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We the People

Pallavi Mody

Author: Pallavi Mody

Date: Thu, 2016-12-29 11:35

This write up is not about demonetisation or about how the demonetisation has disrupted the country and the economy. Nor is it about blaming the government, the Reserve Bank of India or the entire banking system.

It is about us; We the People (of India). It is about our behaviour and how it showed different colours with the backdrop of demonetisation over the past month. Nani Palkhiwala wrote a book with the same title way back in 1984. I am borrowing the title and the theme to point out how something major in us is amiss.

To quote Nani,  ‘The symptoms of our malaise may be economic’, he says at one point, ‘and may show themselves in price rises and shortages. But underlying the symptoms is a disease which is not economic. The diseases are moral and political and constitutional, and in order to cure them we must recognise them’- ‘We the People’ by Nani Palkhiwala 1984.

I am startled at the behaviour of us over the last month. From the time the PM demonetized the currency notes, we have seen different colours of our people. The masses have silently given their support by patiently waiting in the long queues. They actually believe that the country is getting cleaner, we will get rid of the black money and this much of suffering is their contribution for a better society. They are convinced in the dictum of no gain without pain.

However the classes think otherwise; all gain without pain all the time. The classes have been busy in managing their cash by manipulating the system. In the first phase, it all started from depositing unaccounted money in accounts of the poor relatives, employees and acquaintances. The soaring bank deposits and especially the balances in Jan Dhan Accounts are testimony to the activity.

In the second phase, the rich and influential started connecting through their networks directly with the banks. The new notes issued by the RBI are fulfilling the requirements of this segment. There is a predetermined percentage of commission for the job, get new currency notes for the old anywhere anytime in India. The network is widespread from Gurgaon to Gujarat and Mumbai to Goa to Udipi to Chennai…

Why are we behaving this way? There is not even shame or guilt in openly discussing the matter. This is the way we have tackled taxes in the country for years. Evade taxes legally or illegally. Avoiding taxes by hook or crook was the survival manual in 70s when the highest income tax rate was 97.5%.   We are still hanging on to the mindset and even though the current rate is 30-33%, evading tax seems to be just a matter of habit.

Several questions emerge to define out mindset. Are we the people who take pride in breaking rules? Is there devaluation of our value system? Is finding short cuts and getting away smarter than to do what is right? Are we even aware of how a civic society functions?

Take one example - our behaviour on roads. We have gone from bad to worse whether we are motorists or pedestrians. We are ruthless drivers; jump signals, cut lanes, honk, indulge in double parking and pick fights at the drop of a hat. We are careless pedestrians; we cross roads and even railway tracks and resist using the over bridge. Simple road rules would make everyone’s life simple but who wants simple life?

We the people enjoy living on the edge. We the people enjoy breaking rules. We the people are smart.






Nice thought provoking article. I appreciate views written by Pallavi Mody.

thank you

You have put the context “we people” in perspective. I agree we are the people who behave in different ways depending on situations. And, in fact this is applicable to anyone (not just us). The intensity or extremity may lies more in our case. A simple example is metro station and how people behave while riding metro trains. People follow rules, queues, etc. However, same set of people behave very differently the moment they come out of the station. This could be because of how people relate impact of our behaviour and actions in different situations. Society and experience may playing a pivotal role in shaping the behaviour that we have today. People do like comfort and when they see an opportunity they do not want to miss it. I feel it is more than the attitude of people which is forcing or influencing people to behave differently in different situations. We value such opportunities than people in other countries. To me, there is no direct causation that I can undoubtedly associate. It seems more debatable in nature. It is indeed important to identify far-reaching effects and its deep-rooted causes. But, I completely agree that “we are the people who enjoy living on the edge”.

