Casting your vote is not the only responsibility you have towards your country. Here's what you and your children can do to be good citizens.
"We go to the polls to choose a government and after that forfeit all responsibility. We sit back wanting to be pampered and expect the government to do everything for us whilst our contribution is totally negative. We expect the government to clean up but we are not going to stop chucking garbage all over the place nor are we going to stop to pick up a stray piece of paper and throw it in the bin. We expect the railways to provide clean bathrooms but we are not going to learn the proper use of bathrooms. We want Indian Airlines and Air India to provide the best of food and toiletries but we are not going to stop pilfering at the least opportunity. When it comes to us actually making a positive contribution to the system we lock ourselves along with our families into a safe cocoon and look into the distance at countries far away and wait for a Mr. Clean to come along and work miracles for us with a majestic sweep of his hand or we leave the country and run away.
- Like lazy cowards hounded by our fears we run to America to bask in their glory and praise their system.
- When New York becomes insecure we run to England.
- When England experiences unemployment, we take the next flight out to the Gulf.
- When the Gulf is war struck, we demand to be rescued and brought home by the Indian government."
Ex-municipal Commissioner of Bombay, Mr. Tinaikar
Here's how you can contribute in your own small manner, and improve the state of the country.
Unfortunately, in India, you can walk on for miles before coming across a garbage can. So what's a man to do? Simple. Walk up to a hawker and request him if you can throw your garbage in his bin. Food hawkers will always have a garbage can. If there is no hawker around, you should be able to spot small piles of garbage swept into a corner. Throw your junk in that pile. Whatever you do, never just drop what you're holding in the street. It never fails to shock me when people roll down their car windows and throw something out on the streets. Keep your junk in the car, and throw it in your bin when you reach home. If you don't think twice before littering the streets, don't blame the government for the filth around.
Don't spit pan
Spitting out red betel juice is a vile act. It is not only repulsive, but it also stains public property. Would a person who happily spits pan on walls in India, do the same when he ventures out of the country? Would he dare spit pan on the streets of Singapore? If you must spit pan, do so in a bin or in the garbage, and whatever you do, don't spit it on walls. If any of your family members, household help, drivers or office staff chews pan, send this message out to them.
Don't bill others for your calls
Making out-of-station telephone calls and bribing someone at the telephone exchange to bill someone else is dishonest, and it is sad that seemingly respectable people indulge in such acts of corruption. It is hard to imagine how one can don respectable garbs and assuage one's conscience by saying "Everyone does it." Everyone does NOT do it. Thankfully, with STD locks on telephones, such practices are reducing.
Pull the flush
Often enough, flushes in public toilets, unless you are visiting a five star, don't work. But when they do, make sure you pull - or push - it! Instill this habit your children. If they ever forget to pull the flush, don't pull it for them. Call them and make them pull it themselves. Similarly if your servants use a toilet in your home, make sure they are particular about pulling the flush, and that they keep their bathroom as tidy as yours.
Stop stealing little knick-knacks from public places like soaps, towels, moisturizers from toilets, and crockery from airlines. Voice your opinion against such behaviour in front of your children so they follow your example.
Don't break signals. Although the traffic police in Bombay is alert, the same cannot be said for the rest of India, and even in metropolises like Delhi, traffic rules are constantly flouted. Even if you are the only car at a crossing, and there is no cop around, stop at the red light.
Stand in line when waiting (for the bus, to buy tickets…)
Enter the bus in line.
Avoid giving bribes.
Wear your seatbelt. It can save your, or your child's life.
Give up your seat to an old man or lady.
Generate awareness wherever you can.
Forward this article to your Indian friends, instead of forwarding jokes and junk mail.