A person is called good only when he has the appropriate and adequate qualities of being so. A citizen is a person who lives in some particular country, so, we would call a citizen good only when he would be found to have the qualities requisite for this citizenship. He must have the qualities of head and heart and behaviour which could justify his being a citizen of the place. Now in this context, when we stay in a place, we are called good, only if we follow the rules set in all spheres of existence. We should exercise our rights that accrue to us by virtue of being citizens in right earnest and honestly, and should never trespass the rights of others. Above all, we must know and realize this basic thing that, with every right we are enjoying, there are corresponding duties which we must do as citizens. Rights and duties are two sides of the same coin and cannot be separated. So in a nutshell, a citizen is a person, an individual who enjoys all rights conferred on him by virtue of being a citizen and, at the same time also does all the corresponding duties, willingly, happily and meticulously. This is in brief all about a citizen. So far so good, now, let us study the situation of a citizen of India. How for we, as citizens prove to be worthy of the name is for us to see, understand and analyse.
Those who live in this country have, like in all others countries got a host of rights and their corresponding duties. However, the situation in India in this regard is rather dismal. This is because all have learnt rights and verbatim according to the Constitution but, we have never yes, never bothered to be particular about our duties as well. We enjoy and fight for our rights. This situation is absolutely shameful and derogatory.
According to the Indian Constituency for instance, all of us have been granted the right of freedom of speech which we all use to the maximum, not knowing where to stop. We have never been allowed to speak so very freely that we can abuse or pass insulting remarks about anyone. We, it seems have understood that freedom of speech means, say anything about any one and say it anywhere in front of anyone – this is our miserable interpretation of freedom of speech. In reality, we have been granted this freedom to be able to express our views about things, make mention of our desires and feelings but, not abuse anyone. However, even in the highest realm of the political arena we see leaders hurling abuses at each other in pulic, using the most discourteous and unparliamentary language, in reference to each other. Is this the freedom of speech sanctioned to us? When this is the understanding of rights in the highest rung of the ladder, in the highest strata of society what do we hope to expect in the remaining stratas of society. So what we understand is that in India we have all been very well tutored aobut our rights, but, the corresponding duties have been lost somewhere on the way. Most of us know our rights, enjoy our rights to the fullest extent but, when it comes to duties we forget them very systematically.
The worst brunt of this attitude can be felt in our nationalism. It is this country who had given us birth, it is country’s free air that we breather in to live, it is this very country that has given us such a long list of rights but in return, what do we give our motherland? We can not even be loving and loyal to our country, then what else can we do. It is in this very prime duty that we falter. To-day, we Indians bask in the sunshine of the West, appreciate the West, praise it aloud on trumpets and, at the first opportunity we leave our motherland and get settled abroad. Duty should be to see this country’s progress because it is ours and it has given us so much but, instead, we take all the advantages offered to us, all the opportunities that come our way and then, in return we go and serve someone else, just because we find our mother too poor for us. When this is the general standard of loyalty to our country, then how can we ever say that we our good citizens.
Not only setting in foreign lands and serving them but, we also indulge in any activity for selling our country to foreigners and help others in destroying our new generation. To prove our goodness as citizens we have a galaxy of smugglers who belong to us, reside elsewhere and plan our ruination oh! what wonderful citizens we can be.
On a smaller scale we know that we have for example, rights to use all civic amenities granted to us by the Indian Government, but, at the first outburst of our tempers we tend to destroy bridges, roads and other civic installations. We move on roads and dirty them, we use electricity and also waste it, we use water and waste it and a host of other amenities we do not only use but misuse. When we do not have electricity we shout about our right to the amenity but, when we have it we forget our duty to use it properly, not waste it, and not steal it.
We travel in buses, trains and other transport systems and when we do not have them or have them running late, we are very vocal about delays, and that our right is to get good and prompt services but, at the same when they are in time and we travel in comfort, we forget our duty to help the Government to maintain them. We dirty them, we tear their seats, remove the dunlopillow from the seats and cut it. Is this what is expected from us in return of the amenities given to us, is this the duty of good citizens to destroy public property? My friends, just comprehend for yourselves and think of what kind of citizens we are? We have a bagful of rights as free citizens of India but regarding the relavent duties we seem to have none.
Besides all this there is another feather in our caps – the Government has just to make any laws or rules, whether civic or traffic, or even criminal, the fertile Indian brain, the loyal Indian citizen is ready forthwith, with his plans of breaking the said laws. Let us ponder for a moment and decide for ourselves, is this the quality of a good citizen? I daresay, what all we see about ourselves in daily life, we Indians are not at all what citizens of a free country should be. We have no loyalty not love for our country where we have taken birth, we have no scruples in giving out our country to foreigners, we have no hesitation in breaking any law. Then why should we get any rights?
The problem with us has been that, for the last fifty years of our independent existence, not only the common man but, even the Government has laid too much stress on rights, rights and rights – but regarding our duties which are also clearly mentioned in our Constitution no one is inclined to bother bout, neither the Government nor the citizens. The Government never cares to enlighten the public about duties, and the citizens are never punished for neglecting their duties. The magnitude of indiscipline and ill behaviour that we see every day in every sphere of life is just because we citizens of India are not at all aware of our duties as citizens, towards the country, towards the Government, and towards our fellow citizens.
It is a wonder if citizens of any other country individually or collectively could be enjoying so much, without giving anything in return. An Indian citizen is to-day a picture of indiscipline, selfishness and confusion. It is now high time that we Indians are forced to do our duties if we wish to enjoy all the freedom.