I believe we are all party to it, we are the people who can suggest about anything. Ask for the suggestion and we are ready with bunch of ideas. Ask for the faults in system and government policies and we are ready with plenty of them. But when it comes to really personalise these ideas in practical life then we are the people who always take the back seat. We are the people who doesn't want to set an example rather be happy about the fact that if I am not following the rules so does other people. We are ready to break the rules but always hesitates to follow them. So, we should ask our self a question; are we really smart enough?

yes I agree, we are good at preaching than practising

Actually we are habitual to shortcuts because it makes our life easy, and that’s how we are reacting to situations as you have rightly mentioned in your blog. We all are aware of the correct practices but still why we take shortcuts. Shortcut may lead to immediate benefits, but it’s never a permanent solution. The reform starts from the individual. I would state an example, we all know traffic rules. Red is meant to stop. But for most of us red signal in the presence of traffic policeman is meant to stop. In his absence we just pass by the Red signal. What we achieve doing this? Simply a saving of few minutes. I was also one of those who use to do it. One of my dear friend just to save few minutes took the wrong lane to petrol pump to get his bike refilled. He bumped into other car. But with God’s grace he is fine, no severe injury. I was just beside him. I was just shocked, it terrified me.That day I just decided that rules are meant for our safety and we should adhere to it. We the people break the rules for our short-term benefits but we learn to adhere them the hard way. Why not abide by the rules and be a responsible citizen. Why we need someone to monitor us? Why can’t we be honest to ourselves? It’s we who complain about corruption and we who follow malpractices to get our job done. Its time to change. The change starts from the Individual. Abide by the rules you will see progressive you,me and our nation. Breaking rules is not smartness……Its just an hindrance to our goals and progress in long run...

The word “We” has a meaning of “one or more other people considered together”. But in our country, does this word has any significance anymore?We have been shattered into I which stands for individual who thinks for himself, for his own benefits, for his selfishness. People have become selfish and have no interest in Country’s well being. They are not bothered about others. Nowadays any Nobel cause does not influence us till it is directly linked to us and if a Nobel cause is going to give us setbacks “We” are against those causes and recent past is full of such evidences.

In the past “We the People of India”, have achieved the independence for our country from British Rule. In those days people used to sacrifice their lives for country & fellow countrymen. From those days to today, where tax evasion is routine practice, whole nation is being called as “Intolerant”. We Indians are “Smart”, but problem with us is we use our “Smartness” for doing illegal things. In our society breaking law is considered as sign of bravery & law abiding citizens are considered as fainthearted. This is why people break the traffic rules, over jumps the red signals or even evade taxes. We all are aware of the malpractices existing in our society, we also want change in our society, but who will do it? We “the people of India” always need heroes to solve our problems & we are waiting for our hero to come & solve our problems. We need to make ourselves aware that “we are the hero”; every Indian is hero who can change this pathetic state of our society. I may seem too optimistic, but just in case of demonetization people patiently faced the change, if we start following rules & laws, we can make India great again.

Hello ma’am, It was spellbinding to go through your blog, and I felt very much connected to my day to day experience in conversing with friends, colleagues and sometimes with strangers and co-passengers. We tend to blame the system for everything, but we do not self-examine whether our own behavior is justified. For small financial gain, favor, convenience and enjoyment, we disrupt the system. The examples given by you are very practical and we may add few more in the list like smoking in Public places, noise pollution during festivals, entering illegally in the queue, dumping waste here and there, and not wearing seat belts etc. On the demonetization context it can be seen that the branded shops were bound to make their transactions online due to cash crunch, but now they are again going back to the prevalent form of cash dealings. This has always helped the traders in tax evasion. We always take the chances for our own convenience. We really need to equip ourselves with right behavior for self-improvement and development of our country as well.

Attitude, word has both constructive and destructive meaning. If attitude is good then it’s boldness or brashness and if your attitude is wrong then it’s become arrogance. We are doing or enjoying by doing such foolishness is defiantly called arrogance. Now I have to decide from boldness or arrogance, which side of attitude I will choose. I have mentioned in tag “I am passing this privilege to my children”, When we born we don’t know how to walk, speak, eat but we learn from our surrounding i.e. well and bad both. My father always taught good things to me, but unknowingly gives some bad habits also like throw garbage anywhere, if its shortcut then no harm to go wrong side on road, etc. and I am following same today in front of my children. I am passing this shameful attitude to them unknowingly. Now it’s time to change, let’s shift our attitude from arrogance to boldness and help the society. Help our next generation to learn good things from their childhood, so we can develop a better tomorrow. “Attitude Matters”

We as a people have to change , a change in attitude & thought process is required. As an individual in most of the case we always know that what we are doing is wrong , but still continue to do so like jumping of signal, speeding the vehicle behind the specified limits, railway crossing..etc. This attitude needs to be changed,the country cannot developed,unless the people in the society does not have the right attitude. A country needs to be strong in it is policies,Laws & regulation.Once the fear of someone is watching over them is there in people, people will change, people will be afraid of consequences for not following & may help to overcome the situation like this

Breaking rules has become an attitude to showcase our superiority to others. This will change with corruption free society and robust law & order. Use of technology in law & order will also play a vital role on people's attitude change.

The only thing constant in this universe is Change. We see a lot of movies wherein a hero fights against evil, a pack of politicians or mafia & comes our successful. In real life is it happening?? In true sense it is; change is happening but very slowly. As mentioned in your blog there are two reactions two the effect of demonetization - positive & negative based on the category and expectations of people. It is very easy to comment on others behavior & action but when we say we the people it is first me who should decide what is right & do the right thing instead of thinking what others did & i followed them. The best example of change in our society is the transportation system. When we compare an airport with a railway station or a bus stand, there is a remarkable difference in the behavior of the people & as a result you find more hygiene, safer & aesthetic environment in airport as compared to other places, making no mistake the same people are traveling sometime, somewhere in all the three modes of transportation. As a citizen of this society it is our primary role to set own standards & people will follow what they see. It is the one who can influence masses by his actions & not the masses which will influence the one. Self responsibility to society, education & creating awareness along with penalties are some very vital tools which can move our society forward in the right direction & bring about a radical change in much faster way.

Nice article madam. The very root of corruption lies in the faulty system. We the people tolerate the misdeed. We ignore the growing parasites of corruption on our value chain. Such parasites become unmanageable at a later stage. We need to have proper policies and system in place to fight corruption. True education and character building can get rid us off this chronic. Pleasure of getting rich by evading tax or by violating traffic norm should be punished in an exemplary manner.

Ma’am, the article was really spell binding. The phase “We the people” has been put in a right context i.e. sarcastically. Because nobody here is thinking of we, they are all thinking of I. We put our small personal gains before the national interest. We all are culprits of this, ranging from those who do it to those who tolerate it. But why do we need someone to monitor us? Someone to make us follow the rules? I think time has come to change our attitude. We all have to become responsible citizens if we want this county to develop and hand over a rich legacy to our children.

We the cultured well l educated human being of present age sometimes we create rule and sometimes we intentionally violate those to make self-happy. It is happy to see other people are bound to follow the rules but nobody can force me and I will do my own way. We feel proud for being Indian but we refuse to use Indian product in case we get an imported product even at higher price compared to Indian product. We criticize somebody for using slang languages but when we use the same it becomes the part of smartness. We go to market and want product like apple but at the cost of potato. We want everything should be well organized and at convenience of us but we make it inconvenient and disorganized for others when we show it as our smartness or super busy attitude. But ultimately if we see can we say what ethical value we are adding to our life and what indication we are giving to our future generations we have lot of expectation from us???

