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Friday, November 27, 2009

Simple words; Thank you & Please do beget us a smile.

Civic sense, or rather the lack of it, is and has been widely discussed, argued in India. Most Indians are indifferent if not ignorant of civic sense. This attitude is prevalent across all sections of society. Indians today are focused on their personal goals, civic sense as an ethic is a non issue.

This attitude is causing harm and could be far more damaging than we can imagine. Civic sense has dropped to an all-time low in recent years, as is rather obvious from the current state of society. Let's see what people and specifically HR professional and corporate can do to curb this downswing.

What constitutes Civic Sense?

Stupid question! Right we all know what is “Civic sense”. It is consideration an unspoken norms of society consideration for fellow human being. It is a misconception that civic sense is just about keeping the roads, streets and public property clean. Civic sense constitutes; living within the laws of the land, maintaining decorum in public places. Foreign countries function in a smooth manner because of the strong civic sense amongst its people.

With the exception of initial lessons in school, not a lot of attention is given to civic behaviour. In our homes we do not teach our children about the importance of civic sense and how it could make a difference to the country as well as the quality of their lives.

Why is Civic Sense important?

Constant cacophony on the streets due to blaring horns of the motor vehicles, vandalism, racism, road rage etc. are all examples of lack of civic sense. People have become intolerant of each other, of other's cultures, backgrounds, etc. India is a collage of diverse people and the need of the hour is general civic sense. It is not uncommon to read or hear about communal friction. Even living in the city has become difficult because people have no consideration whatsoever for fellow dwellers.

Absence of civic sense in a society generates untold problems. Disregard for the law is a primary cause for lack of civic sense. A person who has high civic values does not resort to shortcuts and unethical practices to achieve his goals. Being unethical in daily activities does not benefit anyone, this behaviour lead to a copy cat action by other members of society. Ultimately, the situation has been reached today that it is unacceptable to the very person who indulges in this unethical way of life. Have we reached the point of no return or there is still a glimmer of hope. What can be done to restore it?

We are perceived as spiritual and religious society. Personal hygiene and cleanliness of our homes is mandated and rigorously observed. Then how is it that we have so much of filth and grime, spit marks, urine, vulgar graffiti, random garbage and overflowing sewers at every nook and corner of India.

NO city in this country has managed to fight this menace. Convenient to point the finger towards the authorities, the people must first question themselves and their own sense of responsibility and duty to civic living. Dirty Roads exist not because they were not cleaned, but because we made them dirty. Being inconsiderate towards fellow society members will rebound at us. We have to be socially mature and considerate when it comes to situations in public.

This unacceptable state of the cities should make us look at ourselves and question our way of life; it exists only because everybody does it. Using 'everybody does it' is an excuse and only an excuse. In India, even prominent personalities indulge in proud displays of lack of civic sense. Take for example, ministers who delay planes with complete disregard for other passengers or the person who interrupts the salesperson attending to you. How many times it have you been bumped into by a stranger on the road and he/she has nonchalantly walked on without a break in the stride or a simply “Sorry” was it so difficult to utter this word? No is the answer. It is matter of civic sense or lack of it that generates a response. Is it difficult for a country to change its mindset? I do not think so. After all did the corporate world not hire consultants to appraise and inculcate the etiquettes that were need in the people going overseas to represent their respective organizations! Inculcating the importance and value of civic sense should be given priority by corporate India and the Human Resource departments should be tasked for it.

Less stressed out employees will lead to higher efficiencies. Disciplined driving on the road will bring down travel time, fuel cost, pollution levels and noise levels. Which will ultimately, translate into lower levels of stress.


Question: Is it desirable and feasible to entrust the HRD of every large and small enterprise in this country with this responsibility?