Archive for: March 2013

Sense, Non-Sense and Civic Sense : By Mukund Mate

Do you enjoy really enjoy driving to work everyday ? What is it that puts you off : the actual drive or the utter lack of driving sense of fellow drivers on your way ? How many times have you waited patiently in a queue ( bank, post office, electricity bill counter, railway ticketing etc ) only to have someone else just jump the queue ? How many times have you experienced some other car just drive into the only parking lot available while you were patiently waiting for it to get vacant ? Such behavior does not seem to make sense. Seemingly educated people put up their worst Civic Sense behavior in public spaces. It seems utter non-sense.

Let me take you to Johannesburg – South Africa. It was a rainy day. Traffic up to this point of the day was super efficient and business like, till it started raining. And then at one of the square junctions, the unthinkable happened. There was a gridlock and the traffic piled up on all four sides of the junction. Upon making a few inquiries, I was amazed at the cause of the gridlock. I assure you that you will be shocked with the reason of the gridlock. The computer controlled traffic signal had broken down at the junction due to the rain. Hence, there were no red or green signals. Car drivers at the junction, did not know who should cross the junction as there was NO green signal. No car driver dared to cross the junction. They all stayed beyond the cross line and caused a traffic jam of a different kind. Then a police officer arrived who had to force the cars to start moving and help clear the backed up traffic. Can such an incident ever happen in any Indian city ?

No, it is not about population problems or corruption or a better system controls and blah blah. In the Johannesburg example, the drivers jolly well could have gone past the junction. But they collectively decided NOT to do so. As, each one was aware that, if all of them started crossing, then there is bound to be a chaos at the junction. Each one of them consciously decided that it is his duty to follow his civic sense. Each one was petrified of being seen as the initiator of the jam. Each one displayed an extremely strong sense of civic responsibility.

What we, in India, are missing a point, is a key differentiator in terms of basic education on the civic sense front. We are all taught that we must brush our teeth. This is inculcated in us as a good habit. We learn to have a bath every day. We do these activities throughout our life later on, because we were taught to do these things in school at a very young age. However, nobody teaches us to inculcate a sense of civic sense.

If you notice, we do not have an education system which lays enough emphasis on our civic sense responsibilities. The lone passing reference to Civics or Social Sciences as a subject, notwithstanding. It is no point teaching the already grown ups, how to have a better civic sense. The change will not come about thru enforcement or thru one-a-blue-moon type drives. However, we must try to have a serious effort in trying to inculcate these civic sense values in our children at a very young age on a sustained basis right from the kinder garden to college level. This can be done, as having a special subject in schools ( something like Civic Sense Science ) right from kinder garden to College levels.

The idea is to constantly hammer the concept of a civic sense in the children. Believe me, the next time you try to ignore a pedestrian, chances are that your daughter will reprimand you for not giving the pedestrian its way. Once you have an entire generation that picks up these values, it will be easy to pass on these values to subsequent generations.

Take the example of people in Singapore, Turkey, South Africa, Dubai, even Sri Lanka. Some of these countries more or less started off their modern journey at the same time as India. But, how can these people have a better civic sense than us. Are they born better than us ? Are they born with a better civic sense ? It is because generations in these countries have grown up seeing a very strong civic sense culture around them. Unfortunately, for us in India, we lack this culture. Our children will do exactly what they see around them. Hence, there is this need for educating an entire upcoming generation on the civic sense to bring about an irreversible change in our future generations.

Its all, about Sense, Non-Sense and Civic Sense.

 

The author is the Vice President of a manufacturing company and

Consulting Editor, Intellectual Post.


Mukund Mate
An article by:
Mukund Mate

The Page 3 Syndrome…

A disease has gripped the entire nation. Never has been there such an epidemic in the country. One that would tame many and perhaps it has no cure. No it isn’t the fantastic Swine flu, or even the infamous Plague. The most ridiculously amazing of them all, Page 3 syndrome is here.

No one knows how it crept in. All that can be said is that the old uncle next door opened the third page of his morning daily to find it filled with news seen never before. It astounded him to see photos of a silver-spoon-at-birth second generation entrepreneur dressed in his best with a young maiden , perhaps his wife, or maybe not, smiling away to glory. Uncle scratched his head in a puzzled manner wondering whether by mistake he was reading his wife’s entertainment magazine. But surely, the name of the newspaper was the same as it had been since the past years that he had been reading it. Uncle tried putting together the logic of devoting an entire page in the print media to putting up photos of children of rich fathers partying or of a film star changing the shade of her nail polish.