Dear Ma’am, Reading your blog the ‘We the people’ on the behavior of the masses and classes in India was truly reflective of our current way of life. As you rightly said, the characteristic of trying to take a shortcut to evade the system has become intrinsic to our DNA. Though there are few exceptions, they are overrun by the majority. Apart from the demonetization and road behavior examples stated by you, another prime example of such behavior can be observed in our Police force. Not only has the institution of the police force lost respect among the citizens, they have also instilled aversion towards the police in the minds of the people. I feel the reasons for such behavior is the callous and ‘chalta hai’ attitude that has been continually passed on from generation to generation, not only in the general public, but more so in the bureaucracy. Bending rules has become the norm of the hour. Would it possible to ever change this behavior? It would require something very inspirational to do so. A few suggestions to buck this trend would be to increase activities such as:  Create fool-proof measures to prevent rule evasion.  Instil rule adherence mind set among children right from school (Grass root level).  Device methods to identify and punishment offenders.  Rope in public figures (Celebrities, role models) to create awareness.  Make politicians and administrators accountable. ‘India can achieve 10% GDP growth by FY20: CII’. This forecast by the CII highlights the favorable growth trajectory that India is on. A population of 1.25 billion has recently been an advantage for us. We need this 1.25 billion to rise to the occasion and emerge better and stronger in all respects. To start off with, we need to improve on factors highlighted by you in your article. Only then can we aspire to achieve holistic growth and to be a true superpower in the near future. Thank you

A spellbinding blog to describe the people of India. I think apt title for this blog can be “We the Smart People”. We the smart people of India, do not break the rules just because we like breaking the rules but because we think that we are smart enough to get away easily without any penalty. We can relate all the things mentioned in the blog to our daily experience in personal and professional life where we use all means to accomplish our goal as we know that no one is going to catch us. Can we get away in the US or European country if we break even a simple rule? Or as matter of fact, do we deliberately try to break any rule in foreign country? Answer is a big NO. The simple reason is that we are smart to understand the repercussion of any wrong doings in the foreign country. Since independence with time, we the people of India, have changed a lot and have become concerned about ourselves. Lot of people had sacrificed their lives for the country and better future of the countrymen but they never knew, people will become more smart to get things done in frugal way without thinking of the impact on other countrymen. We the Smart People have become habitual to shortcuts because it makes our life easy, and that’s how we are reacting to situations. We the People are smart enough to find the loopholes in the system and exploit to the fullest extent to get the benefit ignoring the fact that it will impact ourselves in longer term. For example, if we are evading taxes, government will not get sufficient money to invest in public welfare program. We in-turn crib about government not doing anything for improve infrastructure. I think rather than using our smartness in wrong way, we should utilize it to find new ways for the development of the country and its countrymen. That will give an individual more satisfaction than breaking the rules.

Thanks a lot Mam for very interesting and fun to read article. In the point regarding demonetisation, it was such a pleasure reading two different sets of India – Classes and Masses. For sure it’s sad to see how classes used masses for hiding their undisclosed incomes but at the same time I am somehow fascinated by JUGAADs of we- the people. It’s interesting to read several cases in public domain wherein people from classes and masses have successfully gamed the system. Its not only few ones like -Harshad Mehta, an intelligent Broker who knew the exact loopholes with the Indian economy and the banking system but common people- just like you and me. How we managed to hack Uber and Ola Refer and Earn policy to earn free rides. How we managed to get Free credits from PayTM forcing them to come with new sets of rules and regulations for money transfers. I think it’s in our inherent nature – to seek out ways to find what is best for us without considering moral and social obligations. These have to do with - a large population having limited opportunities. We grow up fighting to get OUR share of opportunity. We always find Jugaads to get most out of available to us. I am not promoting or justifying these cases. Infact I am sad that we use these traits mostly while crossing the legal lines. Imagine India if we the SMART people used these traits in ways that were constructive.

