You blame the government for…
Blaming the government for most, if not all of our problems is ‘normal’.
We, as a society and as a country, are habituated to criticise the government. And why wouldn’t we? It’s easier that way, right?
You see, we need to save our faces, and what could be more comfortable than finding fault with the governments?
When you bash the government–your MLA, the councillor, the authorities, and the bureaucracy–most people support you.
You know why?
Because just like you, they also feel uncomfortable acknowledging their civic responsibilities.
It’s Okay to Blame the Government Sometimes. But Is It Fair to Do It Every Time You Face a Difficulty?
Have you ever realised that you too, have a contribution to most of the problems you face in daily life?
Before you demand to have the ‘rights’, won’t it be wiser to take care of your ‘duties’ – your civic responsibilities as a citizen?
Let me explain.
Roads are dirty. (Who littered – the MLA of your area?)
Drains are chocked. (Who threw poly-bags into them?)
Drinking water doesn’t reach your home. (Who misuses and wastes water?)
Your city experiences horrible traffic jams. (Who encroached the roads?)
It’s true that there have been some corrupt people in most of the governments so far. But is it fair to hold the government responsible every time you face a problem?
Is There No Hope?
Don’t forget – there are non-corrupt people too – people who work for the betterment of the country. The question is: are you, one such non-corrupt person?
Before picking on the government, it’d be better to check if you have somehow forgotten to take care of your civic responsibilities.
What do you think?
A Real-Life Example
It was March 2010.
I was delivering personality development classes to B.Tech students at Subharti University, Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. And we (the visiting faculty members) were allotted a staff room.
One day–while eating snacks–my fellow teachers littered the room.
Before leaving, I took a poly-bag and started putting the waste in that. Seeing that, a colleague interrupted, “Sir, please don’t bother. The cleaning guy will take care of this.”
But I insisted.
And did what a citizen* should have done–I threw the waste in the dustbin.
(* Did you notice I haven’t used the term ‘responsible citizen?’ Reason? Well, if I don’t take my responsibilities seriously, what right I have to call myself a citizen? Yes, I can safely address myself as a freeloader–a pest, you know).
You see, I have the freedom to eat or do whatever I like as long as I clean my shit because it’s unfair to expect others to take care of my mess.
So, here’s the deal (forgive me for being blunt):
You expect the government to clean your shit.
- You demand smooth, congestion-free roads but don’t want to give up encroachment.
- “We must have a clean city” – is your demand, but have you ever bothered giving up littering?
- Clean drinking water? How about changing the water wasting habit? Do you really need to wash your car with drinking water?
- You assert the right to cross roads through zebra crossing. Well, that’s awesome – you’re an informed citizen. But how about caring for the pedestrians when you drive?
It’s Time to Accept the Reality
Both the government and the citizens have certain limitations.
As a citizen, you have the power to do smaller things-things that might look trivial but are really important, like…
- Throwing the wrappers and waste papers in dustbins.
- Using water and electricity wisely.
- Staying in a queue while boarding or de-boarding the metro train.
On the other hand, the government has the power to do other things:
- Constructing flyovers and roads.
- Keeping the traffic in check.
- Implementing the rules and laws.
You can’t expect the government to play your part and the government cannot expect you to play its role.
Would it be fair to expect your MLA to throw your waste in the dustbin?
Only you have the power to do that.
Both you and the government are equally important. A country progresses when people and the government work together towards a common goal – Development.
So next time, when you are about to criticise and declare that the government is corrupt, stop!
Ask yourself – “Have I taken care of my civic responsibilities today?”
Whose Responsibility is It Anyway, If Not Yours?
I remember walking down the street with one of my cousins in 1998.
I noticed somebody left a public tap open and the water was getting wasted, so I turned that off. “It’s not your responsibility”, my cousin said.
Then what happened next was a mere coincidence. A few meters away, there was another running tap, and this time, my brother tried sarcasm, “Oh yeah, go ahead. Let’s see how many running taps you could turn off.”
You bet I did close that tap.
I replied, “Well, a public tap is the public’s responsibility, and I’ll take care of as many as I could if I had to. What would you do if you saw a running tap in your kitchen, won’t you turn it off? Then what’s the issue here? I don’t care who left the water running; if I see it, I’ll do something about it.”
And you know the irony? That fellow is working as a teacher in a government school now. I wonder if he teaches the students to take care of public property, or just ‘it’s not your responsibility’ mantra.
What is the Greatest Responsibility of the Government?
The other day, I came across a surveyor who was asking questions to a shopkeeper. And I happened to be in the shop for buying supplies.
A particular question got me interested, “What do you feel is the greatest responsibility of the government?”
I interrupted the conversation, “Does all the responsibilities belong to the governments only? Don’t you have a column in your survey sheet that asks, ‘what is the greatest responsibility of a citizen’?”
Guess what, he didn’t have such column in the sheet. None. I requested him to pass on the suggestion to the concerned organisation to include that column for future surveyors.
My neighbourhood drains remain choked most of the times – poly bags roaming on the roads gets accumulated in the sewer. And not only that, I have seen some losers dumping plastic bags into the drains – deliberately – so they could blame the ruling party for waterlogging. I mean, are you serious?
And when the monsoon approaches, the roads get waterlogged and stink like hell. Who do you think is responsible?