It was a sunny and agreeable day past a week when I visited the highest seat of learning, University of Kashmir. My visit was in no way affiliated with any kind of thought-process until I observed two pursuing Doctorates who compelled me to write this piece.
In an apex institution, apex etiquettes and Civic sense are obviously expected. To get out of my stress level, I helped myself by fetching a casual cup of coffee from the common cafeteria of the institution and started brewing it up in the adjacent lawn.
Meanwhile, I noticed two well-to-to hunks, seemingly.
They did not take the footpath to enter the lawn. They rather opted for their kind of short-cut; a short-cut called “Trespassing” or “Lack of civic sense”. I went on observing them until I came to know via their conversation that they are pursuing Doctorate courses. My intensity of distress got multiplied to see them multiplying their civic irresponsiblities.
After jabbering lots, they opened up some packets of eatables and started consuming. Once they were done with it, they left the wrappers and the left-over at the same place as of some untaught. It stunned me a bit that how on earth a scholar is incapable to comprehend the literal meaning of two bold painted letters on a bin Infront… i.e., “Use Me”.
Amongst a series of such distressed events, I have often observed well-qualified and a higher strata committing disagreeable civic felonies.
Civic sense primarily rests upon social ethics which involves keeping our surroundings and public places neat. A sound civic sense caters to a sound and integrated personality. Apart from self-developmental civic sense, tasks are bestowed upon us as citizens by the government to ensure a balance in-between conservation and allegiance.
It is not only crucial for one’s own personality development but also for a co-relational understanding & development that leads to a society with healthy civic sense. Taking into consideration the basic block of civic sense, it rests in understanding and practising the Civic values that act as an inseparable part of cultural legacy.
Literally, civic values are “A set of behaviours that are considered positive for the development of a society” .They eventually come handy to gain peace and peaceful citizenship.
On the basis of the notions like Civic responsibility, Civic values and Civic sense, Civic education mainly rests on the following three building-blocks:
- Civic Knowledge: It basically involves the engagement including considering alternative viewpoints, cherishing diversity and an analytical role of citizens in comprehension and monitoring of the current events.
2. Civic Values: Civic values are the character traits that are to be necessarily employed to label one’s self as a responsible citizen.
3. Civic Behaviour: Tasks like community gardening, activity participation, group activities or being a part of volunteer organization. All such activities boost what we adhere as Civic behaviour. Civic behavior automatically directs an individual to become more polite and courteous. It helps to switch to the good manners even in anger and abhorrence.
A sound civic sense is greatly missing, even in the well-read stratum of our society. Fetching the literary qualifications and thoughtfulness are two different concepts. Education here must mark the difference of transforming us into a better version of citizens where individual differences, public property, civic duties, civic values are genuinely respected.
To boost the civic sense up, there are a lot of debates where a notable number of prolific authors define civic skills to include Language competency, Letter-writing, Debate-management, Presentation and so on.
All such skills in the long run mark a civic engagement that leads to a basis of community where combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation make a clear breakthrough.
Being enough learnt to debate societal stuff is actually not sufficient, because when it comes to the basic application of that learnt, we often turn our back to it.
Saima Jammal is an author and anchor.