As Indians we have a careless attitude towards fellow Indians. We simply do not care about offending or causing inconvenience to our neighbours, fellow travelers, and others. In our turn we also accept similar offensive behavior from them. In the process there is no improvement in our behavior and our civic atmosphere. Some the dirty habits that we openly practice are discussed below :

1 Spit Anywhere & Everywhere :

It is a common sight to see tobacco chewers, periodically eject mouthful of red spit on roads,walls and where ever they are. They are just not bothered about spoiling the target of their spit. For them the whole world is a big spitoon into which they contribute by right. 

In public buildings, all along the bottom portion of the staircase walls, one can see the revolting dark stains left by these tobacco chewers. They have a great liking for corners, which end up receiving liberal mouth fulls at regular intervals. Another favourite spot is the weather shades on the below floor windows. In public toilets there is no need to paint the walls, they do it for free. One of the most revolting sights therein,  is to see the water less white coloured wash basins full of their red spits.

The two wheeler drivers spit while driving, least bothered about the following drivers. There are many fights due to the spit spoiling the dress and face of the drivers behind. I have frequently seen car drivers slightly reduce speed and open the driver side door slightly and spit out towards the road. It is one of the most ugly sights to see blood red colored spit being ejected while you are on your way to office in the morning. Passengers spit freely out of buses and trains without any botheration.

In many buildings, god and goddess portraits are either painted or photos installed at places where people usually spit. It acts as a deterrent but an odd desperate person carefully spits between the photos.

2. The whole country is a open toilet :

This is one habit which makes India one of the very few countries in the world where people defecate in the open. It is estimated that a whooping 60% plus population defecates in open. It is a shame on our planners and the public that even sixty five years after independence such high proportion of our population defecate in open fields for all to see and stare. It is especially harsh on the womenfolk who have to go either in the early morning or in dark after sunset that too in groups. The menfolk can do at any time anywhere. It is reported that many women have to control the urge during daytime for obvious reasons and this leads to development of ailments in their bodies.

This practice is widespread throughout our country. The planners are busy sending missions to moon and mars million of miles away  but are not able to tackle this human dignity problem, a few miles away, in their own country. It shows the pathetic side of our priorities where we simply do not care! It is reported that such open defecation is also a cause of spread of many diseases, but who cares. it is also reported that many crimes against women occur when they go into open fields to defecate. In many cities, it is a common sight to see people defecating alongside the railway tracks. It is a tribute to the sense of modesty of Indian women that when a train passes by, all of them stand up to cover their modesty, but the menfolk continue sitting. 

Indian men of all classes and education levels do not think twice to urinate wherever they feel the urge to do so, even if ladies are passing by. One of the reasons for this open defecation is the absence of private and public toilets. Toilets require drainage connections. The civic authorities are not able to arrange for these and thus such large chunk is deprived of toilet facilities. In a limited number of cities drainage facilities are available. Otherwise private toilets have to have a sump made for which usually there is no space available. Also it involves expenditure which is not considered necessary. 

However there is some move in this direction to create awareness and advertisements are coming on media. The work done by Sulabh Sauchalaya in this direction by making functional and clean public toilets and baths is a very commendable effort. Surprisingly perhaps not it has not been undertaken by any other groups.

3. Dirt can be thrown everywhere:

It was perhaps Gandhiji who said matter out of place is dirt. I have often wondered at how Indians keep their houses neat from inside but dirty from outside. The road is considered to be made not for traffic but depositing the refuse of the house, hotel, shop etc. In disposing garbage on the road and its sides, all households and persons are equal in their contributions. There is no distinction of rich or poor. I have seen many times persons throwing a plastic bag containing their house garbage on an isolated road. There are many spots by the road side where the civic authorities designate for collection of garbage, which they promise to clean regularly. In practice the spot acts as a magnet for attracting persons from far and near to throw garbage, not in the big collection box, but around it. A large area is thus covered with stinking refuse and garbage, which attracts stray animals like cows,dogs, pigs etc, who in turn make their own contributions. 

Such dump sites are also created by citizens on an empty plot in a residential area or around city limits.The waste that is generated by households needs to be disposed, so the best disposal is the road side all across the country at regular intervals. Our tolerance levels being legendary, no one protests, because everyone contributes to these open waste dumps/sites.

