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Civic Sense
Dr. Shehzad Saleem

All of us are citizens of a country. It is our motherland. Our emotions naturally are attached to it and we aspire to see it rise in the comity of nations. At the same time, we need to show respect and regard to our fellow citizens. Nothing we do should infringe on their rights.

This sensitivity to our country and to its citizens can be termed as civic sense. Every person must be an embodiment of this sense, and should endeavour to pass on this legacy to the next generation.

Foremost among our civic duties is to obey the laws of our country in letter and spirit. These include traffic laws, community laws, public laws, monetary laws besides a host of others. Hoodwinking or bypassing the law should be unthinkable. From the standpoint of the country administration laws should be equally imposed on all sectors of the society, and any defiance should be penalized.

Secondly, citizens must endeavour to keep their country clean. Littering at public places should be completely avoided. Waste bins and boxes should be used and if at some place they are lacking one must keep the waste material until one finds an appropriate place to dispose it off. Also included in this effort is keeping public toilets clean every time one uses them. Spitting in public and wall chalking are some of the other detestable practices that go on in public, especially in third world countries.

Thirdly, a whole sphere of civic duty relates to being sensitive about noise pollution. Unnecessary honking by vehicles must be consciously avoided; pets, especially dogs who incessantly bark and make the lives of neighbours miserable should be kept in check; sermons from the mosques should be restricted to the confines of the mosque by judiciously using loudspeakers; musical functions should also not go beyond the houses or halls they are held in; generators should not pound on the ears of neighbours. These are just some examples of noise pollution. In short, citizens must show special sensitivity to all its manifestations.

Fourthly, of paramount importance is to obey traffic laws. It is citizens who benefit from them because many of these laws are for their own safety. Thus, stopping at a red light even when there is no one coming from the opposite side, wearing helmets while cycling or biking, remaining well within the speed limit, not bringing cars on the road that give out smoke, being circumspect in changing lanes and using the indicator must be adhered to punctually besides other similar regulations.

Fifthly, all the citizens must play their roles in helping the local administration in combating national calamities. Earthquakes, floods, droughts, famine, epidemics are some common catastrophes that affect various areas. As citizens, we must chip in with our share in these disasters and not shy away even if we can spare small amounts of money or useful things.

Sixthly, misuse of government office and public funds and social amenities are grave crimes that must never be indulged in. Illegal gratification, fraud, tax evasion, theft, embezzlement, perjury, false testimony, extortion, treason, vandalism, and violence fall far below the norms of human dignity and should have no place in any civilized society.

These are just some of the major breaches that have been mentioned viz a viz civic sense. From the very first seat of learning to schools and strongly set traditions every new generation should be groomed in civic behaviour. A society that has no respect for laws does not need any external enemy. It is the worst enemy of itself and disrespect for laws plunges it not only into decadence but drives it into a self-destruct mode.


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