“We the people” opening lines of the preamble of our Indian Constitution. The people who wrote our constitution and its preamble chose these words to start the preamble with a purpose. I think they might had thought that an idea of a country or republic can only survive when the people it belongs to can feel that country inside them. So the prime purpose was to bring a sense of belongingness among the citizens towards constitution. This belongingness comes with awareness of rights and responsibilities as mentioned in the constitution. We often remember the rights given to us by the constitution but forget about duties and responsibilities. History is evident that any revolution for change has been successful in producing desired results only when the people participated in it wholeheartedly. It is the people who derives the change by being the part of that change. It is very easy to play the blame game specially when we are living in democracy where we have freedom of speech but at the same it takes guts to admit one’s own mistake and rectify it. Governments, councils, parliaments and other constitutional bodies are there to formulate and declare a policy but the onus of executing it sometimes lies on us. As beautifully said by Mahatma Gandhi “Be the change that you wish to see in the world”, for our sake we can replace the word world by India at any time and be the face of that change.

Thank you ma’am for writing the blog “We the People” which reflects on the behavior of larger section of Indians towards tackling social issues. Be it the problems caused by demonetization or be it related to payment of taxes, be it related to careless driving , breaking of traffic rules or be it picking up fights over petty issues. Our behavior or to say the behavior of large percentage of Indian population & their smartness in managing the system is a matter of grave concern. Agreeing on the fact that there are widespread implications when people break rules, when people manage their taxes, when they find a way to convert their bundles of unaccounted old currency, but I wish to differ & say that every nation has its set of issues. For a country like India, whose population is nearing 1.35 billion & when each state can be compared to a small country based on the sheer magnitude of population, the resolving some of the above problems for any government or lawful body is a complex & prolonged task. So herein the onus of improving our system, improving our behavior lies with us. I would like to appreciate the sense of responsibility shown by many Indians during the demonetization phase when they peacefully waited in long queues to withdraw a small sum of their own money. This is the hope which if cultivated further can bring transformation. Those whose accounts flooded with someone else’s unaccounted money, or those who formed a nexus with the banks to convert the currency are accountable for punishment. But thinking in a broader way, it was people like us that helped those to carry out these unlawful activities. This brings us the question, if we are aware of the wrong doings going on around us, why did we not raise our voice or put a compliant through the proper channel? So society at large is responsible for its own wrong doing. Many taxpayers or say salaried employees have their taxes deducted at source, but people in business tend to evade taxes. How does this happen? One way is a taxed sum of someone’s money can be converted to black money when we buy something & do not seek a valid bill for the purchase. Such small steps can largely improve the system & bring a larger section of society under the tax lens. Unruly road behavior, breaking of traffic rules, honking, spitting in public places & such other activities can all be attributed to individual behavior. A moral change can be initiated by cultivating the right & moral responsibility amongst the younger generation which can take it further to the next level. Stricter laws, harsher penalties, vigilant government & such measures are needed for changing our behavior but more importantly the transformation within us is the need of the hour.

Change is inevitable. We Indians are known for our intelligence in the world and have been growing economically. But, are we growing socially? Are we being responsible towards our behavior? Looking at the number of rule violations, be it traffic rules or tax rules, the answer to both questions can be written as ‘no’. To improve behavior of citizens, we need to bring out culture revolution in our society. It will be difficult to imbibe cultural change in this society because same person who violates laws in India, adheres to all laws once outside India. But cultural change won’t be impossible. We need to make efforts towards making a society which will accept change with time. In initial phase, we need to start teaching the importance of all rules in life from schools, be it tax rules, traffic rules or social rules. As development of people happens from his/ her early learnings, teachers and parents should mould children in such a way that they should feel the laws are hygiene factors in life and adhering them is the way of leading a successful life. Next part will be how to change the ignorant behavior of our citizens? Every person understands repercussions of bad behavior, be it breaking rules or wasting natural resources like water, but people are indifferent with these activities. They really feel that things can be bought with money. We have to make people understand that everyone has equal right on all natural resources irrespective of his/her social strata. How will this happen? Obviously not by putting penalties but by cultural change where people will understand their responsibility towards society.

