Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Civic Sense

Here is an essay that I wrote for practice when I participated in a competition.Hope you like it :)

“Man is a social animal” is a cliché sentence that one gets to hear almost everywhere. The truth of this statement can be gauged from the fact that even several years after “cave-man” understood the benefits of mutual interaction and social living; he still continues to revel in these merits while co-existing with others. However, it has been observed through the ages that while carving a space for himself and his dependents in the society, man is prone to trample on many societal norms in order to have maximum benefit. This benefit may be in terms of position in the society or in terms of gaining monetary benefit. Whatever the reason, recent trends have been a disturbing indicator of man selfishly pursuing his own aims with scant regard for society and civic sense.

Civic sense refers to certain societal norms and traditions that every human being on this planet has to follow in order to become acceptable in the society. The social trends expected to be followed do show a slight variation from place to place in keeping with the societal set up of the area. However in general, certain common social customs are followed throughout the diverse cultures of the world in order to promote peaceful co-existence between the inhabitants. All these customs and norms can be grouped under the heading of “Civic Sense”. Another point in this regard is that understanding of this concept is open to interpretation. When we talk about society, we include the human element which is the most unpredictable element on earth. Therefore how different individuals grasp and put these norms formulated by the society into practice is a matter of perspective of these selfsame individuals. Broadly speaking, Civic Sense refers to “rules of social etiquette framed by the society in order to propagate better living conditions”.

There are many sets of rules and regulations formed by the infinite number of societies both big and small that cohabit this world. Traditionally, man led a simple life, desiring only the fulfilment of three basic aims of food, clothing and shelter. Therefore the “civic sense code” that prevailed also revolved around these three aims. Every person had to ensure that mutual interaction was held in such a manner that the other person’s privacy was not invaded. At the same time, it was the duty of each man to help the other in times of need and if it was not within his power to do so, the concerned authority had to be warned regarding that person’s plight. No person could forcibly claim any part of the other person’s property or any material belonging to him. All these conditions still exist today and are an important part of societal customs at majority of places.

However, life today has changed tracks rapidly. One of the most recent problems being confronted by the world today is the danger of environmental damage. As a result almost all the major societies of the world (whether big or small) have started framing conditions with regard to environmental protection. These conditions have become such an important part of the daily living that now these can be included under ‘rules of civic sense’ to be ingrained in every newborn child since birth. These conditions include-keeping the environment clean, ensuring that the garbage is sent to the proper recycling channels, usage of energy efficient techniques, conserving water and electricity etc. Second important aspect concerns itself with the general rules of behaviour acceptable in the society particularly at social occasions. No person is allowed to behave indecently in social gatherings and must conduct himself properly in accordance with the demands of the occasion. The third point concerns itself with a very glaring problem the world over-the dwindling number of girls. The commonly held perception that girls are discriminated against and are victims of many women related crimes only in the developing world has been proven to be wrong. Infact, the rich societies having access to monetary power are more prone to indulge in such activities that are discriminatory towards women and girl child in particular-female foeticide being an important example. Every society does have a code of conduct with regard to dealing with women but now-a-days this code extends even in private lives to with the need to protect women becoming more and more urgent. Fourthly, technological advancement world over has brought about glitzy lifestyles where show-offs have become the order of the day. Mobile phones, Laptops and I-pods have become essential gadgets that are carried around by many people. However, it is sad to note that most people are not aware of the rules of etiquette for the usage of this equipment. As a result a civic sense ‘code of conduct’ has been formulated even with regard to these equipments in almost all societies. Switching off the mobile phone in a meeting, not plugging in the ear-phones of the I-pod during a public talk, listening attentively when someone is speaking on the dais etc. are some examples.

Ultimately, it can be said that civic sense constitutes the understanding of social customs, traditions and following them in such a manner that no one is inconvenienced by our conduct. This must be inculcated in the child’s mind since birth so that as the society grows, the child develops with it and passes this knowledge to future generations. The need of the hour for all the people is to start thing about the future of the society as a whole rather than concentrating on attaining certain selfish ends:
Begin now, begin today
let the knowledge illuminate the darkened way;
IT’S A NEW DAY! IT’S A NEW DAY!!

No comments: