On Rights and Duties


Watching a good idea die is bad enough, but watching it struggle gamely on, against all odds is gut wrenching. Whoever thought of the idea of teaching Civics in schools must be spinning in his grave as India churns out generation after generation of people with scant civic sense. The only thing we carry out of our Civics classes is “The Indian constitution guarantees us rights.” We forget that every right comes coupled with a duty.

When playschools all over the world concentrate on teaching manners and civic sense to little minds, in India we drum letters of the alphabet, and teach them to count to 4000. That is not an arbitrary number, St. Ann’s, Secunderabad, a prominent school REQUIRES the child to count to 4000 in order to be eligible to join their kindergarten (!!!!). Not surprising really! All one needs to do is drive down the main road that runs in front of the school, you have vehicles parked well into the middle track on the road. How can the children expect to learn civic sense from selfish parents?

Must be hard for a child today, caught between teachers and parents who compete to be more selfish than the other is.

A ride down any street in Hyderabad is an education in the art of reflexes. Somebody forgot to tell people that while a driving license guarantees the right to drive, it also entails a duty to ensure that one does not kill or maim others. But then, how can someone who considers a driving license nothing more than an expense of Rs.1000 be made to understand that he has a duty to fellow road users?

A ‘good morning’ or a ‘thank you’ is looked at more as an element of style than a greeting or sign of gratitude.

The solution lies only at the roots. It cannot be solved top-down. However, who will take the bull by the horns, will it be the teachers, I doubt it, or the parents?

If we hope to see a generation of civic-minded citizens, we need to take individual steps to create that fictional character in our children.

For parents who happen to read this answer this question to yourselves,

HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU HELPED YOUR CHILD WITH CIVICS OR MORAL SCIENCE AS OPPOSED TO MATH OR PHYSICS?

Before creating great doctors and engineers, let us create good human beings.

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