Mam, I was happy to read your article as most of your points resonated well with my thoughts when I saw the demonetization move abused by few people on Facebook. The comments have made me think about our behaviour in different situations, which you have rightly pointed out. Many people who rejected the move have suddenly started feel more responsible and empathetic for the people who were standing at the ATM. Most media houses have tried to side-track the main issues and focussed only on the number of deaths caused in the ATM line. The irony of the situation is that those who proudly evade taxes are the ones who complain a lot about the government’s inefficiency. Another question which strikes my brain often is “Why do we have traffic cops at automated signal junctions?”. All this boils down to the basic habit of breaking the rules which are more ingrained in our DNA from generations. The problem of breaking rules by us has reached a mammoth stage. The root cause lies in the basic thought that “If I follow rules when others are not following, will it make any significant progress”. Although it may not make any progress, but you would surely inspire others to follow the rules. Everyone wanted to change but none of us were ready to change. I would want to end this by Gandhi’s famous quote “You must be the change you wish to see in the world. “

Ma’am, I think the commendable histrionic in the face of adversity from a common Indian is worthy of accolades that not even mankind can afford. This piece, “We the People” was an ironic yet befitting testimony to the hypocrisy that we have developed over the due course of time. The events spoken of in the article, wrenches sadness into my being. We talk of our perceived annoyance towards every issue that we might be directly or indirectly subjected to. But never do we falter from indulging in an activity however illegal, when it comes to making our life easier. But along with you I will ask these people, is it truly making your lives easier? The pretentious calm and the sleepless nights are agreeable to the classes whilst the simple proposition parting from the money which wasn’t theirs in the first place is unacceptable. Masses stood in never ending queues and some lives were lost, but the back doors were opened for the people who were willing to pay the under table “Conversion Tax” for their black money to be painted white. The opportunist opposition political parties saw this as a way to finally stave off further rise in popularity of the ruling party & more importantly its Prime Minister. Everyone started fuelling their own personal agenda but never did a person ask his/her conscience that if whatever he/she is doing is wrong or not. The more gruelling fact is that barring the person who earned his money rightfully, no other person did actually feel the body blow of being out of cash. It is said that Indians are God fearing people. But from the series of disgusting events of malpractice that unfolded since 8th November 2016, it seems that even God would fear indicting us, We the malicious Indians.

Mam, you have touched upon a subject very close to my heart. I have always wondered, why a country which boasts thousands of years of legacy and value system is always in the news for wrong reasons. Newspapers are filled with all negatives things happening around us. In fact, according to a survey, we are one the unhappiest nation in the world. A deep introspection led me to the following hypothesis, we as a society have developed a psyche of maintaining status quo. ‘India me ye sab chalta he’ has become our national motto. In fact, we take pride in our ability to bend rules. It’s disturbing to see the trend where society associates ‘power’ of a person by his ability to ‘manage’ rules governing the state. We see people throwing garbage on the road, we will blame everyone from PM to CM but we as a society won’t take a collective stand for what is right. We will cry for the lack of infrastructure but are not ready to pay extra taxes for the same. Our love for the nation is evident only in two scenarios- During war and cricket match against Pakistan. However, there is hope. A better way to change this attitude of the society would be by going back to our roots. Value based education which was the pillar of Indian GuruKul system needs to be included in the school syllabus right from the beginning. We can also borrow from the Japanese society where they have embraced the future but by still maintaining a connection with their past. It will take few years to see the benefits of these changes and I am sure ‘we will win not immediately but definitely’.

