by the timeline. If the enforcement is not done, then you can see people coming in at what ever time they feel right. Nationality of students doesn’t really matter how they behaved.

    I think this behavior can be extrapolated to personal time sense as well. We should be willing to enforce our time constraints and actually walk away if the other person doesn’t follow the agreed upon time. That type of time enforcement might actually start doing some difference at personal level.

  5. Hi,
    I am from India and have been in the US for the past couple of years. I have experienced and observed the Indian civil discipline or say civil habits thing .

    As soon as my culture shock was overcome, I saw myself following what my fellow Indians were following as they were in India and forgetting the different environment of where they were. Thats when I realized the wrongdoings. I am not bragging about the foreign culture but these are things any one would experience whenever they would travel in the US.

    1.Not giving right of way to others, Americans even though, first at the door will hold it for the person just behind them to pass, especially for ladies and senior citizens, no matter how much in a hurry they would be but Indians want to rush.

    2. Speaking decibel levels:-1 thing that is hard to miss is the usual silence around and also how softly people normally talk and also on the phone. Whenever I go back to my apartment ,where I share the apartment with my other Indian room mates, I feel they are shouting on the top of their voice. Also in the apartments, one can hear other Indians from their rooms but not Americans.

    3. Phone etiquette:- Phone on silent really means silent here not buzzing.

    4. Warm and smiling:- Whenever we walk around ,any one that’s coming from the front , looks at us, smiles and says “How u doing”, compared to in India where every ones just rushing and careless with others.

    5. I would stress highly about Indian behavior of self-fish attitude and not sharing information. Creating unwanted competition, being jealous of others and especially Indians around u, discriminating on the basis of the regions one comes from in India like south, north, west ,east. These things leaves a very bad impression of the person and the country in general.

    I believe it was not like this a few hundred years back when people came to our country and praised what a rich heritage we had. India is the birth place of so many religions but its the hard to believe that the current Indian is mostly interested in its own growth, leg pulling and creating a nuisance and mostly cheap talks.

    I am proud of my country and its achievements but I must say that the standard of common man is lowering day by day and yes forget to add. No honking while driving!!! Take my comments with a pinch of salt, did not intend to stamp on anybodies feet and I love India and will be back in a couple of years to be the change I want to see around.