When one evening he recounted his bizarre experience to me, I shook my head sadly and told him that he wasn’t the only one in such a fix. People all over the country were waking up each morning with the third page of their favorite newspaper filled with stuff they wouldn’t usually care for at all.

The release of the iconic movie ‘Page 3’ starring Konkana Sen Sharma gave the common man a new glimpse of stardom. Well, on the brighter side it also showcased the dark sides of that glamorous life celebrities and businessman lead. Every man says that he cares a penny for what’s published on Page 3, but every morning he looks up to Page 3 wishing he led a life like that.

Months after that strange morning, Uncle told me another hilarious incident. One of his office colleagues was at a function littered with the paparazzi. And as it happens, the lad cared a tad for what it took but he wanted his million dollar smile in the next day’s newspaper. He tried to sidle close to a well known businessman’s wife in the hope that the photographer clicking pictures of her pretty face may include him in the snap.

Fifteen minutes later he was regretting that he went just too close as he ended up spilling his drink on the lady’s sparkling dress. He regretted it because everyone watching laughed at him as if watching a jester at work. He regretted being in such an embarrassing situation that a couple of security guards had to be called to escort him out.
Uncle laughed as he finished telling his tale. Page 3 eats into people’s minds, taking the place of news items which
speak of the distressing situations people face in the country. An entire page for a person who did no more than spent money at a pub makes up a case for argument that even a small child could easily counter.

We live in a country with two different countries in itself. One is the real India consisting of the small towns and villages engrossed in earning their daily wages. Our rulers turn to them once in five years during the elections. Apart from that, they lay forgotten. The other India is the India of Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Calcutta, Chennai, Pune and many cities such. This India is scattered with hypocrites who know that their country needs a lot but will worship actors, celebrities and money makers.

From this country has come the Page 3 syndrome. A disease which threatens to devastate the entire population if it isn’t brought under check soon. We will surely be a nation which accepts the truth when my neighbor wakes up to a newspaper with its ‘Page 3’ missing.

 

The author is Executive Editor, Intellectual Post

 


Ziauddin Sherkar
An article by:
Ziauddin Sherkar

The Great Indian FDI Mela

Finally, The Great Indian FDI Mela is here.

The year 2012, previously cited as the human-predicted doomsday has turned out to be more of a celebration year. Till 2011 the fare grounds wore a forlorn and dismal gloom, but thanks to Walmart, Tesco, Carrefour’s fun, and games stalls deciding to open up, the UPA, the Mela organizers gave a second thought to it. Finally on 7th December, the organizer’s head office at Sansad Bhawan, Sansad Marg, New Delhi, it was decided that the Mela may be conducted without further delay.

However it needed the help of BSP and SP in organizing it! BJP, as always least amused by the Congress’ decisions, had decided that this Mela may not be conducted without having a vote with all the organizers in the fray. Mayawati, with her small but crucial support of 15 BSP MPs, decided to sway in the favour of Sonia Gandhi’s 94 members. SP bigwig Mulayam on the other hand, not in the favour of having a Retail Fare in the country (apparently) did a stylish walkout.
As the UPA won with a close margin, it was decided that Walmart inc. and others will surely get full fledged chances of setting up their outlets at the Mela albeit with a 51% ownership. India inc. has given their views in favour of this Fare, creating an opinion that the business class of the society gives its full support to it.

However, many of the wise crowds in the country believe that this decision may have its drawbacks. Cheaper though, this Mela might be, the previous Mela, termed as The Great Indian Retail Mela had many small and self sufficient outlets creating jobs for the local people, and satisfaction in the minds of its visitors. Since preparations for the upcoming, glamorous trumpeted Fare have started, with each passing hour, the sense of insecurity in the small shop owners is growing, and looking at the number of farmer’s suicides WITHOUT any news of the Mela, we might as well be looking at a future India without its backbone: agriculture.

The man next door will walk out of house to the nearest Tesco store and find everything under one, air-conditioned roof with mind-boggling low costs; but he forgets, a shop next to his apartment, in existence since the last 10 years whose owner now looks into helplessness with defaulted credit in his pocket and unsold goods on his shelf.

Indian players like Kishore Biyani wonder, why foreigners at all? If they can, then why can’t we? Why can’t we be the makers of our own goods and in turn make our country an entrepreneur’s haven which provides and profits the Indians itself?

Well, anyways, “Come one, Come all to the Great Indian FDI Mela, hopefully where, the shops are more and the visitors less.”

 

The author is Executive Editor, Intellectual Post


Ziauddin Sherkar
An article by:
Ziauddin Sherkar