Great article written about the mindset at the hindsight of demonetization. We have been hearing cliché about glass half-filled since long. At places, people washes their cars with lot of water, to make it look good because it gives them sense of pride when discussing with friends. We have been appreciating the smells coming out of soil after it has been watered in our veranda. India is all about celebration. But, we never realize that at other parts of India people could be suffering from draught (for example Latur). Water is resource. The hall filled water glass is resource, it could have quenched the thirst of a person after the lecture. All these wastes of resource are done because we don’t realize that there could be problem somewhere because of our behavior. We will only start acting in right direction only when we will recognize the problem as mentioned in the article. Sab chalta hai attitude has sunk the boat of India because we have been appreciating that attitude since ages. In my previous job, I got the opportunity to visit Japan and attitude of Japanese towards each aspect of life was eye opener for me. For example, there was waste management system, in which every household must put a same type of household waste on a day of the week to be picked by municipality. No Japanese has ever defaulted during my stay over there. What this small act collaborative act of Japanese means that they recognize the issue of resources. It saves the cost of segregation and savings thus generated can be better utilized elsewhere to improve the necessities. We are in dire need of attitude correction and mindset change, to make the country worth appreciating.

Thanks Madam for writing such a beautiful article which shows not always Juggad is good. We the people take pride in getting things done in shortcut. It is good as long as it is not violating any rules. Coming to the topic of how we reacted during demonetisation, it sad to see people who are from classes are finding ways to manipulate the system in a quest to avoid paying taxes to the government. I agree that the exercise was done for a good cause, but while implementing such huge projects, one has to take care of plugin all the loop holes. The government should have anticipated all the possible ways of manipulating to keep people who defeat the system at bay. I whole exercise is to get better of the people who are stowing the cash without keeping it in the system . Irony of the exercise is when classes are using their contacts to enter the banks through back door and get their work done, masses are waiting in long queues and are hoping for betterment of the society .I believe the change has to come from within the people. The street smartness / Jugaad should be used in a constructive manner. Another aspect that I want to point out is, we as educated individuals, shouldn’t encourage shortcuts in the wrong direction. I am sure , most of us would read this article and will agree, yes , we should be the change and if tomorrow we need a driver’s license to be done and if we learn that by tipping the agent we can expedite the process, we all would be tempted to do that, due what ever reason it is . I strongly feel this attitude at the bottom of the pyramid should stop so that corrupt people at the top will be effected. With that being said, let us be the change .Jai Hind !!!

I would like to put my perspective on the topic “we the people”. The blog rightly puts across the point that people are so much inclined toward economic prosperity .They tend to forget the moral obligations required to attain this economic prosperity. But why does one break all the rules and obligations? It’s because people around us who have chosen the path of breaking rules are enjoying the prosperity they wished. So a person who wants to follow a path feels deprived and hence tend to start breaking rules as well So, How does all these mentality develop? Children at tender age are quick to learn and they learn by seeing things around them. So when the society around behaves in a particular manner ,chances that a child cultivating the habit is also high. When they grow up they practice these habits and become a role model for another set of generations. This cyclic habit keeps revolving and passes on to the future generations. The Habits cultivated may be good or bad will depend upon the people they have seen while growing up. If he/she was surrounded with people having good traits the child is bound to follow that and vice versa. Unfortunately in India we hardly find people who follow rules. So a child is bound to break all these as he/she has seen people around doing this and moving on in life. Thus to bring upon a change and stop this malaise, we grown up’s need to take up the responsibility and set our habits right so that we become a ideal role model for the future generations

This article is thought provoking! Demonetization has surely exposed deeper moral, political and constitutional issues within the Indian society. Superficially we are “We the people” of India but a majority of us think just about ourselves and our own benefit and this is the underlying disease that needs to be cured before we as a nation could make any major progress. This selfish mindset stems from the way Indians have lived their lives: resources were hard to come by, there was always a race for survival and only the fittest survived. Therefore, when people managed to reach a position of power or influence, they wanted to fulfill their hidden desires, make money legally / illegally for their future generations so that their generations do not have to start afresh and go through the same grind. It is extremely important to weed out this selfish mindset in order to eradicate corruption from the country; people should understand that their act of selfishness also provokes someone else to misuse the system in the same way. Any corrupt person should realize that his act of selfishness takes the money away from someone who needs it the most. For example, tax evasion lightens the government’s pockets and there is not enough money to be spent on health, food, employment and infrastructure. As a result poor get poorer with almost no essential means to survive. A rising income divide can make people resort to extreme measures to earn money, for example a corresponding rise in crime can collapse the social structure that we live in. Therefore if we have to make progress as a nation we have to actually forget the “me” and embrace the “we”.