However in few cities and towns now the civic authorities have started door to door collection of garbage and it is a good step.

4. Rivers are for dumping waste :

The rivers of our country have been converted into dirty nallas, full of filth. It is rare to see a clean river in inhabited areas. The waters are either black,brown or any other colour but transparent as they should be naturally. Even the most holy rivers like Ganga and Jamuna have become unholy due to the massive pollution they have been subjected to. Any type of refuse and waste, domestic or industrial can be directed into these and other rivers with impunity. I have seen large size foam clouds flowing in an unending numbers in black Jamuna waters near Delhi. No one seems to be bothered about the condition of our rivers. Their very high levels of BOD and COD ensures that no aquatic life can survive in it. In fact most of our rivers are dead rivers.

Industrial estates and many other industries are discharging their effluents into rivers and it is a well known fact. Yet thee is hardly any action on these river killers. After haridwar the Ganga is used as a waste carrier. In Varanasi every year 600 to 700 Tons of ash generated from burning dead bodies on its banks are dumped into it. The industrial towns like Kanpur discharge their sewage and industrial effluents into it. People who use its waters downstream suffer from skin and other diseases. But who cares.

Many industries collect liquid pollutants and discharge them during rains when rivers are in spate.

5. Aerial Pollution :

Most of our cities have polluted air which its citizens are forced to breathe, causing respiratory problems in many of them. The rapid increase in vehicles is a major contributor to aerial pollution. Industrial chimneys discharges have been regulated to a large extent. The burning of fossil fuels by a large section of our population also adds to the deterioration in the quality of air. Another cause of concern is the presence of high particulate matter and dust particles in the air. In many industries due to difficulty in disposing harmful liquid or solid effluents, these are incinerated. Thus liquid pollutants are converted into gaseous pollutants. The air pollution during Diwali is a matter of concern for many patients suffering from respiratory problems like asthma etc.

6. Sound pollution :

We area loud decibel society. Whether it is a marriage procession or a religious function or any other type of celebration, we have to announce it very loudly to the whole world.  It does not matter whether it is night or day, it is exam time or near by is a hospital. Crackers are burst along the way and the road becomes full of the resultant residues. The music has to be painfully loud, with the worst singer in town murdering songs. As soon as the marriage is solemnized it is time to burst the loudest of the crackers even if it happens to be middle of the night. The Supreme Court ruling that there should be no use of loudspeakers after 10 pm is hardly followed or implemented. It is not uncommon to hear vehicle drivers especially car drivers blow the horn for no rhyme or reason. It is reported that Indians love blowing car horns.

7. Encroachment :

This is another irritating and dirty habit of most of us. If we are living in a housing society we will grow plants outside our roadside wall and encroach on the common road. If we are shopkeepers then we will take out many items and put them on display for anywhere up to 10 feet or so in front of the shops, thus encroaching on the pavement or the road. If we are a roadside restaurant then in the evening we will occupy the pavement or part of the road with tables for our customers and in the process encroach on public space. The human and vehicular traffic has no option but to adjust because most of the time it is done with connivance of the civic and police authorities.

It is high time we became sensitive to fellow Indians and avoid above irritating and dirty habits. The Government also has a role to play in creating an enabling environment through public awareness programs and judicial laws to punish the culprits. But the real transformation will come only when individuals feel themselves responsible for their anti civic habits.

(Image from wikipedia.org)


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Comments (3)

  1. Anshu

Indian people compare India with countries like US and UK and blame government for not working towards the development of the country. We Indians don't work towards changing our habits and put all blame on the government. Each individual has to...

Indian people compare India with countries like US and UK and blame government for not working towards the development of the country. We Indians don't work towards changing our habits and put all blame on the government. Each individual has to himself take the responsibility and make serious efforts to keep the country clean.

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  1. vijay

You are right. We have to ourselves keep cleanliness around us. Thanks forreading and commenting

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  1. Dwarakanathan

It is our duty to keep nation without dirt & pollution. We should first think about shall we do all this in our own house. How we are maintaining our house that sense should come for nation improvement.

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