“We are like that only” is the title of a book written Rama Bijapurkar to explain the Indian, his persona, his psyche about Indian consumer. This is a typical statement made by Indians about Indians! It is a complete desi package that we have created for public consumption world over. What is it that defines the behavior, approach of a society to the normal life situations? Is it poverty, shortages, religion, five thousand year old culture? What is it that makes Indians so different from most of the world? In parlance of poverty line why are Indians below poverty line (BPL) socially?
One can immediately think of the British Raj that we had for 200 years. In the last fifty years of the Raj there was a non-cooperation movement all over India led by Gandhiji against the British Government. This movement gathered momentum and in 1947 British left India. In 2014, we are in the 67th year of independence and in our collective minds we continue to think about Govt as an entity against whom we should continue our non-cooperation movement. Only thing is we create our own movement and not a collective one. (Some movements are becoming collective ones but not by design) To go against the authority starts with basic things like traffic. We cut lanes, jump signals with impunity. We enter one way street from the wrong direction, we park where we want. I read from history books that we were not so bad in following the social norms during the times before British arrived.
Has it got to do with lack of knowledge or I don’t care attitude? Is it because we become anonymous in large cities and we just get away doing anything? Where is the respect for other people gone? In north India there is word बुजुर्ग used for elderly in the society. There is a tradition of touching feet of elderly, every time you meet them. But what happens on the road, I am not necessarily talking of road rage. In a minor altercation on road an elderly person will be called बुद्ढे, (a derogatory term,) “Are you blind”? Why this happens? Why we always think that “I am always right, it is someone else who is wrong”.
Governments in many states have made a rule that any person who wants to hold government position in village panchayat, must have a good toilet at home. In Punjab more than 90% people have followed this rule but only 10% use the toilets, others defecate in fields. Reason? “Oh, it feels nice to defecate outside.” Can anyone explain this argument? If you are standing in a queue for some enquiry, say, railway enquiry, there will be always be someone who is in a hurry and will just jump the queue and try to get information. Reason, oh its’ just one minute work that I have. They forget that everybody has only one minutes job at that window and they have come before you.
There is a trend to clean or wash homes and throwing muck in the common area. My home is clean! But what about common area? I have seen on expressways just five minutes after the rest stops, people will stop their car (first major mistake) and then urinate. Why can’t they do it at the rest stops?
What is it that it makes us Indians different? It cannot be religion, people of all religions behave in the same way in India. Do you remember the loud speakers from Mosques and Mandirs blaring out loud devotional music? Is it poverty? I have seen people of all financial strata behaving in same atrocious ways.
In the colony where I stay we have townhouses, with gardens. Some people have pet dogs. They take their pets for walk (in dark naturally) and in the morning when there is light, one would find dog poop all over. When a notice was circulated advising them to pick up own dog poop, each individuals’ dog is “well behaved”, he would never do such a thing! Is it education? Of course going to school and college does not mean that a person is “educated”. Again I have seen educated and “un educated” behaving very similarly.
Is it the fear of the law that makes people behave in a decent manner in other countries? Is it the training that is imparted during childhood that plays the role? Don’t we impart training to our children when they are growing up? But is it because though we impart training to the kids, we break the rules or norms very easily. Our children see this and their mind starts understanding the double standards that we apply.
These days a really bad trend is observed. Male species have always led the incorrect behavior in the society. But today we see mothers taking their kids to school on scooters. Number of ladies breaking the rules is increasing at an alarming rate. There is saying about education. If a man is educated he goes further in life than he would otherwise go but if a woman takes education, she will take the whole family on path to prosperity. In the same vein, “If a man is breaks the rules he adds one person to list of persons defined above but if a woman breaks traffic rules with her two kids on scooter, she will take the whole family to the path of breaking rules lifelong for her whole family”. Why is it so because “My Mummy is always right”!!