Acting as Responsible Citizens in our Daily Lives
Change starts with us
There is a common saying that when you point a finger at others, three fingers point back at you. We live in a nation with a growing population and economy. As our nation writes its script in pursuit of glory, it is not only our leaders, but it mostly has us governing the direction of this tale.
Instead of joining the bandwagon of blaming our ministers and administrators for being inefficient, we should step back and think where we stand in this blame-game. Any policy or measure would not amount to any change until we take the initiative ourselves.
As the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, stressed in his Independence Day speech about ‘ek lakshya, ek man, ek disha, ek gati, ek mati ‘ (unified goal, thought, aim and speed), strength of a nation lies in its unity. We all are the units of this nation. This article is not about doing something out of our way in order to become a responsible citizen. This article is about how we ourselves are propagating problems and how solutions lay with us. This article is about how we can practise the good things we read in our Environmental Science textbooks and bring about a change.
Saving water- How many of us haven’t come across overflowing taps in the streets, leaking water tankers spilling water as they cross our streets or even in our washrooms and kitchens how we mindlessly waste water? This is the reality we face. When Aamir Khan hosted the TV show, Satyameva Jayate, and highlighted the water scarcity our country faces, it was an alarming eyeopener for most of us.
Big cities like Mumbai and Bangalore obtain their water supply from water bodies located in surrounding villages, which in turn reduces that area’s water supply. Can’t we start by being more careful in our own houses and act suitably when we observe mindless water wastage?
Power-Again, how many of us haven’t come across classrooms with fans and lights switched on unnecessarily or even in our own houses with some electronic appliance in use when not required? All it takes is a mind to think, a heart to feel, a pen or a mouth to communicate and a finger to switch off!
Cleanliness- "Let us pledge that we will not make surroundings dirty. Pledge to develop a clean India," Narendra Modi emphasized on his Independence Day speech. "We have to stress on cleanliness, sanitation. By 2019 we must ensure a Swacch Bharat.”
The urban middle class has a deep desire to see clean streets, although its contribution towards cleanliness is-- at best--weak. Yes, we see that peel of banana flying over our head into the river or the sea, and we indulge in similar acts. That is where developed countries are ahead of us—not the roads or jobs, it is the mentality. When we go to their country, we follow rules but back home, this hardly matters.
On February 4, 1916, almost a century ago, Mahatma Gandhi spoke at the inauguration of Banaras Hindu University.
Recalling his visit to the famous Vishwanath Temple during that visit, Gandhi said, "Is not this great temple a reflection of our own character?" The houses around had been built without regard to any norms, the lanes were tortuous and narrow and of course, dirty.
Each One Teach One – Each one teach one is an African-American proverb, which holds great importance for us at this point of time. With a low teacher–student ratio and high illiterate population, why can’t we students take up the fight against illiteracy by getting involved in NGOs or other responsible institutions? We can even start with our maid’s son or daughter. We are providing an invaluable service.
Our Prime Minister emphasised on this fact on Teacher’s Day--if any doctor or lawyer or officer or employee from any established job go to any school to interact with students and share their knowledge, it could make a huge difference.