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Indian Society & The Art Of Self-discipline

Our behaviour as a society has not changed much for the current crisis - Corona Virus pandemic.

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If the area of land mass we cross in our daily metro commute from home to work is a nation by itself, that nation could be the 50th most populous nation in the world. As for us Indians, this is not a statistic but simply daily crowds that we live in / with.

We have rules. But we don’t follow them.

We have law. But we can’t enforce effectively. Sadly because of the lower number of law enforcers we have per-capita.

We break rules. We expect to get away on the basis that the offence was not disturbing anyone else or because “its ok” or because of our “connections” / “status” and so on and forth ! It’s simply “chalta hai” attitude.

Imagine if you are flying back home from Singapore / Dubai / European airport, you would see our fellow countrymen (and women) stand politely in queue at the airport checkin / security / immigration / flight boarding; and the behaviour of that heterogenous set of passengers once they land in India, is a different one ! They will run and break queues, scream out loud, unapologetically pick their luggage even if it means that luggage has hurt some one else’s shin, so many other civic nuisance things.

We are a bunch of folks who either are extremely obedient and will toe the line. Or be adventurous (call it bindaas or badass, depending on your style) about breaking the rule and not feel guilty about it.

There is lot to be learnt from global societies, not segregated by wealth or population. Globally many of the societies have shown the benefit of paying heed to governmental rules & advisories.

As a citizen, I find it embarrassing that we did not bother about cleanliness and toilet hygiene until Honble Prime Minister Shri Modi spoke about “Swachh Bharat” mission. Until then, we were fine with keeping our house clean, rest be damned ! If at all anyone to blame, we would point fingers at the neighbours or expect someone else to call the local municipality office.

Our behaviour as a society has not changed much for the current crisis - Corona Virus pandemic. The authorities in cities gave us warning and asked us to follow certain restrictions. And we did thought it was applicable to others but not to us. Then the PM asked us for “Janata Curfew”, which demonstrated his leadership style using a social-experiment to bring people together. And yet we persisted in crowding the local areas - to check what’s happening, to go for a drive, to fill fuel, to play cricket, etc. we confused the word “gallant” with “galavant” !

And the only way that the head of the society can discipline (at all) is to order a clampdown. Simply because as a society, we like breaking rules or stretching its elasticity.

Covid19 does not distinguish between caste, creed, class, community, currency, country.
As a society, let’s be self-disciplined & work as per our government advisories.

And am sure that when you read this article from a different city, you will remember the different ways the locals break rules and yet feel normal about those nuances...

We are like that only, no?!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Tags assigned to this article:
COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak

Srinath Sridharan

The author is Independent Markets Commentator

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