I couldn’t agree more with the views expressed in the article. You see people making sure not to litter when they go on a foreign trip but forget their civic sense when they are back. An aeroplane would still have its seat belt lines on and might have not started deboarding but you will still see people already nudging each other to stand in the aisle. I would like to get into examining how this attitude has been ingrained in us. Since the day we are born we are constantly reminded how important it is to ‘grab the opportunity’. Many would say they would want the corrupt to be given the harshest of punishment but would end bribing the traffic police when they jump the occasional red light. And the little child watches from the back seat. This is now a way of life. It’s not that we would have the same level of resource per human to match the prosperity levels of a developed W. European country anytime soon. So the notion of ‘grabbing’ what is available might still make some practical sense, but will this be our conduct when we wouldn’t mind using adjective like ancient cultural value wisdom when we talk about our country ? The problem is such a behavior is getting incentives. Its time we taught our children that we can achieve much more collectively rather than climbing over each other’s back. Till then ‘Arre bhai line mat tod, ek ghante se hum bhi khade hain’

Dear Pallavi Ma’am, I couldn’t agree with you more on how much we as a society take pride in breaking the civic rules. I think we feel an overpowering need to demonstrate that we can outsmart the system. Avoiding taxes has become a way of life irrespective of the income level and the tax bracket, working around the rules such as producing fake medical bills to save taxes is a norm. Traffic rules are only meant to be followed if there is a traffic policeman around; otherwise the rules are negotiable as per the drivers’ convenience. If you dare to remind your taxi driver to not jump signals, he would let you know with his smirk who the smart one out of the two really is. Civic sense or rather the lack of it in the context of our country has been widely discussed and it is an undisputed fact that we as a country don’t seem to care much for it. This attitude cuts across all ranks and sections. We don’t think of it as important. In today’s fast paced life, in the run towards achieving our personal goals, civic sense as a value and ethic has become a matter of least priority, almost a burden. Often we think that civic sense is only about keeping our surroundings and roads clean. It is actually much more than that; it also encompasses abiding by the laws of the land, showing respect to and consideration for others and maintaining decency in public places. Civic sense is an ethic of social nature, and unfortunately it exists on the bottom of our list of priorities.

Ma’am, firstly I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for offering us a brief yet one of the most insightful courses in PGPM, Business Environment. I thoroughly enjoyed your sessions. Your blog has touched upon a very sensitive topic. Are we losing our sense of right and wrong? Are we getting too blinded by our self interests? Demonetisation, as you rightly pointed out, is only one of the events where the true nature of the new age Indian was revealed. Isn’t it similar to when a traffic cop asks you to pull over for jumping a red light? We are ready to negotiate an unofficial deal with him while we might criticize our politicians for accepting bribes. ‘Oh the magnitude and repercussions of what our politicians do is massive when compared to this’, we try to justify our actions. But what’s wrong is wrong. Period! The new age Indian wants it all, fast and easy. I must accept even I would love to have it that way. We want our country to be like those in the West. But isn’t our complacency one of the biggest hindrances to the same? We collectively need to look at the bigger picture. Enough with the short sightedness! Enough with me, myself and I! Enough with the ‘chalta hai’ attitude! We are one of the biggest emerging economies in the world. The world looks up to us for our talent and growth potential. And we the people don’t behave in a way worthy of it. It is easier said than done though. The mindset will not change overnight. The onus lies upon us to behave responsibly and lead by example. And it doesn’t have to be top down; it can be bottom up as well. The implementation can be made really simple if we realize that our actions reflect who we are. But how one wishes it were that easy!

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